JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Blaine Gabbert is back on the bench with another injury.
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Monday he expects Gabbert to miss Sunday’s game at Denver because of a strained hamstring. The injury knocked Gabbert out of Sunday’s 34-20 loss at St. Louis.
Bradley also reiterated that he’s planning to stick with Gabbert, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, as the starter when he’s healthy again.
“Right now, that’s what I think,” Bradley said. “There are some crazy things that can happen, I guess. … We’ll see how Blaine does this week with his injury. I know it’s very important for him to get back, and he’s going to do everything he can to get back.”
Chad Henne will make his third start of the season. Henne has completed 56 percent of his passes for 601 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has been sacked eight times.
Gabbert has been considerably worse. He has completed 49 percent of his passes for 481 yards, with a TD and seven INTs. Three of his picks have been returned for touchdowns — one in every start. Gabbert also has been sacked 12 times.
Equally troubling for the Jaguars (0-5) is that Gabbert can’t seem to stay healthy.
He has failed to finish six of his last 10 starts, including the preseason. He’s had a shoulder injury, a forearm injury, a broken thumb, a sliced-open hand and now a strained hamstring. He also missed time with a sprained ankle in training camp.
“That is something that we have to take a look at, not only within our training and strength and conditioning, but also Blaine,” Bradley said. “These things have surfaced up. And it’s so important to be able to trust that he’s going to stay healthy. And for whatever reason, these things have happened. I know his workouts and he’s training and he’s doing these things. But we have to take a look at that.
“We have to take a look at it and see why. We have to really study it. But I can’t argue the fact that some things have popped up for him.”
The Jaguars had planned to give Gabbert every chance to prove he can be the franchise’s starter. They pointed to potential reasons why he struggled as a rookie and showed little progress last season.
But Gabbert’s durability questions and his inability to move the ball with any consistency have most outsiders questioning his viability as an NFL quarterback.
“I think at times maybe the quarterback is held separately than the rest of the team, and for us and my mindset, it’s not,” Bradley said. “If the receiver makes a mistake out there in a critical situation, then he’s held accountable. If it’s the quarterback, then so be it, the quarterback as well. (On Sunday), there were times it was the quarterback.”
The Jaguars have lost every game by double digits.
They looked to have a shot at breaking a nine-game losing streak Sunday until Gabbert badly overthrew a pass to Justin Blackmon. It was picked off and returned 82 yards for a score.
“I feel strongly about Blaine, but there were missed opportunities by Blaine this week and he’s got to step up in the pocket, he’s got to stay strong, he’s got to play with confidence and make those passes that he does in practice,” Bradley said. “And that’s the next step for him. We’re always competing.”
In other injury news, tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf) will miss another game. Fellow tight end Allen Reisner will be out at least six weeks with a sprained knee ligament. Receiver Stephen Burton, safety Dwight Lowery and defensive end Jeremy Mincey all will try to pass concussion tests Tuesday. Receiver Mike Brown (back) and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle) are expected to practice in a limited capacity this week.
The Jaguars also were awarded receiver Stephen Williams off waivers from Seattle.