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The Day After, Part II: WR Cecil Shorts III support of QB Chad Henne unwavering


JACKSONVILLE – Cecil Shorts III left no doubt:

When it comes to the Jaguars' starting quarterback position, his faith in Chad Henne is unwavering and complete.

"Chad's my guy," Shorts said.

Shorts' comments came on an emotional day around the Jaguars following a 41-10 Sunday loss to the Washington Redskins. They also came shortly after Head Coach Gus Bradley said while coaches had yet to discuss personnel changes, he expects Henne will start this Sunday against Indianapolis.

While observers have speculated about when rookie Blake Bortles might start at quarterback for the Jaguars, Shorts on Monday lauded Henne in the wake of a game in when Henne was sacked 10 times and hit four others.

"Chad is a very, very tough guy," Shorts said. "He took a lot of hits yesterday. I have a lot of respect for Chad Henne. He is my quarterback, yes."

Henne completed 14 of 28 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown with an interception Sunday. Shorts said the criticism of Henne is coming "from people who don't know football."

"If you know football, if you get in the film room and understand what's going on, they'll say something else," Shorts said. "Now, if you're better than Chad, bring your butt here and play quarterback. You feel me? … There's more than what's on TV. It's bigger than that.

"Chad is my quarterback, period. Done deal."

The locker room overall Monday was emotional, with not only Shorts speaking passionately about Henne but defensive and offensive linemen discussing performances in Washington.

Bradley earlier in the afternoon told reporters that the defense during the Washington game missed 21 tackles and had 10 other missed assignments.

"You've got to know the plays," defensive tackle Roy Miller said. "We want to get to the point where we're playing and I can help out a guy if he makes a mistake. You can't do that if you don't know the plays by yourself. If you don't know where to lineup and you don't know where this guy's going on this play or that play, there's no way you can be dominant.

"Everybody's going to make a mistake here and there, but the part where a defense is going to be really good is when you can cover for another guy when he makes his mistake. That's the part we want to get to. I guess we have to start at the basic level."

Miller said he didn't want to use youth or experience level as an excuse.

"We just have to grow up quick," he said. "We all need to grow up. We all need to be more mature in this system. We have to learn how to play this defense right now, or we'll all be out of here. …

"Yeah, it's frustrating. Yeah, it sucks. You have to go home and look at your family and they're asking you what happened and somebody said this or that at school – that sucks. Nobody wants to deal with that. We have to get back to the table and find a way to get it done, no matter who it is.

"There are certain things we need to do in this defense, and it needs to happen every damn Sunday."

The Jaguars struggled offensively Sunday, too, with much focus on the offensive line. Not only did the Redskins sack Henne 10 times, they held the Jaguars to 25 yards rushing on 10 carries and 148 total yards.

"There are definitely things we have to correct, but nothing that we can't get done," offensive guard Zane Beadles said. "There's a level of, 'Let's get back to work and let's get this corrected as a group and stay together and get that done.'"

Beadles said the key for the offensive line is developing a mentality.

"You're going to get beat physically," Beadles said. "If you haven't been beat physically in this league, you haven't played. But it's the mentality, having a little bit of an edge, finishing plays, getting guys on the ground - that's what we need to do. We'll come out Wednesday and we'll start doing that."

Also around the Jaguars:

*Shorts, who has missed the first two games with a hamstring injury, said he is optimistic he will practice Wednesday. Shorts said he felt good sprinting Monday. "I'll give it a go Wednesday," he said. "A hamstring's a tricky thing. We'll deal with Wednesday's practice and go from there." …

*Rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns said he was relieved the ankle sprain he sustained on the Jaguars' final offensive play Sunday was not more severe. He is expected to be day-to-day this week. "It's not bad," Hurns said. "It could have been way worse, so at the end of the day I'm blessed." …

*Bradley said he didn't regret having the offense continue to throw down 31 points at the end of the game, even with Hurns sustaining the injury in the final two minutes. "The message to our team was we're going to compete every play," Bradley said. "It was an unfortunate deal that took place, but that's our mindset." …

*Tight end Clay Harbor said he plans to run Tuesday with the idea of being able to practice Wednesday. He has been out with a calf injury since before the preseason opener, and with Marcedes Lewis out six-to-eight weeks with a high-ankle sprain, newly acquired Mickey Shuler is the lone healthy tight end on the roster. "It's an all-or-nothing muscle," Harbor said of the calf. "It's getting better. It's not 100 percent, but I think it's getting to the point where I can do some explosive stuff." …

*Bradley said the Jaguars had a "really good team meeting" Monday in the wake of the loss to the Redskins. "We have a resilient group," he said. "They really understand. They understand the performance we had is not up to our standards. They understand we all need to be held accountable, themselves included. They take ownership on that. They want answers. I think they believe they know the answers. It's just a matter of doing it. The inconsistency is what's frustrating, that we play well at times, and then we don't." …

*Bradley said the wide receivers had double-digit mental errors Sunday, and that partly because of that the coaches will consider if they need to simplify the game plan. "It's a young group," Bradley said, "but it's no excuse. We're all in the NFL now, and the demands we place on them, they need to be able to handle that." The Jaguars started rookies Marqise Lee and Hurns Sunday, with rookie Allen Robinson also playing extensively. "We've already cut back quite a bit," Bradley said.

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