Published November 20, 2014
Despite a six-game losing streak and more offensive ineptitude, the Jacksonville Jaguars are sticking with quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Coach Mike Mularkey says he has no plans to switch to backup Chad Henne following Thursday night's 27-10 debacle against the Indianapolis Colts.
Gabbert completed 18 of 31 passes for 209 yards, with an interception and three sacks, before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. Gabbert aggravated an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, but Mularkey says he should be fine for next weekend's game at Houston.
Henne replaced Gabbert and completed 10 of 16 passes for 121 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts III on his first drive.
But Mularkey said there is no chance of turning to Henne on a more permanent basis.
"I don't think it's one guy," Mularkey said Friday. "You always go to that guy. Not in here. Everybody is held accountable for why the offense is not functioning at a high level consistently, and I think that goes for everybody. That's including the coaches.
"Everybody's responsible, I believe, and I think we can always make each other better. Each position can play off of each other, but we've all got to play at a high level and coach at a high level for it to go. Not just one guy."
It makes sense that the Jaguars (1-8) would stick with Gabbert. Not only is he a first-round draft pick in his second season, he's one of the youngest starting quarterbacks in the league, has a new coaching staff and several new receivers.
He has shown some signs of progress, and benching him would do little for a team essentially eliminated from playoff contention and trying to develop young players over the final seven games.
Simply put, Jacksonville needs to figure out whether Gabbert is the franchise quarterback it thought it was getting when it traded up to select him with the 10th overall pick in 2011.
He has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,638 yards, with nine touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He's been sacked 21 times and knocked down way more often behind a shaky offensive line.
Making his evaluation even more difficult: all the dropped passes.
His receiving corps dropped nine at Green Bay two weeks ago and had several more in the two games since. Shorts, running back Rashad Jennings and tight Marcedes Lewis dropped balls early Thursday.
"We're making too many mistakes," Mularkey said. "We have to overcome ourselves first. Before we can beat anybody, we have to stop beating ourselves."
Also against Indy, the Jaguars were flagged for six personal foul penalties, Josh Scobee missed a 44-yard field goal, Gabbert's interception was returned for a touchdown and several video replays went against them.
The 15-yard penalties were still bothering Mularkey on Friday, especially the one called on the coach.
Mularkey expressed his displeasure with a seemingly quick scoring review in the second quarter by throwing his play sheet and headset onto the field. Mularkey thought officials should have taken a longer look at Andrew Luck's 1-yard TD run on fourth down, a play in which Luck appeared to lose control of the ball as he neared the goal line.
Mularkey was flagged for his response — his first penalty as a coach.
"I am really not very proud of it to be honest with you," he said. "It's not good for your football team to show that kind of frustration to them. It kind of sends a sign that it's OK, and it's not OK.
"I think it has a direct influence on the officiating crew that you're questioning them and putting them on the spot, and that may result in things later on being called that maybe were grey because of what I did. That was not a good decision on my part."
The Jaguars fell to 0-5 at home, having been outscored 153-44 in lopsided games against Houston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis.
"I don't think any of us thought that we would be in this position," Mularkey said. "I know our team didn't feel like we'd be in this position. ... We're not looking back. We're moving forward. We're going to try to continue to gain progress in what we're doing. It's disappointing because none of us felt like we would be here by any means."
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL