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Open Locker Room: QB Chad Henne remains focused on being the starter

Posted Aug 25, 2014

Jaguars QB Chad Henne: “If we play well and we win games, then (I) stay in. If I don’t, then things will happen.”


JACKSONVILLE – Chad Henne doesn’t know what will happen Thursday.

That means he doesn’t know how long he and other Jaguars starters will play in the preseason finale, or even if they will. That’s to be decided by the coaching staff Tuesday.

Henne does know what will happen after – that he will start the season as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback.

“(Jaguars Head Coach) Gus (Bradley) and I have sat down many times, and he has said I’m the guy,” Henne said Monday afternoon as the Jaguars (1-2 in the preseason) prepared to face the Falcons (1-2) in the 2014 preseason finale at EverBank Field Thursday at 6 p.m.

Because he knows that, and because the Jaguars are committed to the seven-year veteran starting the regular season, Henne said the ongoing discussion among observers over the team’s quarterback situation isn’t something about which he thinks much.

“Until they tell me otherwise, I just go out there and prepare like I’m the starter and play well,” said Henne, who has completed 25 of 38 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions in three preseason starts. “I understand my spot. If we play well and we win games, then (I) stay in. If I don’t, then things will happen. All I can control is game-by-game and how I go out there and play.”

Bortles, 28 of 35 for 435 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in three preseason games, completed 10 of 17 passes for 158 and threw his first touchdown pass in a loss to Detroit Friday. Because of his development, the idea that Bortles – the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft – could start has been a daily topic among fans and observers.

Bradley has been consistent in saying that Henne will start the season, and said Monday the reason is simple.

“We just have a lot of faith in Chad,” Bradley said, adding, “I think that Chad (Henne) is doing really well. He’s very efficient. We talked about it yesterday: the efficiency, the command of the offense, the different looks that he’s seeing and the adjustment that he makes. I think the whole package.

“We’re really pleased with both of them. I think Chad has been really efficient and Blake is progressing nicely. We want to continue that with both of them.”

Bradley said the team likes the progress Bortles has made as a backup and that the plan is for Bortles to get first-team practice repetitions once the regular season begins.

“We’re hoping to create an environment where we see fast progress by him, where things are coming faster to him,” Bradley said. “We believe that’s happening for him. He’s not there yet, but we think we can continue it.”

Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III said Monday teammates have confidence in either player.

“We can’t control it,” Shorts said. “We have no say in that. We know Chad Henne is our starter and we love Chad. Chad is a smart, savvy quarterback. He’s a veteran and he has been in the league a long time. He’ll do great things this year. I think he’ll be very good this year for us.”

Tight end Marcedes Lewis agreed.

“Look, I honestly think people are talking about Bortles because he’s a top pick, a rookie, they want to see him play right away,” Lewis said. “But we have a plan. That’s something management has said from the beginning, and we’re working that plan. Fortunately, we have two quarterbacks playing at a very high level. They’re pushing each other and continuing to get better. We’re fortunate to be in that situation.

“We understand that Chad is our leader, and Blake is right there behind him. It’s good for Blake because he’s able to relax and learn from a guy who’s going to help teach him and Chad is a consummate pro. We’re fortunate for that situation.”

Also around the Jaguars:

*Shorts said he feels good in his return from a hamstring injury that kept him out much of training camp and the first two games of the preseason. Shorts played about 15 plays against Detroit Friday. “I came out (of the game) good,” Shorts said. “I’ve had two practices this week and I’m still feeling good, so I’m excited.” …

*The Jaguars on Monday waived/injured defensive back Deion Belue and waived wide receiver Lamaar Thomas and running back Terrance Cobb. The roster now is at 76 players, with one more roster move needed to reach the NFL limit of 75 by Tuesday at 4 p.m. …

*Henne on playing time for Thursday night: “Gus hasn’t told me, but I’m assuming that I’ll go in there and play a couple series or whatever he wants. My job is just to be prepared and take advantage of the opportunity.”

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