Mularkey, Jaguars must go forward with Henne

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
8:33
AM ET
Mike Mularkey says he won’t make any rash decisions, he always evaluates the tape.

By lunch today, that process will be over.

Maybe he will have an elbow contusion to the throwing arm of his starting quarterback to lean on to make a change. Maybe he will not.

No matter the case, he's the coach of a team that’s been desperate for a spark on offense. Sunday, when Blaine Gabbert went down early when that arm got pulled on by a blitzing defender, the offense got that spark in the form of Chad Henne.

The veteran quarterback in his first year as Gabbert’s backup played poorly in a similar opportunity earlier this season in Oakland. In this game he became the first quarterback to come off the bench and throw four touchdowns and no interceptions since Steve Young in 1987.

That’s on the film that Mularkey will be reviewing.

The Jaguars managed to lose anyway, blowing a two-touchdown, fourth quarter lead as Houston pulled it out, 43-37 in overtime.

But Henne was the central figure in the Jaguars’ best offensive performance of the year. And it was the best by a little, it was the best by a mile.

Against the Texans, Jacksonville amassed 458 total net yards. The season average over nine games before that was 264, maxing out at 362 on opening day.

A team that had thrown for more than 300 yards just once before got 372.

Rookie receiver Justin Blackmon who’s been fairly scrutinized for his failure to produce, broke through with a dominant seven-catch, 236-yard game. It was the third-best rookie receiving yardage game in league history, according to Elias, and the most since Jerry Rice had 241 in Week 14 1985.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Henne completed 5 of six 6 throws 15 yards or more downfield for 224 yards. In Houston's last three games, it had allowed a league-low four completions on such throws.

Um, the defense rests, coach Mularkey. I've been right there in the camp that did not believe Henne was better or had more upside than Gabbert. Sunday changed my mind and it should change yours.

Return to Gabbert at your own risk.

What’s to lose by giving Henne a chance to carry momentum into a full week of practice reps and Sunday’s home game against the Titans?

Nothing at all.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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