Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert played much of his rookie season with a toe injury, he told The Florida Times-Union on Monday.
The injury could be a partial explanation for Gabbert's performance during a 5-11 season. Regardless, he told The Associated Press he realizes he needs to make progress.
"My expectations are definitely higher this year," Gabbert said. "I have a full offseason ahead of me and a great coaching staff. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together."
The Jaguars ranked last in the NFL in total offense in 2011, scoring 14 or fewer points in 10 games. Gabbert completed 50.8 percent of his passes for 2,214 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and he was sacked a whopping 40 times.
But key people inside the Jaguars' facility -- owner Shad Khan, general manager Gene Smith and coach Mike Mularkey -- insist Gabbert is their guy for now and for the future.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with him," Mularkey said. "I'd like to give him a chance with some of the things we're going to hopefully help him do. We feel like we can help him develop his talents. There's a lot that he does very well, and we just need to get that to be a consistent thing."
The Jaguars signed former Miami Dolphins starter Chad Henne to be Gabbert's backup. The move raised eyebrows, especially when Mularkey said Henne would compete for the starting job.
"I trust Gene Smith and Mike Mularkey's word that if they say I'm the starting quarterback, then I'm the starting quarterback," Gabbert said. "That's good enough for me. That doesn't mean that I don't have to go out there and work hard and compete every day. This business is competitive. You have to perform on a daily basis. That's how it should be and that's how it will be."
The Jaguars tried to shake up the quarterback situation even more by trying to trade for former University of Florida star Tim Tebow. They looked like they would swoop in and land Tebow, but he ended up with the New York Jets.
"There was so much talk going around that you didn't know what was the truth," Gabbert said. "It's not really worth stressing out over. At the end of the day, you can't control it one way or another."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.