With reports of Blaine Gabbert visiting the Tennessee Titans, we take a look at just how he would fit in behind Marcus Mariota.
Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted recently that quarterback Blaine Gabbert has taken a visit in Nashville with the Tennessee Titans’ brass. Although the news of Gabbert visiting may not excite fans as much as Ndamukong Suh coming to town, it’s definitely one that would solidify a position of need for the team at backup quarterback.
Earlier in the off-season, I listed Gabbert as one of the free agents I felt would be a great fit for the Titans, while also coming at a cheap price. According to Spotrac, Gabbert counted just $895,000 against the cap in 2017 for the Arizona Cardinals. Considering that we’re in the second or third wave of free agency, it’s likely GM Jon Robinson could lure in the former Mizzou Tiger to a multi-year deal at a very team-friendly cap number
It’s no secret Marcus Mariota has yet to start all 16 games of a regular season. Having that signal caller that you can rely on to fill in and keep the rhythm of the offense going is invaluable.
Stepping in for an injured Carson Palmer last season, Gabbert was able to will an unmotivated Cardinals team to a 2-3 record, with wins against two playoff teams in the Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. With Larry Fitzgerald as his only formidable weapon, the former top ten pick was able to toss for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns.
Simply stating that Blaine Gabbert is an upgrade over Matt Cassel is obvious, but what also should be in consideration are the ‘similarities’ between Gabbert and the Titans’ franchise signal caller
Both Mariota and Gabbert possess solid accuracy in short to intermediate routes, which is only enhanced by their lightning quick releases. While he may not be half the athlete that Mariota is, Gabbert has some wheels of his own.
With Cassel, the Titans offense was limited by his nonexistent athletic ability and aging arm. Having to throw out a large portion of your offense that you’ve been preparing for months isn’t an easy obstacle to overcome. What Gabbert’s athleticism does is allow the playbook to remain open and innovative.
This new look offense is set to tailor to the strengths of Mariota, including his athletic ability. Even if OC Matt LaFleur isn’t going to call as many designed QB runs that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, this offense is likely to have a ton of play-action/rollout type plays, which Mariota ranks amongst the best in the NFL. With Gabbert in the fold, the offense wouldn’t have to change schematically.