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Inside the Jaguars: Henne OK with Gabbert starting at Jets


JACKSONVILLE – This thing is far from done.

Because Blaine Gabbert knows this, and because Chad Henne does, too, there once again was little reaction or teeth-gnashing when Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley announced Thursday afternoon that Gabbert will start the second game of the 2013 preseason.

Big news?  A game-changer in the competition?

No way. At least not yet.

"The competition isn't over," Gabbert said in the Jaguars' EverBank Field locker room Thursday shortly after Bradley told reporters of the decision. "We're still going to go out there and compete every day, and that's how it's going to be throughout the entire season."

Bradley said Thursday's decision does not mean Gabbert will start the regular-season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, and Bradley also said the competition for the starting quarterback job remains open.

"I know conventional wisdom tells us that we start one quarterback and then the other one starts," Bradley said. "There are a lot of things that we do that aren't conventional and I know maybe some of you felt that way but to us it made sense in our evaluation process."

Of what Thursday's announcement meant to the overall quarterback competition, Bradley said, "This isn't any determining factor. We're still figuring the whole thing out."

Gabbert started the preseason opener against Miami, playing 17 plays and completing 5 of 10 passes for 19 yards and an interception. Henne played 22 plays, completing 8 of 11 passes for 87 yards and directing the Jaguars' lone scoring drive in a 27-3 loss.

Bradley said he discussed the decision to start Gabbert with Henne, and Henne said shortly thereafter he understood Bradley's decision.

"He pretty much explained that he has a plan," Henne said. "I'll be No. 2 in the game, and for me, it's in his control. All I can control is what I do on the field and how I compete and lead the offense. Nothing has really changed for me. . . .

"They have a plan. Blaine and I are just following that plan."

Henne was asked if he worried that the plan was to start Gabbert whatever happens in the preseason.

"That's their choice," he said. "For me, I can't worry about that. All I can do is just keep playing, try to play well and show I can lead this team."

Bradley said the reason for starting Gabbert was a desire to see give the third-year veteran repetitions.

"We feel like he needs the reps right now considering he missed six games last year at the end," Bradley said. "He got seventeen snaps in the opener and we just felt like we'd like to increase it this week so we get a better chance to evaluate where he's at."

Said Gabbert, "I'm just looking at it as another opportunity to go out there and prove to the coaches, and prove to the guys on our team that I'm the right guy for the position. It's also another opportunity to learn our offense, another chance to work against a different defense, and to perfect some things we've been working on all week."

Bradley said as was the case last week, both Henne and Gabbert will play Friday with the first-team offensive linemen and receivers. He also said each player could get more repetitions than last week.

"It's very important and I think some of the guys will be in there with me again Saturday night and we'll take full advantage of it," Henne said. "I know (wide receiver) Justin (Blackmon) is going to be back so it'll be exciting to have him back a little bit and (running back) Maurice (Jones-Drew) will be in there.

"It'll be good to have those guys back and in the swing of things and we hope to try and take advantage of it."

Also on Thursday:

*Bradley said wide receiver Cecil Shorts III (calf), linebacker Russell Allen (ankle), defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick (groin), right tackle Luke Joeckel (hip), running back Justin Forsett (toe), cornerback Jeremy Harris (back) and tight end Isaiah Stanback (groin) will not play Friday. . . .

*Rookie free agent LaRoy Reynolds will start for Allen at strong-side linebacker, and then also get repetitions at middle linebacker, Bradley said, adding that third-year veteran Cameron Bradfield will start in place of Joeckel. . . .

*Rookie safety Johnathan Cyprien is expected to start after missing the preseason opener while on the non-football injury list, and Blackmon is expected to play after being on the Physically Unable to Perform list in the preseason opener. Bradley said Blackmon likely will not start. "We're still cautious with him," Bradley said. Bradley said Cyprien will play fewer repetitions than the other starters. . . .

*Cyprien, the Jaguars' second-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, on his first NFL start: "The No. 1 thing right now is just getting reps, and being out there in actual game situations. I do feel like I belong, and that I can hold my own. I'm just ready for the preseason games to translate what we in practice and get in game situations."

*Bradley also confirmed that Jones-Drew will play after missing the preseason opener. "He's not going to play a whole game or anything like that but we'll see how the count goes as the game goes on," Bradley said.

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