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Justin Blackmon hurting Blaine Gabbert, scout says

There are a lot of reasons why the Jacksonville Jaguars' passing game hasn't taken a step forward this season.

The offense is wildly conservative. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert's progress has been incremental, but he's still not a good starter. Wide receiver Laurent Robinson was a disappointment before he got hurt.

The biggest problem to this point, however, might be with the Jaguars' top draft pick. Justin Blackmon was taken No. 7 overall to be a difference-maker. Wide receiver isn't an easy position to transition to at the pro level, but Blackmon hasn't looked like he's belonged.

"(Blackmon has) really hurt Gabbert," one scout told and NFL Network's Albert Breer. "I'm not sure his speed, or lack thereof, translates to the pro game -- he can't beat press man coverage. He's just not explosive or quick enough."

This is an issue for a lot of physical, big-bodied receivers when they enter the NFL. They simply can't dominate the opposition with their size like they did in college. Blackmon is good at catching the ball in close quarters, but he hasn't been able to separate.

Gabbert has targeted Blackmon 54 times, resulting in 23 catches for 225 yards and one touchdown. That makes Blackmon one of the least efficient wide receivers in football.

It's too early to draw any long-term conclusions, but Jaguars general manager Gene Smith and Gabbert might not have much time left before they lose their jobs.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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