|Gabbert on the Jags' interest in Tebow: 'It was not a worry in the world.' (US PRESSWIRE/Getty Images)|
If only Mark Sanchez had Blaine Gabbert's confidence. The Jaguars quarterback and former first-round pick is entering his second year with the team after a rocky rookie season. New owner Shahid Khan made no secret of the fact that he was a huge Tim Tebow fan, so much so that he would've given serious consideration to drafting him in 2010 and made a legitimate effort to trade for Tebow last month when the Broncos put him on the market. (Tebow, who grew up in Jacksonville, wasn't interested.)
Through it all, Gabbert was unconcerned.
"It was not a worry in the world," he told John Oehser of Jaguars.com. "They (the Jaguars) had to do their due diligence evaluating players. It’s the nature of the business. You have to do that in order to build a complete football team."
(We imagine Sanchez reading this and thinking, "Yeah, that sounds good right up until the moment you're benched for Tebow." Stranger things have happened.)
Gabbert started 14 games in 2011, completing 50.8 percent of his passes for 2,214 yards, including 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was sacked 40 times. Indecisiveness and pocket awareness were his biggest issues, both understandable given his age (22) and experience. Despite his detractors, interim head coach Mel Tucker had Gabbert's back.
"I see Blaine as being courageous in the pocket," Tucker said in December. "I see him as being super-tough. I see him being very, very competitive and my feeling is that his teammates and his coaches feel the same way."
New Jags head coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Gene Smith have been in contact with Gabbert frequently this offseason, including when the club signed Chad Henne as well as the brief Tebow furor.
"It's extremely important, having that communication with your head coach, your general manager, your quarterback coach -- so that you can build a relationship with them," Gabbert said via Oehser. "When we're not here in the off-season, phone calls and text messages are the only way to communicate. Being in contact with them and hearing the words come out of their mouth makes everything a lot easier."
Also making things easier: surrounding Gabbert with legit downfield threats. Laurent Robinson is a start, but if Justin Blackmon drops to Jacksonville at No. 7, they'd have to think long and hard about taking him, right? (The CBSSports.com's experts all have the Jags going defense seventh overall but given just how putrid their passing offense was last season, it would be hard to pass up Blackmon.)
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