Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Henne hoping Sunday is a second chance
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Chad Henne is treating Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders as a second chance to prove that he deserves to be the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback.
He’s just not sure if coach Gus Bradley is thinking the same way.
"My job is play as well as I can and hopefully just keep the job," Henne said Wednesday. "That’s how I’m going to play it, and I’m going to prepare as the starter and play my best and show the coaches that I can get the job done."
Henne is starting against the Raiders because Blaine Gabbert suffered a cut on the top of his right hand during the Jaguars’ season opener. He needed 15 stitches to close the wound, and the medical staff was worried about the risk of re-injury and infection. Gabbert had beaten out Henne for the starting job midway through the preseason.
Gabbert struggled in the Jaguars’ 28-2 loss to Kansas City, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. The offensive line gave up six sacks; Gabbert was playing for the first time in three weeks because of a fractured right thumb; and he was without two of his top three pass catchers because of suspension (receiver Justin Blackmon) and injury (tight end Marcedes Lewis). The main task this season for Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell is to find out whether Gabbert can be the player around which the team is built.
So it would be a surprise if Gabbert didn’t reclaim his starting job whenever he is medically cleared, whether that’s next week, ahead of the Jaguars’ game at Seattle, or the following week, for their game at home against Indianapolis.
Bradley hasn’t said that Henne would remain the starter if he plays well against the Raiders -- and he’s had several chances to do so.
He did say, however, that he has no problem if that’s the way Henne is thinking.
"That’s good. I would hope he would say that," Bradley said. "He’s a competitor and that’s why we’ve got confidence in him playing. I really wanted him to go out there and capture this and be at his best. That was our conversation today. I said don’t wait until Sunday to compete. That’s too late."
Henne, in his sixth NFL season, has started 37 games in his career with Miami and Jacksonville. After Gabbert suffered a forearm injury in the 10th game of the 2012 season, Henne relieved him and played the rest of the season, throwing for 1,869 yards and 10 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.