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Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert on anonymous criticism: 'Say it to me'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

2013 will be a make-or-break year for Gabbert. (Getty Images)
Blaine Gabbert, the Jaguars first-round pick in 2011, is at a crossroads. After two forgettable seasons that coincided with seven wins, Gabbert has to prove he's a capable NFL quarterback or he'll almost certainly be looking for work next spring.

Earlier this month, a former Jags assistant anonymously referred to Gabbert as "Blame" because "nothing's ever his fault."

Teammate Maurice Jones-Drew came to Gabbert's defense, noting what should've already been obvious: "For that coach to come out and say that, that's not what a man should do.

“You have a problem, tell it to his face," MJD continued. "You don't air somebody out after you're gone. That happens too much in this league. It just [ticks] me off that people talk about the guy like that."

On Wednesday, Gabbert spoke publicly on the matter and he was predictably unimpressed by the Angry Anonymous Former Jags Assistant.

"It pissed me off quite a bit, just because you learn to trust your coaches because you spend so much time with them," Gabbert told Jaguars.com's John Oehser. "That's starting now. April 2 through whenever your last game is, you're with them countless hours every day, six or seven days a week. You learn to value their opinion, trust it. It's a close-knit grip.

"When you have an anonymous source saying something that couldn't be further from the truth, it pisses me off. Like I always said, 'Put your name on it.' If you're going to say something to the media, say it to me. Say who said it. No need to hide behind a computer screen or an anonymous source name when you're trying to make a point."

Whatever you think of Gabbert the player, it's hard to argue with his thoughts on how grown men should conduct themselves at work. But the best way for the 24-year-old to quiet his critics is to play better.

“The third year is an important year for any quarterback,” Gabbert said. “It's where you make the jump. You start playing at a high level. There are still going to be ups and downs. Some guys have off seasons and they've been playing 10 years in the NFL. You have to eliminate the peaks and valleys. You have to play at a high level consistently. That's what I'm looking forward to doing.”

Good news: Current Jags quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo thinks Gabbert would be the first QB off the board if he was in the 2013 draft.

Bad news: There have been rumblings that Jacksonville, picking second in next month's draft, is interested in former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Of course, this is the time of year where obfuscation rules, so who knows where the truth lies (also worth noting: none of our draft experts have bought into the Smith-to-Jags speculation).

Whatever happens in the coming weeks, Gabbert has one more year to prove himself. On this we can all agree.

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