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Open Locker Room: Jaguars QB Chad Henne says winning the key


JACKSONVILLE – Cyp is back.

And when the Jaguars play the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 regular-season home opener Sunday, there will be changes along the offensive line …

But not at quarterback.

Starting safety Johnathan Cyprien, who missed last Sunday's loss to Washington with a concussion, has been cleared to practice on Wednesday and play Sunday against the Colts – and news came Wednesday, too, that rookie center Luke Bowanko and veteran right tackle Sam Young will start on Sunday.

Those were major stories around the Jaguars early Wednesday, with news also emerging that quarterback Chad Henne will remain the starter Sunday.

Henne said shortly after noon that he understands that winning and playing well will be critical to him remaining the starter.

"The winning's the most important," Henne said Wednesday as the Jaguars prepared to play host to the Colts at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

"If you start winning, you stay in. If you keep losing, and the offense isn't going where it's supposed to be going, I understand there's going to be a switch being made. I'm fully aware of that. My job is to get everybody on the same page and try to exploit this offense."

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Monday he anticipated Henne starting on Sunday, but had added that in the wake of a 31-point loss to Washington, coaches would reevaluate everything and that personnel decisions for the Colts game hadn't been discussed. He had said at the time there could be changes on offense, defense and special teams.

The Jaguars could potentially start four rookies Sunday – center Bowanko, guard Brandon Linder and wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. Rookie tight end Marcel Jensen, signed off the practice squad, could start if the team opens in a two-tight end set.

But Fisch said the idea of starting Henne wasn't necessarily about worrying about rookie backup Blake Bortles' inexperience in that situation.

"I don't think we're worried about necessarily setting him (Bortles) up for failure," offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said. "I think we're just worried about making sure we don't blame for Chad for something maybe Chad wasn't responsible for."

Said Henne, "I think at times I'm doing as much as I can. I'm not saying I'm playing overly great out there. I'd say I'm playing better than I have in the past and I'm doing some really good things, audibling, getting in the right plays, making plays out there. But there's always room for improvement.

"The biggest thing is we need to win. I understand that."

Cyprien, who sustained a concussion in the regular-season opener September 7 in Philadelphia, was cleared through the NFL's concussion program early this week.

"I've been itching for a while, so I'm happy to be back out there and start practicing this week," said Cyprien, a second-year veteran and starter in 15 games last season. "I trust in the system, but at the end of the day, when it comes to your head, you have to know yourself. It's on you ultimately to be honest with the doctors and go through the whole process."

Bowanko, a sixth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft from Virginia, worked his way up the depth chart in training camp, working with the starters at times late in the preseason as the team searched for a starting center. Jacques McClendon started the first two games at the position.

But the offensive line on Sunday allowed 10 sacks, with Bowanko replacing McClendon late in the game.

"They're looking for results, and that's the nature of the business," Bowanko said. "You have to perform. Just by giving me the promotion by no means says anything one way or the other. I have to perform. It's unfortunate, but it is part of the business. I've had my fair share of being on that end and everyone will. It's just the way it works."

Young replaced veteran Cameron Bradfield in the lineup late Sunday. Bradfield, who had started the first two games of the season in place of starter Austin Pasztor, was released on Tuesday.

"You have to be ready when you're number is called and when the opportunity presents itself," Young said. "Cam was a great friend and an even better teammate. I know I learned a lot from him."

Pasztor is expected to practice Wednesday with a protective club on his hand, and said Wednesday he hasn't given up on the idea of playing Sunday.

"I would never give up on something like that," Pasztor said. "I want to play. That's the way I think."

Also on Wednesday:

*Wide receiver Tavarres King is scheduled to practice with the team for the first time since signing from the Carolina Panthers' practice squad Tuesday. The Jaguars signed King with rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns, a starter in the first two games, expected to be day to day. "I'm coming in here with my head down and my tail up," King said. "I'm excited about the opportunity, which is to help this team anyway I can, whether it's special teams or making plays offensively. The challenge for me is to get the playbook down."

*Tight end Marcel Jensen is expected to practice for the first time as a member of the active roster. He was signed from the Jaguars' practice squad Tuesday after the team placed veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis on the injured reserve-designated to return list, meaning Lewis can't play a game until November 23. Fisch on Wednesday said Jensen and recently acquired Mickey Shuler would start if the Jaguars open in two tight-end sets and that each will play extensively.

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