While the Texans were pretty good in coverage, one of the things that jumped out to me fairly early was that the Jaguars had similar route concepts as the Texans that take a little while to develop. The Jaguars scheme calls for certain WRs to run routes that are designed less for getting open and more for creating space or pockets to throw to. A QB needs time to allow these routes to develop and he also has to be patient enough to wait them out as well.
In this film study, we will take a look at a passing play that could have worked for a much bigger gain if Gabbert had showed better awareness and better patience.
The WR on the near side is going to run a go route right up the field in attempt to back the secondary off and clear out space for the WR on the far side. If the near side CB sits down in the same area where the drag route is designed to come, then the QB can look down the field at the deep route vs. the safety. The FB and Marcedes Lewis are both going to be safe options in each flat.
As you can see, the safeties are playing right into the Jaguars hands with a 2-deep look and Joseph is beginning to retreat along with the WR who is clearing out area for crossing route that is coming behind the middle linebacker. Marcedes Lewis is bumped by the OLB on his way to the flat, but the OLB is rushing the QB and is not a factor in coverage.
1. As you can see, Gabbert is completely unaware of Marcedes Lewis who doesn't have a defender anywhere near him. Lewis isn't going to be his primary read here, but with coverage nowhere near him, a completed pass to him would have resulted in an easy first down and probably 12-15 yards.
2. The near side WR has drawn the attention of not only the CB, but also the safety which is a perfect scenario for the Jaguars as it has cleared a tremendous amount of space for the crossing route that is coming from the far side WR.
3. The far side WR is working beyond the middle linebacker and will then break into his crossing route. As long as protection is holding up, which it is, Gabbert will only need to wait for the WR to get beyond the linebacker and make an accurate throw to the WR running in wide open space for an easy first down.
As you can see in this still shot, Gabbert is delivering the ball to the fullback in the flat despite having a wide open option on his blindside in Marcedes Lewis and a WR who is open and who has a sizable window to throw to (#2) as he runs past the stationary middle linebacker. My guess is that Gabbert sensed a little bit of pressure and we more than ready to check down rather than trusting the pass protection and allowing the routes to unfold. If Gabbert had been either more aware or more willing to look for the crossing route beneath the clear-out route from near side WR, he would have hit a 15+ yard completion.
The Houston Texans won't be facing Gabbert this week, they'll be facing Peyton Manning. If Manning gets opportunities like this, he probably won't miss them.