How to Ruin a Rookie

I didn’t especially like him coming out of college, but I had no problem with the Jags trading into the top-10 to draft him. But the entire way Jacksonville has handled the development of Blaine Gabbert is a mess.

Like I said last April, “it’s not that I don’t like Blaine Gabbert. I just don’t see him as a big difference maker. I’ll give him this: there’s nothing to hate about his game… But at the same time, no one aspect of his game shines.” I believe he can be a starting quarterback eventually in the NFL, but not right now.

Jacksonville had the perfect scenario for an up-and-coming quarterback. A solid, productive quarterback under contract for a few more years at a decent salary (just around $8 million), a defensive minded coach, and a stud running back. If the team bottomed out, they could insert Gabbert to see if he could spark a comeback. Maybe they could even ship off Garrard to a team in desperate straits in terms of their quarterback (Seattle, Washington, Miami) for a draft pick or two. But no, they just cut Garrard loose in training camp.

If their plan was to get rid of Garrard before the season started to throw Gabbert into the deep end, I wouldn’t like the call, but I could see where the might be coming from. Gabbert has the potential to have a Bradford-like impact to lead us near the playoffs, especially with Indianapolis in a mess and Tennessee not looking especially dapper. However, they decided to go with Luke McCown. 30-year-old journeyman Luke McCown.

These are the kinds of moves in the NFL that make no sense to me. Luke McCown is so far below replacement level, he hardly merits a roster spot. What could possibly be the best-case scenario playing him for two weeks? He looks near competent and holds down the starting job until mid-season, when you realize, “Hey, that’s Luke McCown starting for us!” and yank him for Gabbert.

So finally, Blaine Gabbert is going to get his first NFL start. The Jags look destined for a 3-13 season, and Gabbert may be lucky to survive then entire season because of a weak offensive line and little help from wideouts. Some day, Blaine Gabbert can be good. But this is not his time to take on his starting role.

Here are my Week 3 picks; home teams in CAPS.

Patriots (-8.5) over BILLS
New England has beaten Buffalo 15 straight times dating back to 2003. By and average of 19 points per game. You’d think when they travel to Buffalo, the margin of victory would decrease, but it doesn’t. They win in Buffalo by an average of 23.4 points per game.

BENGALS (-2.5) over Niners
So many conflicts going on in this game. Never take an NFC West team on the road, but never give points with the Bengals. Then again, the Niners are playing at 10 AM body time, so I’ll begrudgingly take the Bengals.

BROWNS (-2.5) over Dolphins
Is it possible that I could give points on the Bengals and Brown in the same week? If their opposing quarterbacks are Alex Smith and Chad Henne on the road, yes.

Broncos (+6.5) over TITANS
I don’t really think the Titans are all that, to be honest. They’ve got 2 great offensive weapons, and that’s about it. At least the Broncos can air it out with Kyle Orton and keep it within a touchdown.

Lions (-3.5) over VIKINGS
In a couple of weeks, people will start to realize that Donovan McNabb is d-o-n-e done. He’ll get a big wake-up call this week week after about the third of fourth time he tries to dislodge himself out from under Ndamukong Suh.

It sounds like a cool idea at first to make him a 3-4 OLB, but do you really want 6'6" 283 Mario Williams in pass coverage?

It sounds like a cool idea at first to make him a 3-4 OLB, but do you really want 6'6" 283 Mario Williams in pass coverage?

SAINTS (-3.5) over Texans
Not to knock the Texans, but it’s easy to look good when you play the Kerry Collins-led Colts and Dolphins. The Saints’ offense is clicking on all cylinders, and you should expect Brees to exploit Mario Williams in coverage play after play.

Giants (+7.5) over EAGLES
I hate the Giants and love the Eagles this year, so this pick makes sense, right? Well the best way to beat the Eagles is to pound the ball, which is what the Giants do best. Mike Vick is already banged up, and the Giants have a big chip on their shoulder from the DeSean Jackson game last year.

PANTHERS (-3.5) over Jaguars
If the Panthers can’t beat the Gabbert-led Jags, what can they win? Oh, yeah, the Quinton Coples sweepstakes.

CHARGERS (-14.5) over Chiefs
Is it unreasonable to think that this line should start with a 2?

Jets (-3.5) over RAIDERS
This is the exact type of game the Raiders would win to ruin somebody’s Suicide pool. But they don’t have Nnamdi anymore. And they still have Jason Campbell. This is my third ever Lance in my Pants Lock o’ the Week.

Ravens (-3.5) over RAMS
The Ravens clearly aren’t as good as they looked when they trampled the Steelers in Week 1 by 28. And they clearly aren’t as bad as they looked in Week 2 when they lost to the Titans by 13. But they are clearly good enough to take down the Rams. That much we know.

Falcons (+1.5) over BUCCANEERS
Two near elite quarterbacks, two division rivals. Great game, but I trust Matt Ryan’s supporting cast much more than I do LeGarrette Blount, Mike Williams, and Kellen Winslow.

Packers (-3.5) over BEARS
Either people think the Packers’ defense is bad since they ran into two buzzsaws in Cam Newton and Drew Brees, or they forget the Bears’ number one receiver is Roy Williams.

SEAHAWKS (+3.5) over Cardinals
You can’t underestimate how much Seattle’s home field advantage helps them. Yet I still can’t believe in EA’s Madden cover tournament this year, Seattle’s representative was their 12th man. Except, would anyone buy a Madden cover with Aaron Curry on it?

Steelers (-10.5) over COLTS
This game is so sad. Just think about how good of a game this would be if Peyton Manning was healthy…

COWBOYS (-6.5) over Redskins
Tony Romo is, in my opinion is a top-10 quarterback. People really don’t like him because A) he plays for the Cowboys and B) he is prone to dumb mistakes. But Rex Grossman is just no good. And two weeks of solid play can’t fool me, oh no no no.

Last Week: 11-5

Season: 18-14

Lance in my Pants Lock o’ the Week: 2-0

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