HENNE THE BACKUP
Chad Henne remains the Jaguars' backup quarterback.
Henne, despite struggling at times in the team's two preseason games, is the team's backup and likely will remain that way, head coach Mularkey said Sunday.
"Right now, that's the way the depth chart is laying out," Mularkey said.
Henne has completed 8 of 18 passes for 64 yards in two preseason games, while third-team quarterback has completed 14 of 27 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Henne also has been intercepted once.
Henne signed with the team this past offseason to be the team's backup quarterback behind starter Blaine Gabbert. He started 31 games for Miami over the past three seasons.
"You have to realize that Chad has been playing with the second group a high percentage of the practices, and a high percentage of the preseason games," Mularkey said. "I wish we had the same level of talent on the first and second, but that's just not the way it is. That has something do with it.
"One thing about it is he (Henne) knows it, we know it, the staff knows it. He hasn't shown any frustration with it. He has been a great player in that locker room and on our team. I appreciate what he's done with the chances he's had to do it."
Palmer also has led the Jaguars to late go-ahead scores in a pair of preseason victories.
"It's who they're facing as well," Mularkey said. "Some people's twos are better than other people's twos and some people's threes are better than other people's threes. He (Palmer) has done a great job. He's brought the team back twice with great drives."
Mularkey said the Jaguars haven't yet decided whether to keep two or three quarterbacks on the final roster.
MONROE OUT OF PRACTICE
Eugene Monroe missed practice on Sunday.
Monroe, the Jaguars' starting left tackle, left practice last Wednesday after being hit in the head. He traveled to New Orleans, but did not play Friday. Mularkey said he is in the team's concussion assessment program and is being tested daily.
"When he passes, we'll move forward with him," Mularkey said.
Mularkey also said left guard Drew Nowak likely will miss Thursday's game at Baltimore with a sprained foot and that running back Keith Toston likely will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring strain. Each was injured against the Saints.
Mularkey said Nowak played much of the game with the injury.
"I knew he was struggling with it," Mularkey said. "I give him credit. That's an injury that's tough to anchor on."
"You're trying to build confidence in yourself, in what you're doing. They know we have work to do. But we're trying to build some confidence in our team and feel good about what we're doing. We've worked hard to earn that, but they all know we have work to do. We still have two weeks to do it."
WHAT WE SAW
The final practice of Jaguars Training Camp 2012 Sunday came under gray, rainy skies, and despite the slick conditions the passing offense continued to look improved and efficient. Gabbert threw one interception, but hit wide receiver Laurent Robinson on a long pass on the ensuing play. Rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon, two days after a four-reception, one-touchdown performance in his NFL debut, eschewed gloves despite the rain and still showed remarkable hands, catching passes securely in one-on-one and team drills. Cecil Shorts and Mike Thomas also had several catches from Gabbert throughout practice.
Training camp ended with Sunday afternoon's practice. The Jaguars will practice Monday and Tuesday, and all sessions now remain closed to the public. The Jaguars visit the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3 of preseason Thursday.
Consider Mularkey impressed. Mularkey said while watching the tape of Blackmon Friday against New Orleans there were things that stood out. One was that Blackmon not only caught four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown, but that, "A number of the catches he made are plays that are tough to defend." When discussing Blackmon, Mularkey brought up Tony Gonzalez, a player widely considered the NFL's best tight end over the last decade and a player with whom Mularkey worked in Atlanta the past three seasons. "I know why he catches so many balls," Mularkey said of Gonzalez. "He's tough to defend." Mularkey said in that sense, Blackmon is similar. "You have to play through his body to get to the ball," he said. "He has such strong hands." Mularkey, too, said he was impressed with Blackmon's concentration. "That's hard to do, to concentrate like that, especially in your first game," Mularkey said. "Playing in tight coverage like that, to snag it and do something after the catch. I was very pleased. I thought he did a great job." No one's saying that Blackmon is Gonzalez. Yet. But the more you see him, and the more you hear people talk about him, there is starting to be a pretty strong feeling that ceiling is very, very high.
*Offensive guard Will Rackley (high ankle sprain) worked in individual drills Sunday and could return for the final preseason game August 30, Mularkey said. Cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring) and linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) worked on the stationary bike, but likely won't play Thursday against Baltimore. John Estes (knee), defensive end Austen Lane (foot), fullback Brock Bolen (knee), guard Jason Spitz (foot) and cornerback Leigh Torrence (concussion program) also remained out of practice and aren't expected to play Thursday.
*Cornerback Rashean Mathis (knee) likely will play Thursday, Mularkey said. He could have played against New Orleans, but Mularkey didn't want to play him on the field turf in New Orleans. Mularkey said the status of cornerback Ashton Youboty (knee) for Thursday still isn't certain. "He's anxious to play," Mularkey said of Mathis. "We just felt like the risk-reward on it, even warming up – what were we going to gain from playing eight snaps?'' Mularkey said.
*Tight end Zach Miller (pec) returned to practice after missing the first two preseason games, and Mularkey said Miller likely will work when the team works in pads Monday. "When it's something like that, that's a freak thing, it's a little frustrating," Miller said. "But what can you do? You have to turn the page. It's improved over the last week and a half, so it's time to get out there rolling."
*Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton worked extensively with the first team Sunday, but Mularkey said there has been no change on the depth chart, where Knighton is listed as second team with Tyson Alualu and C.J. Mosley starting at tackle. "It's just a rotation," Mularkey said. "We have some depth on the d-line."
*The Jaguars have committed 18 penalties for 160 yards in two preseason games. "We have to cut down on the penalties," Mularkey said.
*The Jaguars have scored touchdowns on each of their first two preseason drives. But while Mularkey said he discusses fast starts with the team, he doesn't overemphasize it. "I'm cautious about that," he said, "because if you don't have one it's a negative. We'd like to do that, but I'm very cautious in how I present it to them."
*Mularkey said the Jaguars' tackling needs to improve defensively, and that that area has been discussed after each of the first two preseason games. He also said coverage on special teams remains an issue. That area, he said, will be tested Thursday in Baltimore, with the Ravens' philosophy on special teams being to return kicks no matter how deep they are into the end zone.