JACKSONVILLE – Blaine Gabbert’s not keeping daily score.
To hear Chad Henne tell it, he’s not approaching 2013 training camp that way, either. This whole quarterback competition isn’t decided on a day-by-day, play-by-play basis; rather, it will play out over time.
It’s not that the players involved aren’t aware that there’s this undecided matter of who will start for the Jaguars at quarterback in the regular season opener – and it’s not as if their coaches and teammates aren’t aware of it, too – but thinking of it? Obsessing over it?
Fans and media may do that, and in fact, they do.
The players involved do not.
“Everybody’s going to have their own opinion on who had the ‘better day,’” Gabbert said Monday following a two-and-a-half hour practice at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields adjacent to EverBank Field.
“The quarterbacks go out there with the same mindset day in and day out – protect the ball, make plays. You guys are going to declare a winner day in and day out, but that’s not the way we look at it. We look at it as, ‘Are we getting better every day? Did we try some new things out today? Did they work or not work?’
“We’re going deeper than, ‘Did we complete a hitch route?’ Yes, we want to complete routes, but at the same time, we want to test our guys.’’
PHOTOS OF DAY EIGHT OF JAGUARS TRAINING CAMP
Henne, asked after Saturday’s scrimmage at EverBank Field how he approached the competition, said, “It’s so early, and the best thing that we can evaluate is just trying to get better.”
That’s about all you get from either player, and through 10 days of camp, public comments about the situation have been minimal, with each player and their teammates echoing Head Coach Gus Bradley’s mantra that the entire Jaguars training camp is about competition.
There were indications Monday of a possible shift in the competition. Bradley praised Gabbert’s approach to Saturday’s scrimmage, and Gabbert worked exclusively with the first-team in team drills in practice Monday.
The team’s unofficial depth chart was released Monday, with Henne and Gabbert listed as co-No. 1 quarterbacks. Mike Kafka was listed as second-team quarterback.
Gabbert and Henne previously had shared split reps, with each essentially working with the first and second team equally. But as expected, Bradley on Monday didn’t declare Gabbert the leader, and Gabbert downplayed the first-team work after practice.
“I’m looking at every day, not counting reps or things of that nature,” Gabbert said. “I’m just trying to go out there with the same mindset.”
Teammates take the same approach, with one reason being there’s no reason to take any other approach.
“We have a job we have to focus on,” Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri said. “We don’t pay much attention to it at all. We can’t pay much attention to it. Whoever’s in there, we have to play. For us, it doesn’t really matter. We play with whoever we have at quarterback. It hasn’t been a point of emphasis.”
Said center Brad Meester, “I don’t even know how they rotate – series, practice. I snap to whoever’s back there. It’s not like one guy’s different from the other. They both take charge in the huddle and both do the job when they’re in there. There’s not a huge transition from one quarterback to the other.”
Also around the Jaguars Monday:
*The unofficial depth chart was a topic among fans, with Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon listed as starting receivers, and with Mike Brown, Ace Sanders, Toney Clemons, Tobais Palmer and Denard Robinson being listed with the second team. Mohamed Massaquoi was listed third team, as were Jeremy Ebert, Jordan Shipley and Jamal Miles.
*Robinson was listed as not only a second-team wide receiver, but third-team quarterback, third-team running back and second-team kickoff returner.
*Will Ta’ufo’ou was listed as the first-team fullback ahead of rookie free-agent Lonnie Pryor, and Maurice Jones-Drew was listed at first-team running back ahead of Justin Forsett, Johnathan Grimes and De’Leon Eskridge. Jordan Todman was listed with Robinson at third-team running back.
*Defensive end Jeremy Mincey is now in the NFL’s concussion program, the team announced. That means he will go through the “standardized concussion protocol designed by NFL physicians.” Mincey has been out of practice since sustaining a head injury Thursday.
*Defensive line coach Todd Wash said he likes how veteran Tyson Alualu has transitioned from defensive tackle to end. The No. 10 overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, Alualu moved to end this season after started 48 games at tackle in his first three seasons. “He’s flashed enough in rush,” Wash said. “We’re not asking him to be a big sack guy. We’re asking him to stop the run and be able to condense the pocket when he is in there. He’ll be able to get on an edge and be able to go get some tackles.”
*Bradley said pass rush will be a focus Friday against Miami. “That’s one area we need to take a look at and see just how much pressure we can get with a four-man rush on first and second down, but also on third down,” he said. “We need to evaluate that against another team.”
*Bradley likes what he has seen from veteran cornerback Alan Ball, who signed as a free agent in the offseason and is working with the starters opposite rookie Dwayne Gratz. “What I’ve learned about Alan Ball is he’s extremely competitive, extremely competitive,” Bradley said. “Since OTA’s till now, every day he comes out and he competes and for the most part he’s doing very well.”
*Bradley said safety Johnathan Cyprien is making progress, and could return early next week. The rookie second-round draft selection has been out of practice during camp on the reserve Non-Football Injury List with a hamstring injury. “He’s making good progress,” Bradley said. “There were a couple days where he stayed the same and now he’s improving again so we are guiding it towards early next week. . . . We’re being more cautious with him, with Cyprien. We want to make sure that this isn’t an injury that lingers on as a hamstring can, so we’re probably being more cautious with him, but hopefully early next week.”
*Bradley on second-year defensive end Andre Branch: “We’re continuing to challenge him. We need to feel him if he’s the rusher on the other side, but I know that he may at times get frustrated because it’s not coming as fast as he wants it. . . . You just stay true to it, keep going and they’ll come and that’s what we keep telling Andre.”