JACKSONVILLE – Here’s this week’s Wednesday wrap up.
Each Wednesday morning during the 2013 season, jaguars.com senior John Oehser will set the stage for the Jaguars’ Wednesday media access by previewing major topics facing the team that day. Each Wednesday afternoon/evening, he will break down what was learned from Jaguars players and coaches that day.
Here’s the wrap up of Wednesday’s five topics as the Jaguars prepare for the Oakland Raiders . . .
1. How ready is Henne? Chad Henne is starting at quarterback with Blaine Gabbert out with a hand injury, and he’s approaching the situation as he should – and as you’d expect. Henne, who competed with Gabbert for the starting position through Preseason Game 2, said he is preparing as he did last week – as if he was the starter – and his mindset entering the game is that if he plays well as the starter he can win the job permanently. “It’s their decision and my job is to just concentrate on this game and help this team win and go out there and play my best,” Henne said. Henne went 1-5 as a starter in the final six games last season. This is his 38th NFL start, with 31 coming for Miami from 2009-2011. “It’s just starting this game and see where it goes from here,” Henne said. “My job is play as well as I can, and hopefully just keep the job. That’s how I’m going to play it and I’m going to prepare, like I said, as the starter and play my best and show the coaches that I can get the job done.”
2. How’s the hand? Gabbert is out at least a week with a lacerated throwing hand that required 15 stitches Sunday. Gabbert is being held out to reduce the risk of infection to the area, and he said Wednesday he doesn’t know if he’ll play at Seattle September 22. “We’re doing our best to eliminate everything that can go wrong,” Gabbert said. Gabbert had the hand wrapped Wednesday, and said he has seen the area every day since the injury. “It doesn’t look pretty at all,” he said.
3. Will Will Rackley play? Rackley, the Jaguars’ starting left guard, sustained a lateral knee sprain against the Chiefs, with center/guard Mike Brewster playing the last 26 plays in his place. Rackley did not practice Wednesday, but said he is optimistic about playing Sunday. Tight end Marcedes Lewis and cornerback Dwayne Gratz also missed practice, with Lewis’ status uncertain for Sunday and Gratz out at least three weeks with a high-ankle sprain. Center Brad Meester, defensive end Jason Babin and running back Maurice Jones-Drew all had veterans’ days off.
4. What of the offensive line? The offensive line struggled against Kansas City, allowing six sacks and 11 pressures despite having the entire starting unit – left tackle Eugene Monroe, left guard Will Rackley, center Brad Meester, right guard Uche Nwaneri and right tackle Luke Joeckel – available. “Last week’s game doesn’t play a factor in how we’re going to perform this week,” Monroe said. “We definitely can’t perform like that, either. We’re well aware of that and working toward having a better performance. Continuity is always a work in progress. Past performance has nothing to with the upcoming performance. We’re working to prepare for the Raiders.”
5. How do you stop Terrelle Pryor? The Raiders’ starting quarterback made his first NFL start Sunday, rushing 13 times for 112 yards against Indianapolis and completing 19 of 29 passes for a touchdown with two interceptions. Fifty yards came on scrambles, which means Pryor is effective both on designed runs and when protection breaks down. “Anytime Terrelle (Pryor) has the ability to carry the ball, it’s a concern,” Jaguars defensive coordinator Bob Babich said. Bradley added, “He’ll do some movement passes and some boots. He’ll do some roll passes, but a lot of his long yardage came on drop-back passes where he took off and ran, so it puts pressure on our pass-rush lanes.”