Mike Kafka: Really?


Dedicated readers — yes, all nine of you — will recognize that headline. As if it’s some sort of sign from the gods, it was used exactly a month ago, just with a different name. That time, the name in question was Tyler Wilson when we learned that he has/had(?) a real chance to win the starting quarterback gig for the Raiders, even though they just traded for Matt Flynn, and even though they gave up a second-round pick for Terrelle Pryor.

But after some sober reflection, that made some sense, though even the possibility of Wilson’s abrupt rise was more of a reflection on the inexperience and ineffectiveness of Flynn and Pryor, who have combined for three career starts. Now we may be seeing sort of the same thing in Jacksonville with Mike Kafka, except inexperience isn’t a problem for Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne.

No, they just might suck.

Kafka carries the title of the sacrificial Tebow lamb, as he was released by the Patriots to make room for the holy messiah. He was then quickly picked up by the Jaguars and their front office that’s now covering its quarterback wall in fecal matter, and hoping at least one piece of the stuff takes a little longer to reach the floor (hey, have you had breakfast yet?). Tossing Kafka in with Gabbert, Henne, Matt Scott, and Jordan Rodgers makes the Jags one of just two teams in the league with five quarterbacks currently on their roster (the Eagles are the other one).

Now, is the purpose of this just to breed competition and foster a better training camp environment, and blah blah blah? Sure, partly, but that company line alone doesn’t fly when your top two quarterbacks are Gabbert and Henne. Which is why David Caldwell isn’t using that line. He’s an honest man.

In a conference call Caldwell told the media that Kafka has a “legitimate chance” to win the starting job, and a “good opportunity“. Kafka has shown some ever so brief flashes of pretty good-ness when he was with the Eagles, most notably completing seven of his nine pass attempts during a Week 2 game in 2011. The problem is that those nine attempts are already over half of his meaningful throws in an NFL game, as he’s only attempted 16 total passes. Oh, and he’s never started a game.

As always, there’s a fantasy impact here too, and a pretty simple one: I’m already scared enough of the demon thrower that is Gabbert, but pray for us all if Kafka is assigned to put passes in the hands of Cecil shorts, and later Justin Blackmon once he returns from his suspension.

Gabbert is a former first-round pick, and despite the presence of a new regime in Jacksonville, it’s difficult to see Caldwell and new head coach Gus Bradley turfing his career for a passer who hasn’t started an NFL game. But the mere mention of that possibility shows just how little they think of Gabbert, and how much his time in Jacksonville — and likely as an NFL starter — is very much in the fleeting stages.