Blaine Gabbert Preseason Game 1 In-Depth Breakdown

Written by Eric Stoner on August 18, 2011





Play by play breakdown and analysis of Blaine Gabbert’s debut for the Jaguars in week 1 of the NFL preseason.


The personnel numbering refers to how many tight ends and runningbacks are on the field. The first number corresponds with how many runningbacks are in the package, the second number refers to how many tight ends are in the package.


– 21 Personnel, Twins Right
– Pats showing basic cover two look pre-snap (far corner is playing X receiver with outside leverage to funnel him inside, his head is turned and facing the QB, safeties are clearly deep and don’t roll up pre-snap)
– Extends and shows the defense the ball in play action. O-line does good job at selling run-block. This forces both corners to bite up instead of getting their hands on the receivers to re-route them and funnel them towards each other. Instead, both receivers get clean, outside releases. 80 running unchallenged up the seam draws the attention of the outside CB, and the inside CB is frozen and doesn’t gain width in his zone drop. Result is an easy and open curl underneath.


– 21 Personnel, Pro Set
– Pats in basic cover two pre-snap again. Again, note the CBs lined up with outside leverage on the WR in order to funnel them inside towards help. Safeties are nowhere in the picture.
– Another PA pass. This time, though, he is lazy in showing the ball, is worried about getting his eyes up, and the offensive line doesn’t sell the run block.
– As a result, both outside WRs are re-routed and funneled inside. The linebackers read pass and drop immediately.
– Fairly easy read one-read concept. They’re flooding the WLB’s zone by running a short side cross with FB33 and WR83. Instead of getting depth and reacting up, WLB freezes when FB33 crosses his face, leaving WR83 open on the deeper cross.
– Gabbert has his choice between two open crossing receivers and aggressively throws the deep cross – a tougher throw between defenders. This is a very good thing for Jags fans to see – however, he and the o-line must sell the run fake better or this will be a significantly harder and more dangers pass to complete against starting LBs.


– 12 Personnel, Twins Left, TE88 Split out as Z (Lewis Joker Package)
– Pats in basic Cover 1 look. SS walks out with TE88 and plays off coverage. CBs line head up on receivers, not cheating inside or outside. Also turn their head and face receiver before snap of ball instead of keeping heads turned towards QB.
– PA Pass. Defense doesn’t bite and pass rush hard upfield.
– Couple of protection breakdowns. Simple PA protection scheme: the strong side is playing “area left,” selling a run to the left and every man being responsible for his inside gap. The backside is playing “BOB” protection, or “Big On Big.” They’re responsible for the defensive linemen lined up across from them, with the RB being responsible for the gap between them in the event that a linebacker blitzes. If there is no blitz through the inside gap, he will check for an outside looping blitz before settling up just behind the LOS. The breakdown occurs on two fronts. TE85 correctly steps left, picking up the LDE. Instead of sustaining the block, he just chips the LDE before trying reversing direction to pick up the SLB. Nobody is now blocking the LDE and he gets immediate pressure through the T/TE gap. On the second breakdown, Meester stops his feet dead, allowing the blitzing MLB to disengage and get pressure up the middle. Gabbert gets his about 3 seconds after the snap of the ball.
– His first read is TE88 split out and running a stop against a safety playing off-man coverage. He realizes quickly, though, that TE88 won’t complete the route in time. Does a good job going to his second read (Slot WR80 running a dig), but he gets hit on the throw. Would have been a tough completion, though, as WR80 got jammed and re-routed at the line and the CB had pretty tight coverage after his break.


4. 3rd and 2
-22 Personnel,TE + Wing,
– Giving a Cover Two look with off-man coverage underneath. What they’re actually doing, though, is disguising strong side cloud coverage – a variation of Cover Three. The weakside CB, FS, play like traditional Cover Three. However, the SS and strongside CB reverse roles – the CB plays contain against the run and is responsible for the hook/curl zone against the pass.
– PA Power Pass. Pass protection is area right for the weakside, with everybody on the line being responsible for the gap directly to their right. There’s obvious pressure from the strong side of the formation, but I can’t tell for sure whose fault it is. It looks like they’re also playing area right on the weakside, as LG and LT both step that way, and the LG looks like he is passing the DT off to the LT as the DT starts slipping to his left. Since it’s Power action on the fake, the FB is responsible for sealing the edge (and, if clear, running an outlet pass to the flat). Obviously, that leaves a huge mismatch with a tiny RB trying to take on a 4-3 RDE right after carrying out a play fake. RB holds his own, though.
– He rushes his throw because of the not trusting his RB to pick up the block and hesitation (only 3rd and 2). He completes the underneath stop to TE86. If he has a little more pocket awareness and slides or scrambles a little bit (either to his left or right), he can hit TE88 as he breaks to the corner (the primary read in Power Pass – try to get the hook/curl defender [in this case the CB] to bite up on the run fake and then throw the corner route over him) or the wide open backside post (secondary read, as the underneath zone linebackers are dropping playside towards the run action). Instead, he rushes to his outlet TE on a pass that, again, will be more difficult and dangerous to complete against starting LBs. Let me be very clear…I am not saying he made a BAD play, as he kept the chains moving on third down. I’m just saying that once he’s more comfortable in the offense and trusting of the players around him, there will be potential for a much bigger play there.


– 12 Personnel, 2 x 2, TE+Wing Left, Twins Right
– PA boot. Pocket + ball fake left, book action right.
– LDE doesn’t bite on make. TE86 comes across backside of offensive line on snap to get a running start and seal LDE. Whiffs on block.
– Gabbert has time to throw the whip route, but doesn’t (likely due to lack of separation). Linebackers don’t bite on fake, so they and the underneath safety are all in passing lane against the TE corner. Must throw it away in that situation.



Eric Stoner

Eric has been writing for Draft Breakdown for two years now, contributing by writing scouting reports, cutting video, and blogging about college football and the NFL. He was raised by a football coach and, as such, was forced to cut tape and chart personnel at an age that violates California labor law. A legal assistant by day, Eric also writes for Rotoworld NFL Draft and the SB Nation Jaguars Blog, Big Cat Country.

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