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Inside the Jaguars: QBs OK splitting reps against Miami


JACKSONVILLE – The reactions were as uneventful as they were similar.

Blaine Gabbert will start at quarterback in the preseason opener, which means Chad Henne will not, and as expected, there was neither jubilation nor dejection from either player.

"My mindset's not going to change," Gabbert said Thursday shortly after Head Coach Gus Bradley told reporters Gabbert will start against the Miami Dolphins in the 2013 preseason opener at EverBank Field Friday at 7:30 p.m.

"I always expect to start football games, but at the same time, competition is always going to be the theme of this organization. You never take things for granted. You just have to go out and prove yourself day in and day out."

Gabbert and Henne have split repetitions throughout training camp, with each playing with the first- and second-team offense equally. Bradley said while Gabbert will start Friday, Henne will get plays with the first-team offensive line.

"We just felt that would give them both an opportunity," Bradley said. "Obviously, Blaine will get more reps with the first offensive line than Chad, but Chad will get some in there and finish up with his remaining reps with the second group."

Henne, who started the final six games of last season after Gabbert – who started the first 10 games – sustained a season-ending injury, said he was fine with the decision.

"There's no disappointment," Henne said. "We're still going to have the offensive line in there. It's just taking advantage of your opportunities and making the most of what you have out there. Our job is to score points. It doesn't matter who's in there. . . .

"It's preseason. Nobody's decided anything in preseason yet, there's still competition here. I'm just excited about my opportunity to get out on the field."

Bradley also said he didn't discuss repetitions with either player.

"We're not counting reps," Gabbert said. "We're going to out there and get our job done, get in some quality work and whatever happens happens."

Bradley said he wants to see the quarterbacks remain consistent in their approach from training camp into preseason.

"Are they competing the same way they did in practice, are they changing personalities in practice to the game?" he said. "We know there's going to be some timing and things like that that we have to work out so we have to look at the big picture and just how they handle the huddle, how they handle situations, how they control the team and the clock, so there's a wide variety of things that we're looking at, not just completions and attempts. There's going to be some timing issues with our guys that hopefully as the game goes on get better."

Bradley said the coaches hadn't yet discussed whether to start Henne in the second preseason game next week against New York. He had said earlier there was a chance Gabbert and Henne could start in the preseason. Henne, for his part, said he still considered the competition very much undecided.

"It's definitely open for competition," Henne said. "He (Gus Bradley) hasn't declared anything yet, so until we hear something then we're just going to go out and compete each and every day and take advantage of our opportunities."

Also around the Jaguars Thursday:

*Jaguars offensive linemen said they look forward to the challenge of playing against a Miami front that features Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Randy Starks. The Jaguars revamped the offensive line in the offseason, selecting Luke Joeckel No. 2 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft to play right tackle. "It will give us a great opportunity to go out and play an extended period of time together," guard Uche Nwaneri said. "With their front four, it's going to be a good challenge. It will give us a chance to measure how far we've come."

*With Maurice Jones-Drew not playing as a precautionary measure and with Justin Forsett out with a toe sprain, Jordan Todman will start against Miami, Bradley said. He said rookie Denard Robinson will play multiple roles as he has in training camp, when he has lined up at running back, wide receiver and quarterback.

*Bradley on Maurice Jones-Drew not playing against Miami: "We just feel like he's making good progress, but still has to work on conditioning. He's going in the right direction but we felt that was needed for his recovery and for his continued progress, and we want to be smart with him and not force anything. We're pleased with where he's at right now and excited about it and it's good."

*Bradley continued to talk positively about fourth-year veteran defensive end Tyson Alualu's move from tackle to end. Bradley said he likes Alualu as a "six-technique," or end, in the scheme, and said defensive line coach Todd Wash remains optimistic about Alulau in the scheme. "He's a big body, which we like," Bradley said. "Usually, when you get somebody really big out there you give a little bit on the athleticism, but we feel Tyson has some athleticism and without giving up the stoutness that we need at that position. It's better to put him on a tight end and give us more stoutness there and we get a little bit better athlete than we thought in the first place."

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