The Jacksonville Jaguars likely won't rush first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert into starting this season because of veteran quarterback David Garrard's presence. But that decision might have been made for coach Jack Del Rio and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter as each day not spent with locked-out players passed.
The reality is that rookies -- and especially rookie quarterbacks -- might be affected by the lingering lockout more than any other players. NFL staffs haven't had contact with them during a critical time of development typically spent studying playbooks, developing fundamentals, getting comfortable with new surroundings and being in a football environment.
Del Rio acknowledged during a recent interview with WFXJ-AM in Jacksonville that the lockout has compromised Gabbert's chances of competing for the starting job.
"I think certainly we took him high (10th overall) because we think he has talent and we believe long term he has a chance to be special," Del Rio said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "In the short term, is it impacted? Absolutely, it's impacted. I mean, the guy who has the most to learn, the most to do, is the quarterback. Just think about going through the progress of the play, getting the play called at the line of scrimmage, making the adjustments ... making sure everyone is lined up properly, making a 'check' if there's another 'check' that goes with the play. It's very complex at our level, and a lot goes into it. That's for every position. But for the quarterback, it is so much more.
"I think that's an awful lot to ask a young man to come in a couple of weeks and get it all and have it down pat. I think it takes a little time. Certainly not having an offseason sets that process back, but we're no different than a lot of teams. We understand that."
Koetter said last month that Garrard will take the majority of snaps during training camp -- about 40 percent -- while Gabbert (30 percent) essentially will learn the offense as the No. 2 quarterback, with veteran Luke McCown receiving the remainder of the repetitions.
Del Rio said that while Gabbert does have a playbook, the amount he can learn without the chance at on-field reps and making adjustments is limited to basic concepts.
"I mean, I guess I could give you a book of Chinese, and a translation book of Chinese, and then see how you are in a month and if you can speak Chinese or not," Del Rio said. "That's what I equate it to."