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Gabbert gets helps as Jaguars try to boost passing

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)

Jacksonville second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert is getting some help as the Jaguars try to improve their league-worst passing offense.

New coach Mike Mularkey brought in offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and quarterback coach Greg Olson to address the struggles of the passing game.

The Jaguars then signed veteran free agents Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans and drafted Justin Blackmon with their first-round pick to enhance the team's receivers. Blackmon agreed to a contract on Monday.

Gabbert also needs to show improvement as well.

When asked if the passing game was struggling, Bratkowski said, ''Absolutely, there's no doubt. That passing game right now is not very good.''

Bratkowski also said there are more components to the passing game besides the quarterback that have to be clicking.

''It starts with the protection, the drops (by receivers), running the routes improperly,'' he added. ''I know when you stand on the sidelines and look at it, a lot of times it looks like it's the quarterback but I'll be honest with you - many cases the quarterback is getting fooled or he's under pressure and having to make decisions faster than you would want him to make. It's a work in progress.''

Gabbert had a rough rookie season. He had 2,214 yards passing, 12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a rating of 65.4. He was also sacked 40 times.

When asked if things were moving slowing in the passing game thus far or if he was frustrated, he said, ''No, not at all. Everybody is working on different things each day in practice and the biggest thing we are doing is we're going out there with a goal and we're reaching those goals.

''Frustration is part of the game. Drops are going to happen. Missed throws are going to happen. Turnovers are going to happen but our job is to minimize those, try to eliminate those.''

Gabbert has also benefited by having a full offseason regimen as well as proven receivers in Robinson and Evans.

Gabbert feels his biggest improvement from a year ago is consistency.

''I'm going out there with the same mindset day in and day out and that mindset is to improve and get better, how to help other people get better and bring people up to a high level that we need to play at to win football games,'' he said. ''We all have to be on the same page playing very good football to win games in this league.

''I feel great back there, feel very comfortable and I'm just going to keep working at it and getting better every day in practice.''

Notes: The Jaguars' offensive line took another hit when starting left guard Jason Spitz sprained his ankle in Friday's scrimmage and will be out two weeks. Spitz had been filling in for Will Rackley who is sidelined for three more weeks with a high ankle sprain. John Estes and Mike Brewster alternated as the starter at that position on Monday. ... To add depth to the offensive line, defensive tackle Drew Nowak has been switched to offense. ... Ten players on the Jaguars' 90-man roster missed practice on Tuesday. Seven are out due to injuries (Jeremiah Brown, Daryl Smith, Clint Session, Will Rackley, Jason Spitz, Austen Lane and John Chick. ... Aaron Ross is on his way back to Jacksonville after watching the gold-medal performance of his wife, Sanya Richards-Ross, in the women's 400-meter race at the London Olympics.

Tagged: Jaguars, Jason Spitz, Blaine Gabbert, Will Rackley

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