Starting Front: Are Jake Locker, Blain Gabbert, and Matt Flynn Ready to Take Over?

Football > Commentary > Starting Front: Are Jake Locker, Blain Gabbert, and Matt Flynn Ready to Take Over?

Starting Front: Are Jake Locker, Blain Gabbert, and Matt Flynn Ready to Take Over?

As the 2012 season draws near, there are a few teams that have some important questions to answer at the quarterback position. Those teams happen to be the Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, and Jacksonville Jaguars. All three teams have very unique situations in the fact that one of them signed a relatively unknown free agent (Seattle), one has a seasoned veteran with a rookie chomping-at-the-bit to prove himself (Tennessee), and another team that, in 2011, caught just a glimpse of what might be in store for them in 2012 and beyond (Jacksonville). Here is my take on how each team should address their unique quarterback situation.

Seattle Seahawks – Matt Flynn

Matt Flynn was a pretty hot commodity at the start of the 2012 free agency period. Flynn had a great end to the 2011 season. In week 17 against the Detroit Lions, Flynn threw for 480 yards and a new Green Bay Packers record six touchdowns. Flynn's marvelous outing opened a lot of eyes around the league after that game, and many people began speculating where Flynn may end up. The Miami Dolphins seemed like a logical choice, but Seattle offered Flynn a more lucrative offer, and Flynn opted to take the job in the NFC West. Now, Seattle has their quarterback of the future and Flynn has his opportunity to prove he has more to offer than a week 17 game that really meant nothing to the Packers or the Lions. Flynn spent 4 years backing up quarterback Aaron Rodgers @AaronRodgers12, who is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Flynn should benefit greatly (as Rodgers did playing behind Brett Favre) from his time in Green Bay. If he can continue his high level of play, Flynn makes the Seahawks a sleeper team in 2012.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Blaine Gabbert @BlaineGabbert

Blaine Gabbert, who was drafted by the Jaguars with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, had the typical rookie season. Gabbert started his rookie campaign for Jacksonville backing up Luke McCown. He entered in week 2 of the 2011 season against the Jets, and was named the starter for the rest of the season. I wish I could tell you that Gabbert had a great rookie season, but I can't. Gabbert only completed about 50% of his passes, 12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a QB rating of 65.4 qualified him as the 34th ranked QB in 2011. There is a light at the end of Gabbert's tunnel. The 2011 off-season was cut short with the lock-out, and with a full off-season under his belt, Gabbert should bounce back nicely. The Jaguars showed their commitment to Gabbert's development in the 2012 NFL draft by moving up ahead of the St. Louis Rams to select what many considered the best wide receiver in the draft, Oklahoma State star Justin Blackmon @JustBlack81. The Jaguars also picked up 2011 breakout wide receiver Laurent Robinson @LaurentRobinson. Robinson and Blackmon give Gabbert the tools to have a successful 2012 season.

Tennessee Titans – Jake Locker

Jake Locker enters the 2012 NFL season hungry. After sitting most of his rookie season behind seasoned veteran QB Matt Hasselback, Locker has to have the starting job in his sights. Although he didn't see much playing time in 2011, the former number number 8 pick in the 2011 NFL draft made the most of his opportunities. The majority of Lockers time was spent filling in when Hasselback was injured. Seeing his first real action against the Atlanta Falcons, Locker looked decent as he completed 9 of his 19 passes for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns. Locker would fill-in during two more games, ending his 2011 season throwing 66 passes with 34 completions for 542 yards, 5 touchdowns (4 passing and 1 rushing), and zero interceptions. Locker posted a quarterback rating of 99.4, not bad for a rookie even if he was just filling in while Hasselback nursed his injuries. Locker should be ready to take the NFL by storm in 2012, but it may take some poor play or an early injury to Hasselback for him to see the field on a regular basis.

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    I agree with the Flynn assessment wholeheartedly. Carroll may be talking about a competition between Jackson, Wilson and Flynn but if the Seahawks want to win now they go with Flynn. They have been there and done that with Jackson and Wilson will need to sit and learn before being a viable NFL quarterback. I think the biggest move Jacksonville made to improve their passing game was signing Henne to be the back up to Gabbert. I just have my doubts that Gabbert is a NFL caliber quarterback and having a proven, former number one quarterback as a possible replacement should Gabbert struggle again was a smart move. I also agree that Locker will have to bide his time early in 2012 behind Hasselbeck, luckily for Jake, Hasselbeck has seemed to be systematically breaking down physically the last couple of years. Very interesting read, good stuff!

    Posted by:
    Walton Spurlin 05/25/12 10:34 PM

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