Blaine Gabbert Preseason Game 4 In-Depth Breakdown

Written by Eric Stoner on September 9, 2011


Now that David Garrard’s been released, it seems more likely that Blaine Gabbert will see the field this year. But is he ready?


In his final video breakdown, Eric Stoner tracks the progress the rookie quarterback’s made this preseason. Gabbert’s marked improvement is encouraging, both in terms of his ability to play this year and the odds that he’ll live up to his lofty draft status.


First Drive







– 21 personnel, (2×2), both TE’s flexed.


– Rams in Cover 3 pre-snap. CBs playing off, turned and facing the QB. One safety down in box, other safety playing centerfield.


– Both TEs run stops, WRs run quick outs (mirror concept). Very simple read – with curl/flat defenders forced to stay with TEs and the CBs with deep coverage responsibility, there is nobody to cover the quick outs. If the curl/flat defenders bail to gain width towards the outside WR to their side, the stops should be open.


– Gabbert good pre-snap read, quick drop, throws at top of three step drop. Everything looks good until the release – he raises his back foot up, making him off-balance. As a result, the pass is short and low, and the WR is forced to adjust and drops it. Catchable ball, but poor placement nonetheless.







– 3rd and 2


– 11 personnel, (3×1), 2 WR side is “inverted” (slot WR on the LOS) and “stacked”(elimination of spacing between WRs, outside WR is lined up almost directly behind slot – helps give a free release)


– Rams in Cover 1. RCB and Nickel in man-press. LCB in off-man. Safety in box on weak side.


– Quick screen to Z receiver. Slot WR does good job at blocking the Nickel, Z receiver gets upfield for 3 yard gain and a first down.





– 11 personnel, (2×2)


– Rams stay in base defense (3 linebackers on field). Looks like they run Cover 1. LCB aligned in man-press on Z receiver. RCB playing off-man. FS walks out to slot WR and plays off. SS playing deep middle.


– PA pass. Z and Slot WR run digs at different depth. RB runs to flat after play-fake to hold OLB and keep him from entering the throwing lane.


– Gabbert does a good job of turning his back to the defense and showcasing the football through the fake.


– Good job reading RCB and S’s outside leverage on receivers – no chance of stopping a route breaking inside. MLB drops into throwing lane for Slot WR’s dig. OLB, though, is occupied and reacting to RB on playfake and flat route. Beautiful mid-range pass.





– Much improved over last week on footwork, PA mechanics, weight transfer through throw, and body positioning. He’s still overextended, but note how his hips aren’t rolled up and shoulders aren’t tilted back. He’s throwing downhill. Progress.





– 21 personnel, Pro Set


– Rams in Cover 2 w/press-man coverage underneath. CBs lined up on top of WRs, in “press” position, not playing with outside leverage and looking at QB (which would signify traditional Cover 2). Safeties splitting the deep field in half.


– 3 step drop. Wants to go to the X running a quick slant. Good job here of checking the WLB. Instead of gaining depth and getting in the throwing lane to the only WR to his side, the WLB covers grass. Goes immediately to slant (which is a good read), but the WR can’t beat the press. Gets rerouted and CB makes a play on the ball.







– 3rd and 7


– 11 personnel, (3×1), shotgun


– Rams disguising coverage pre-snap. FS drops into box late. RCB playing press-man. Nickel splitting difference between two slot WRs, RCB playing off and in a deep zone technique.


– Rams run overload blitz – bring a LB and FS off left edge, drop LDE into coverage. Combine Cover 3 and Cover 1. RCB running press-man on the single receiver side (blitz side). Cover 3 to the three-wide receiver side (non-blitzing side).


– Because the FS drops late, RB40 picks up the edge rusher – leaving the FS with a free run at the QB. Gabbert scrambles to his left for no gain. Shame, because I really would like to see how he reacts post-snap to this coverage. Instead, he ends up running for his life.



Second Drive






– 21 personnel, TE+Wing, Twins Right


– Rams in Cover 1 pre-snap. SS rotates to center-field pre-snap. LCB stays on double TE side.. RCB in man-press. FS lined up in off-man on inside WR.


– PA bootleg. Does a good job at showing defense the ball and getting to the outside when defenses loses contain on the play fake.


– Outside WR runs a whip route. Inside WR runs a deep comeback. TE runs a drag at medium depth.


– Looks immediately to the whip route. Throws on the run and ball is behind the WR. WR adjusts and makes the catch.


– I’d like him to be more patient and to. The TE gets jammed on release, but is uncovered once he gets into his route.





– 3rd and 4


– 11 personnel, (3×1), Shotgun


– Rams in Cover 1 pre-snap, showing blitz.


– Good job pre-snap recognizing that he has a LB manned up against a RB running a wheel. However, he instead of stepping into his throw and leading the RB to “throw him open,” he throws off his back foot. LB knocks the pass down harmlessly to the turf. Good touch on the throw, but he needs to step into it and give the RB a chance. Great play by the LB.




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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