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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Jags stick with Chad Henne as QB

By Michael DiRocco

The Jacksonville Jaguars are going with Chad Henne at quarterback again -- for one more week, anyway.

Coach Gus Bradley made the announcement after Wednesday's practice at a resort the team is using as its headquarters this week in London, about 40 miles from Wembley Stadium, where the Jaguars will play the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Bradley said Henne's performance the past two weeks in place of the injured Blaine Gabbert earned him the right to start this week's game.

Chad Henne
Quarterback Chad Henne will start again for the Jaguars when they play the 49ers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.

"We feel good about what Chad has done the last few weeks and we want to continue to build on that and see where it takes us," Bradley said.

Henne has completed 64 percent of his passes (58 of 78) for 621 yards with three interceptions in losses to Denver and San Diego. He hasn't thrown for a touchdown but receiver Cecil Shorts did drop two potential scoring passes against the Chargers. Two of Henne's interceptions came after balls were deflected at the line of scrimmage.

Henne was in the starting lineup because Gabbert suffered a left hamstring strain during the third quarter of the Jaguars' loss to St. Louis on Oct. 6. Gabbert had completed 9 of 19 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions at the time of his injury. Henne finished the game, going 7 of 13 for 89 yards and one touchdown.

Gabbert was inactive the last two weeks but will be active Sunday as the No. 2 quarterback, Bradley said.

Henne has clearly outplayed Gabbert this season, completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,222 yards and two touchdowns with five interceptions. In his three starts, Gabbert has completed 48.8 percent of his passes for 481 yards and one touchdown with seven interceptions, three of which have been returned for touchdowns. Gabbert has missed games in the preseason and regular season because of a fractured right thumb, a cut on the back of his right hand, and a hamstring strain.

The good news for Henne on Sunday is that the Jaguars will have their entire receiving corps active in a game for the first time this season. Stephen Burton and Ace Sanders have cleared the NFL's concussion protocol and practiced Wednesday.

Mike Brown is fully recovered from a fractured vertebra in his back and is coming off the first 100-yard receiving game of his career (five catches, 120 yards). Cecil Shorts, the Jaguars' leading receiver with 39 catches for 491 yards, played through a painful injury to the SC joint near his right shoulder last week, and he and Bradley say he'll play against the 49ers. He did not practice Wednesday.

Justin Blackmon, who has caught 25 passes for 384 yards in three games since he returned from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, played through a minor groin and hamstring pull last week and also did not practice Wednesday but will play Sunday.

So will tight end Marcedes Lewis, who is coming off his first full game of the season. He had missed all but two snaps in the first six weeks because of a left calf injury. Lewis caught one pass for 31 yards against the Chargers.

"Sunday it wasn't 100 percent but I was able to go in there and play about 50 to 55 plays and have no setbacks," Lewis said. "I felt it tighten up here and there, but I think that was just the fatigue, and I expected that to happen. I'm just going to stack another one on and continue to get better."