JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Blaine Gabbert is back under centre for the winless Jacksonville Jaguars.
Gabbert, who missed the last two games after slicing open the back of his throwing hand, will start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
"We feel good about him going into this week," coach Gus Bradley said Monday.
Gabbert needed 15 stitches to close the wound, which he opened when his hand got caught on a defender's facemask late in the season opener against Kansas City. He had the final few stitches removed before Sunday's 45-17 loss at Seattle.
The former Missouri standout, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, has missed 10 of the team's last 13 games. He missed the final six games last season because of a right forearm injury. He also had a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. He sat out two preseason games because of a broken right thumb. And then he gashed his hand in the opener and missed two games on the West Coast.
So Gabbert has been mostly a sideline spectator for Jacksonville.
But Bradley wasted little time switching back to Gabbert from Chad Henne, who has one touchdown pass and two interceptions off the bench.
"Hopefully, he picked up where he left off in preseason," Bradley said. "I think this has been good for Blaine, to go through the game process, the game-planning process, to go through all the meetings, and be in there with Chad and maybe see a different side of it. I think that's been good for Blaine."
Gabbert completed 16 of 35 passes for 121 yards, with two interceptions, against the Chiefs. He was sacked six times in the 28-2 loss, the worst opener in franchise history.
The Jaguars believe he has more upside than Henne and wants to use the season to evaluate whether he can develop into a franchise quarterback.
"He has some special talent," Bradley said. "We really like his traits. He's 6-5, 250 pounds, runs a 4.5. He does some things well in the movement. He makes some mistakes in the decision making. ... Maybe we have to simplify it and allow (him) to play with more freedom."
Bradley also said Gabbert tries too hard to please everyone around him -- maybe to a fault.
"When you do that, you might not take as many risks because he doesn't want to let anybody down," Bradley said. "I think we have to change his mind-set to say, 'It's OK, don't worry about us, we'll be fine.' The way you please us is to go out there and let loose and take some risks and to do those things and play with some more freedom. I think that's what we've got to develop with Blaine."