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2014 offseason: Henne not surprised by draft


JACKSONVILLE – Chad Henne knew what to expect.

But that wasn't the only reason he handled the Jaguars' 2014 NFL Draft this past weekend as he did, and wasn't the only reason he reacted to the team's selection of Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles No. 3 overall as he did – i.e., calmly, professionally.

Henne, the Jaguars' starting quarterback, said that was the only way to take it.

He has seen this show before. He has played a part in this show.

Henne knows above all else there's only so much he can control. On Tuesday, in his first public comments since the draft, he said those are the things on which he will focus.

"I knew it was going to be either a quarterback or a receiver," Henne said Tuesday. "They chose a quarterback. I knew it was coming. I didn't know they were going to take a quarterback (No. 3), but I knew it could happen.

"That's their decision, and I'm happy to have Blake here to work with me, compete with me and make me better."

Henne, speaking to local media in the Jaguars' locker room Tuesday, said he liked a lot about the Jaguars' draft, particularly that the team focused on an area that Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell indicated would be the case.

Caldwell throughout the offseason said the team had confidence in Henne, and that a focus would be to not only add playmaking ability to the receiving corps, but to stabilize the offensive line.

The Jaguars indeed selected Bortles No. 3 overall, but the focus turned to the aforementioned areas after that, with the team selecting Southern California wide receiver Marqise Lee with the No. 39 overall selection early in Round 2. They addressed receiver again 22 selections later, trading Selections No. 70 and 150 to the San Francisco to move to No. 61 for wide receiver Allen Robinson of Penn State.

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley early in the day on Jaguars Today on 1010XL said he liked the aggressiveness shown by the move. Henne certainly agreed.

"It's a great opportunity for some of these young guys to come in and play early," Henne said. "To have Lee and Robinson to come in and compete, it's a great opportunity for them. We look forward to getting them on the field to see what they can do. …

"Those guys are going to come in and learn and hopefully (wide receiver) Cecil (Shorts III) can teach them some things. I'll be in their meeting rooms as well. I'll be meeting with them one-on-one. I'll show them coverages and route adjustments. It's Day One. We'll get in the books."

Shorts said he, too, liked the addition of potential front-line receivers to the receiving corps.

"You want to have multiple weapons," Shorts said. "Bringing those guys in will help our offense and help our team."

The Jaguars also traded a fourth-and-sixth-round selection for a third-round selection that they used on Miami guard Brandon Linder, a player Bradley said Tuesday has a realistic chance to start at the right guard spot next season.

"What you have to love about it is that from Day One Dave said what he wanted to do, and he did exactly what he said," Henne said. "You respect him for doing that. There were some big holes to fill and I think he filled some of those holes. We'll see what we can do with those guys."

The Jaguars said upon drafting Bortles that Henne likely will remain the starter to start the season. That's what Caldwell and Bradley had said upon re-signing Henne shortly before the NFL's free agency period began in early March.

At the same time, Bortles will be the starter at some point in the not-to-distant future. That's a tricky situation, one Shorts and Bradley each said Tuesday Henne is particularly equipped to handle.

"I've been through it," Henne said. "I've been through a lot of quarterback competitions throughout my career. There only has been one year, I think, where I haven't had to compete and battle for that starting job, so I'm up for it. You set your ego aside and compete against yourself rather than the person next to you."

Henne said Bradley told him last week he planned to call him before and after the selection, "just to make sure." Henne told Bradley it wasn't necessary.

"I said, 'Gus, I know how this business is run and you're not hurting my feelings,'" Henne said, saying he also told Bradley, "You're doing what's best for the team. I'm not going to change the way I am. I'm going to compete each and every day. It's your decision in the end who you like."

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