Chad Henne is getting another opportunity at starting in the NFL.
How well he performs could resolve whether Blaine Gabbert gets one, too.
The Jaguars named Henne their starting QB for Sunday’s game against Titans, the latest change for a team frantic to snap a 7-game losing streak.
Coach Mike Mularkey made the statement; a day after Henne threw for 354 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 43-37 overtime loss at Houston.
Mularkey pinned the decision on Henne’s performance – not Gabbert’s injury.
”We’re trying to find a way to produce and win,” expounded Mularkey, who has made other lineup changes at RB, receiver, left guard and nose tackle in recent weeks. ”We’re just attempting to find tactics to see if we are able to be more profitable that’s all. It’s no different.”
Gabbert hurt his right forearm early in the game and had trouble gripping the ball.
Henne replaced him in the 1st quarter and finished 16 of 33 passes. He connected with Cecil Shorts III on a 67-yard touchdown and later hitched up with Justin Blackmon for an 81-yard score. He also found tight end Marcedes Lewis for two TDs in the red zone.
”He’s been a starter in the league. He’s had some success at that position,” Mularkey said. ”He was brought in here in case something happened to Blaine, to step in there and produce, which he probably did. He prepares like he’s a starter each week.
”That’s the number one thing about him. He’s been the as much of a help for Blaine’s progress as anyone. He prepares each week just like he’s going to play every down. He doesn’t get all of the reps, but he watches a lot of film. He’s taught our young guys the best way to watch film and basically understand what they are watching and what they are searching for. It just showed up on the tape yesterday.”
Mularkey said Gabbert is questionable against the Titans (4-6).
If Gabbert can’t play, the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) will promote John Parker Wilson from the practice squad to serve as Henne’s backup.
”Blaine’s injury is still up in the air,” Mularkey asserted. ”It’s still debatable about the strength in that hand. I’d take care to say that he has a chance to play this week.”
Henne also replaced an injured Gabbert against Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 8 and completed 10 of 16 passes for 121 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. The Jaguars signed Henne to a 2 year, $6.75 million deal in March, bringing the previous Miami Dolphins starter in to be Gabbert’s backup. Scores
Jaguars traded up to draft Gabbert with the 10th overall pick last year. The former Missouri Tigers standout struggled as a rookie and showed signs of progress earlier this year. But he obviously took a step backwards against the Colts, lacking pocket presence, rushing throws and missing open receivers.
Given that Jaguars likely will have a high pick in the 2012 draft, it is imperative the team figure out whether Gabbert is its franchise QB.
Gabbert has completed 53.8% of his passes in 2 seasons – 24 starts – for 3,876 yards, with 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He’s been sacked 62 times.
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