Jags Fans Waiting For A Star
By Troy Graham
Dave Caldwell, the new GM, made it clear out the gate that the draft will be the primary means to upgrade the current roster.
Without a doubt, the quarterback position would have been one of the many addressed this offseason after seeing teams such as the Colts, Redskins and Seahawks have mediocrity morph into playoff teams after one draft.
In their back pockets the Jags held the first pick in the second round. It was a spot where fans and even ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. reported to predict that everyone will hear a quarterback’s name announced as the team’s newest addition according to SB Nation.
To everyone’s surprise, the announcer did indeed say a quarterback’s name during their selection period and the star they longed and wished for was found. An introduction was given to the team’s former all-pro quarterback Mark Brunell as he would be the first to tell the world the 33rd overall selection.
It’s a difficult time for a franchise who’s first quarterback- Brunell- was and still is the best one they ever had statistically. He still holds franchise records in passing attempts, yards, completions and gave the team their best shots at glory when leading the Jags to the 1996 and 1999 AFC Championship Game.
Off the field in Jacksonville, he was most known for the Brunell Family Foundation, a charity program created in 1997 to provide support to families when love ones were ill and was inspired by his oldest son Jacob’s respiratory infection two years prior.
Not only did he feed the city’s hunger athletically, financially with medical support, the ex-Jag QB literally fed the city’s appetite by introducing the What-A-Burger franchises to the Jacksonville area.
The county of Duval is not begging the organization to find a signal caller who can find a new fast-food chain or necessarily discover one who can create a foundation with the same success as the Brunell’s, but they want a face.
A face, an identity and the security of knowing for the first time in three years that the man under center week one won't be on the hotseat the entire season.
The organization did not go out of its way to get a marquee free agent or rookie this offseason, so it seems they have swayed in favor of the former 9th overall pick. With the Jags, Gabbert has been 5-19, which is evidence for the many skeptics.
On the other hand, there's some proof why the Jaguars are so content with their current situation and so ecstatic about the Luke Joeckel 2nd overall pick is based on what their Senior Vice President of Football Technology and Analytics discovered in his research, also known as Tony Khan, the owner Shahid Khan’s son.
According to NFL.Com’s Albret Breer’s report, Tony Khan’s data showed that Blaine Gabbert was in the top third of NFL passers when given at least 2.6 seconds to throw.
“He had the passer rating broken down from where the quarterback had 2.6 seconds to throw 2.5, the amount of pressure, the sacks we gave up, third-most in the league last year,” stated General Manager Caldwell.
In retrospect, the Jags higher ups feel if they could possibly increase the average time Gabbert has to throw by a few tenths of a second, he could have great gains this season along with an improved supporting cast.
For a city wishing for a star passer, Joeckel could be that rocket boost to get them there.