JACKSONVILLE – Chad Henne reacted calmly.
He reacted professionally, too – which is what you would expect from a quarterback with Henne's NFL experience.
Henne on Saturday morning learned Blake Bortles would be the Jaguars' starting quarterback Week 1 of the regular season. The news came from Head Coach Doug Marrone, ending a competition between Henne and Bortles for the starting job that began a week and a half ago.
"I kind of understand this business after 10 years," Henne said Saturday afternoon before the Jaguars' practice at Daily's Place Flex Field adjacent to EverBank Field.
"We'll see what happens in the future. I still have to be prepared to start at any time."
Marrone speaking to the media earlier in the day cited Bortles' ability to extend plays as a reason for the decision.
"Basically, it was just the escape-ability of Blake and being able to move outside the pocket, which I totally get," Henne said. "For me, it's just keep plugging away and be excited about my opportunity and what my role is and still be ready to play."
Henne, who started 24 games from 2012-2014 for the Jaguars, has been the team's backup since Bortles took over as the starter in Week 4 of 2014. Bortles started the first two 2017 preseason games before Marrone told both quarterbacks the job was "up for grabs" following the Jaguars' loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Preseason Week 2.
Henne completed eight of 14 passes for 73 yards in five first-half series against Carolina, but was sacked three times. Bortles completed 12 of 16 passes for 125 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but was not sacked and had a 9-yard scramble.
Henne on Saturday was asked about the three sacks.
"Maybe I could have stepped up," Henne said of the three sacks. "I think there's just one out there where maybe I just probably throw the ball away. Some of them came on quick that I had no opportunity. But, yeah, when the time, comes I can move outside of the pocket."
Notes and observations from Saturday:
*The Jaguars appear to be closer to full health. Wide receiver Marqise Lee, who has missed the last two preseason games with an ankle injury, returned to practice Saturday after speaking optimistically a week before about being ready for Week 1. "It's an injury that we thought was worse at that time," Lee said Saturday. "After we got the MRI and went through a couple of days, it wasn't so bad." Also practicing for the Jaguars after missing Thursday against Carolina: running back Leonard Fournette, cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook. Defensive tackle Michael Bennett, wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr., cornerback Doran Grant, fullback Marquez Williams, center Brandon Linder, guard Earl Watford, tight end Mychal Rivera and running back T.J. Yeldon missed practice or worked on the side. …
*Lee was among several Jaguars players discussing Bortles on Saturday, saying it's a positive that the decision was made now rather than waiting until later in the week. "We've got the opportunity now to work toward the first game, the first week," Lee said. "That's the best part about it. It was quite hectic around here with that thing going on and things like that. As far as us, it didn't really affect us. Us as receivers we've got to go out there and play." Lee added of Bortles, "He had flaws here and there, but at the end of the day I feel like he can go out there and make it happen."
*Tight end Marcedes Lewis, in his 12th NFL season the team's most-tenured veteran, was among Jaguars players Saturday who said they were impressed with how Bortles handled himself during the last week and a half. "Sometimes you're challenged as a man," Lewis said. "In this game, pride is huge, right? How you deal with it is going to determine who you're going to be as a person for the rest of your life, not just on the field but off the field. … I think it was huge the way he handled it. … I was over on the side looking at Blake every day just to see how he handled it and he handled it like a man. Ultimately him going in there and doing his thing this last preseason game and playing fairly well is what got him to where he is right now." …
*Bortles: "Anytime something like this happens, regardless of what position you play, I think it does something to you. I don't necessarily know how to describe it because it's not something you would want to happen. It's not an ideal situation, so it's a bit of adversity, but it's like any other bump in the road: it's something (where) you can take it on and overcome it to the best of your ability, or you can kind of just roll over and give up, so I think you have two avenues to choose from." …