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Jack Del Rio Benches Blaine Gabbert, But Why?

The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped their eighth game of the season on Sunday to the Houston Texans. In the game, Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio decided to bench Blaine Gabbert in the middle of the fourth quarter when the Texans were leading 20-10. Luke McCown, who started the first two games of the 2011 season, began warming up on the sideline after Gabbert was sacked for the sixth time and replaced him on the very next drive.

The real question however is, why did Jack Del Rio decide to bench Blaine Gabbert all the sudden?

Gabbert had been struggling in the game, certainly. McCown came in and led the Jaguars to a quick field goal, putting them within a touchdown. But, on McCown's next drive he was sacked for a huge loss and nearly picked off. What exactly was the point of putting Luke McCown in, though?

The obvious answer is Jack Del Rio was trying to provide an offensive spark and win the game. Well, if that was the reason why did you wait until you were staring 3-8 in the face to do so? It's not like Gabbert struggling in the game has been something new. If it was about trying to win games, why didn't you go back to McCown after the bye week? All it looks like right now is undermining your rookie quarterback and a coach desperate to try and keep from getting fired. You committed to him when you benched McCown after Week 2, you can't go back now.

The team has said Blaine Gabbert will start on Monday Night against the San Diego Chargers, but does this mean Gabbert has a leash now? Is this something else on the rookies plate he'll need to worry about while he's trying to complete passes?

For more on Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars, visit SB Nation's Jaguars blog Big Cat Country.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.