Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert is "progressing as planned," according to head coach Gus Bradley. The third-year passer is looking to return from a fractured thumb in his throwing hand in time to start the team's Week 1 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gabbert, 23, returned to throwing in practice on Monday, just over two weeks after he suffered the injury in a preseason game against the New York Jets.
"This is what we expected to see," Bradley said in a press conference after Monday's practice. "I think Wednesday will be a big sign to see if he's still in the right direction. Even after today, we'll see how his thumb came out of it."
Gabbert was named the team's starting quarterback after a strong showing against the Jets in which he completed 13-of-16 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown before hitting his thumb on a New York pass rusher. He sat out the final two games of the preseason, replaced by backup Chad Henne.
A first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Gabbert made improvements in his second season in 2012, boosting his completion percentage from 50.8 to 58.3 percent and improving his quarterback rating from 65.4 to 77.4. However, his 5-19 record as a starter hasn't inspired much hope and could lead to the pursuit of a new quarterback in the 2014 offseason if he is unable to make a significant jump forward in 2013.