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Henne gave receivers a chance

Posted Nov 19, 2012

Jaguars offensive approach won't change with Chad Henne at quarterback, Mike Mularkey says

The decision came down to production.

Chad Henne was productive much of the game Sunday, and so was the Jaguars’ offense, which Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said are the primary reasons Henne will start at quarterback against Tennessee Sunday.

Mularkey named Henne the starter in a press conference Monday.

“He’s been a starter in the league, and he has played like that,” Mularkey said a day after the Jaguars (1-9) lost 43-37 in overtime to the Houston Texans (9-1) at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

“He’s had success at the position. He was brought in here in case something happened to Blaine, to step in there and produce, which he did yesterday.  He prepares like he’s a starter ever week.”

Henne replaced second-year veteran Blaine Gabbert in the first quarter Sunday. Gabbert left the game with an elbow contusion that prevented him from gripping the ball and being able to throw.

Mularkey said Gabbert is questionable for Sunday.

But Mularkey said Henne will start whatever Gabbert’s injury status, and that the Jaguars won’t change the offensive approach with Henne starting.

“We didn’t change anything yesterday,” he said. “We went with the game plan, and he played well.”

Henne, who started 31 games for the Miami Dolphins from 2009-2011 before signing with the Jaguars as a free agent in the offseason, completed 16 of 33 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions Sunday.

He became the first NFL quarterback since Steve Young of San Francisco in 1987 to throw four touchdowns with no interceptions after entering a game as a backup.

Jaguars rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon caught seven passes for a career-high 236 yards and a touchdown, and second-year wide receiver Cecil Shorts caught three passes for 81 yards.

“He gave guys a chance to make plays yesterday with some of his throws,” Mularkey said, adding, “Guys just made plays on the ball when they had a chance. That’s what we wanted to see, was progress from our players. That’s exactly what they did yesterday, they made something happen.

“One of the big emphases was make something happen; ‘Don’t hope it happens or wish it happens. Make it happen.’ That’s what we did yesterday.’’

Gabbert, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft and the team’s starting quarterback in the last 24 games, completed his first two passes for 24 yards before leaving. He has completed 162 of 278 passes for 1,662 yards and nine touchdowns with six interceptions this season.

“I still think he’s progressed,” Mularkey said of Gabbert. “Blaine will handle it just like he has. On the sidelines (on Sunday), the No. 1 guy out on the field every time there was something positive happening was Blaine. He is totally into this thing, and this is no different. “

Mularkey compared the move to inserting Jalen Parmele into the running back position over Rashad Jennings.

“We’re just trying to find ways to see if we can be more productive, that’s all,” Mularkey said. “It’s no different.”

Overall, Mularkey said he liked the how the Jaguars played against the Texans. They produced a season-high 458 total yards and the four touchdowns were also a season-high offensively. The Texans, however, had 640 yards total offense – a franchise-record for yards allowed by the Jaguars – and quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 527 yards, the second-highest single-game total in NFL history.

 “I was very proud of the way they played,” Mularkey said. “I was very proud of their effort. It was outstanding. I liked the production we had on offense. Obviously, the production we had against us was high as well. We need to find a way to complement all three phases.

“I think if we start doing that, we have a chance to win more games.”

Also Monday:

*Mularkey gave players Monday off. They will have their normal day off Tuesday and return to practice Wednesday. “I thought they deserved it,” Mularkey said. “I thought they deserved some good. I think they’ve deserved some good for a number of weeks now and they haven’t really had anything happen in their favor. And I felt like with the way they prepared and they way they played and the effort they gave I just felt like, and plus an overtime game, I just think they needed that time off to themselves and come back Wednesday fresh ready for the Titans.”

*Running back Maurice Jones-Drew likely will miss Sunday’s game against Tennessee, Mularkey said. Jones-Drew has been out the last four games with a sprained foot and Mularkey said he is “very questionable” for Sunday. Also, cornerback Will Middleton is in the concussion program after sustaining a concussion Sunday.

*Mularkey said Parmele likely will start at running back Sunday against Tennessee. He played in place of Jennings Sunday, and gained 80 yards on 24 carries.

*Mularkey said the Jaguars will make a roster decision at the quarterback position later in the week.  If Gabbert isn’t available, Mularkey said activating John Parker Wilson from the practice squad is a possibility.

*Mularkey reiterated what he said Sunday about Blackmon, that the rookie wide receiver has been improving steadily in the weeks leading to Sunday. “I said for five weeks that this guy has come out and prepared extremely well,” Mularkey said. “Experience has really helped him, but his speed in practice – everything is fast. He’s running everything fast. That helps quarterbacks when it comes time to play. He got some throws where he got behind people and made some plays on it. He’s improving.”

*Mularkey said while Blackmon has been productive in the slot, he’s not necessarily better inside than outside. “He’s trying to get that down,” Mularkey said.

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