Friday, March 7, 2014
Chad Henne named Jaguars' starter
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Regardless of what the Jacksonville Jaguars do in the draft, head coach Gus Bradley's plan is for Chad Henne to be the team's starter on opening day -- and possibly even the entire season.
Bradley said on a Friday teleconference that he and general manager David Caldwell would prefer that a rookie quarterback -- whether he was taken in the third round or with the No. 3 pick in the first round -- sit behind Henne and develop instead of playing right away.
The Jaguars will begin the season with Chad Henne as the presumptive starter.
"That's our plan, Dave and I," Bradley said. "We'd like to create an environment where that quarterback could come in and just put all of his focus on preparation and learning without the distractions that come with it [playing right away]. That would be the ideal environment.
"Now, if we did do that and he did really well, we're going to be open to [him playing immediately]. We're obviously going to play the best guy. … I think we want to create an environment like that for him to compete in and I think that [sitting] would give him the best opportunity to get better."
That's one of the reasons why the Jaguars placed such a high priority on signing Henne before free agency beings next week. Not only does it give the Jaguars a player who has experience in the system and familiarity with the coaching staff and personnel, it allows them to not have to play a quarterback that may not be ready to be on the field -- which is what happened with Blaine Gabbert in 2011.
And we've seen how that worked out.
Bradley wouldn't rule out the Jaguars taking a quarterback with the No 3 pick. He also said that while Henne heads into organized team activities as the starter, Gabbert has the chance to compete and win the job. So, too, would whatever quarterback the team drafts.
If either out-performs Henne, they'll start, but the expectation is that Henne -- who started 13 games last season and threw for 3,421 yards and 13 touchdowns with 14 interceptions -- holds onto the job.
"If they bring in a quarterback at No. 3, that's just only another guy in there that's going to try to compete and make me better and hopefully I can make him better," Henne said. "What it really all comes down to is helping the team win, and I've always been a team player. I'm going to bust my butt to be the starter and hopefully be the starter there for a long time.
"Whatever they do, that's their decision. My job is to help lead this team and be the starter Day 1."