Blaine Gabbert on the Road to Redemption

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 03: Andre Ellington
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 03: Andre Ellington /

Blaine Gabbert is looking to resurrect his career, and kicked off his comeback on Thursday

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. At least that’s what they say. If that’s true, then Blaine Gabbert took that first stride forward on Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

The former tenth overall draft pick started his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. He was immediately thrust into the starting job, where he struggled, completing just half of his passes en route to a 4-10 record as a starter. He would only win one more game as a starter over the next two seasons.

The next three years were spent in San Francisco. In 2015, he had his best season, with career highs in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and winning percentage. Still, he won just four of 13 starts as a 49er.

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Gabbert’s career numbers aren’t great. He’s completed just 56% of his passes, with 38 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. His career passer rating is 71.5, and his record as a starter is a lackluster 9-31. He was largely considered a draft bust, and his NFL time was close to being over.

This offseason, Gabbert signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, looking to rebuild his career. Head coach Bruce Arians saw his raw physical ability, and the team decided to give him a chance to show what he could do.

In his first preseason action, Gabbert looked good. It needs to be noted that he was not facing starters on Dallas’ defense, but he fared well. He played the entire first half and went 11 of 14 for 185 yards. He also led two touchdown drives.

The biggest knock on Gabbert is his play under pressure. He often seemed to panic, and usually threw either an uncatchable pass, or a pass to the wrong team. On Thursday, there was no sign of that. He didn’t face a ton of pressure, but he looked mostly comfortable in the pocket, and willing to step up and make the throw.

Gabbert also proved to be really accurate against the Cowboys. He put the right amount of velocity on his throws, and more often than not, he put the ball exactly where it was supposed to be.

There are still four preseason games to be played, and things can certainly change, but Gabbert is off to a good start. He has a long way to go to unseat Drew Staton as the Cardinals’ backup. However, as steps to start a journey go, Gabbert took a pretty good first one.