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Inside the Jaguars: Henne to start Sunday

Posted Oct 7, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars HC Gus Bradley on QBs Chad Henne, Blaine Gabbert: “As a position group, we just have to make better decisions.”

JACKSONVILLE – Chad Henne is expected to start for the Jaguars Sunday.

And although Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said on Monday he expects quarterback Blaine Gabbert to return to the starting lineup when healthy, for now, Henne said he will approach this week as he does all others.

“I’ll prepare like I’m the starter and see what happens,” Henne said Monday afternoon.

Gabbert sustained a grade-two hamstring strain in the third quarter against St. Louis Sunday, and Bradley said he likely will miss Sunday’s game against the Broncos in Denver.

Bradley said Gabbert is week-to-week with the injury, and that he expects Gabbert will remain the starter when healthy.

Gabbert left Sunday’s game having completed 9 of 19 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Henne, who started in place of Gabbert in Week Two and Three, completed 7 of 13 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown after Gabbert left the game Sunday.

Bradley supported Gabbert in the wake of a Week 4 loss to Indianapolis, and on Monday he again discussed his decision to support Gabbert.

“We have to hold everybody accountable,” Bradley said. “Last week, I said he made a lot of good reads and we have to make plays for him. I felt strongly about that. This week it’s similar. I feel strongly about Blaine, but there were missed opportunities by Blaine this week.

“He has to step up in the pocket. He has to stay strong. He has to play with confidence and make those passes he does in practice. That’s the next step.”

Bradley said Henne missed opportunities Sunday, too.

“As a position group, we just have to make better decisions,” Bradley said. “When you’re a quarterback, with that comes the responsibility of being a leader. Our guys are working toward that, but I think they have to step it up even more.”

Asked specifically if Gabbert would remain the starter when healthy, Bradley said, “Right now, that’s my thought.

“We feel strongly about both of them,” Bradley said. “We’re going to challenge both of them and both of them need to step up.”

Bradley on Monday also addressed Gabbert’s recent injury history. He finished last season on injured reserve with a forearm injury, and missed the final two preseason games with a thumb injury. He missed Weeks Two and Three with a lacerated hand.

“That is something we have to take a look at, not only within our training and strength and conditioning, but also Blaine,” Bradley said. “These things have surfaced up. It’s so important. You have to be able to trust that he will stay healthy. For whatever reason, these things have happened.”

Also around the Jaguars:

*Bradley on Monday confirmed rookie left tackle Luke Joeckel will undergo surgery “sooner than later” on the right high-ankle fracture that ended his season Sunday. Joeckel earlier Monday said while surgery was probable, a decision hadn’t yet been made….

*Bradley said he thought the Jaguars made strides Sunday, and that the offensive line improved despite Joeckel’s injury. With Joeckel out, third-year veteran Cameron Bradfield played left tackle and Austin Pasztor played right tackle. The Jaguars allowed just two sacks. “Overall, just a much better performance by the offensive line than we’ve had in recent weeks,” Bradley said….

*Bradley said he didn’t regret taking a field goal off the board and going for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line early in the third quarter. The Jaguars had cut the lead to 11 with a 23-yard field goal by kicker Josh Scobee, but Bradley opted to accept an offsides penalty. Rams linebacker James Laurinitis intercepted a pass from Gabbert to end the drive. “I just felt at the time that’s what we needed,” Bradley said. “I think it was a message sent to our team that we’re going to go for it. I think the message is the right message.”

*Bradley said tight end Allen Reisner sustained a sprained medical collateral ligament and likely will miss at least six weeks….

*Wide receiver Stephen Burton, safety Dwight Lowery and defensive end Jeremy Mincey will be retested this week after missing Sunday’s game with concussions….

*Wide receiver Mike Brown (back) and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle) could return to the practice field this week, but Bradley said their status for Sunday remains uncertain….

*Tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf) likely will miss Sunday’s game. He has missed three of the first four games….

*Bradley said the Jaguars totaled seven explosive plays offensively, and also totaled seven pass breakups defensively….

*Bradley said the Jaguars’ special teams also played well, limiting the Rams’ kickoff returners. Safety Chris Prosinski also registered the team’s third blocked punt of the season. “I think our special teams has really made improvement,” he said.

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