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Training Camp 2013: Plan in place for QB competition


JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley left little doubt Tuesday about his stance on the quarterbacks.

"It's an open competition," he said.

Next question?

Actually, there are many. Will third-year veteran Blaine Gabbert indeed start? Is it his job to lose in the preseason? Can Chad Henne, or even Mike Kafka, win the job?

All are real, pressing issues, and Bradley – three days before Day One of his first training camp as the Jaguars' head coach – reiterated his offseason-long stance that they are questions that will be answered in the coming weeks, as the Jaguars go through 2013 training camp in Downtown Jacksonville.

"We've had competition battles throughout our team, and I'm really protective of that," Bradley said. "I want that throughout our team at every position."

Bradley said that absolutely pertained to quarterback.

Gabbert, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, started 14 games as a rookie and 10 before a season-ending injury last season. Henne, a starter in Miami from 2008-2011, started the final six games last season, and the two shared repetitions with the first and second team during the offseason program.

The Jaguars claimed Kafka off waivers from Philadelphia late in the offseason program, and after the release Monday of rookie free agent Jordan Rodgers, Gabbert, Henne, Kafka and rookie free-agent Matt Scott remain on the roster entering camp.

Bradley on Tuesday declined to offer specifics about how repetitions will be divided during training camp practices, and said the division between Gabbert, Henne, Kafka and rookie free agent Matt Scott may not be equal.

"I can tell you this: they're all going to be facing the same situations," Bradley said. "They're all going to get chances in the red zone. They'll get their chances in the two-minute situations. They'll get their chances in seven-on-seven. I don't know how close it will be to equal, but I know they all will be given chances to compete.

"I think we have a plan in place as far as the quarterback situation."

Bradley said he doesn't have a clear-cut timetable or formula for determining the starter.

"I'll just trust my gut, along with the help of other coaches, that when the time is right we'll make that decision," he said.

Bradley said he believes the quarterbacks are excited about the competition, and that he expects it to be "a lot of fun."

"We're going to evaluate not only the good times, but the struggles – to see how they bounce back and lead our team," Bradley said. "I look forward to watching it all play out. It's not something at this point in time I'm stressed about."

Bradley said there's a possibility Henne and Gabbert each could start at least one preseason game, and that he will allow the process to play out.

"I know there's a time we're going to have to make a decision," he said. "Hopefully, it's not something we do right before the season. Hopefully, we'll have it play out earlier than that, but that's yet to be seen.

Also around the Jaguars Tuesday:

*Gabbert said the competition with Henne is friendly, "but when we step across the white line, it's game on. We both know that. Everybody on the football team knows that because everybody is fighting for a job."

*Henne said his goal is to help the team whatever the outcome of the competition. "Don't get me wrong," he said. "I want to be the starter and I want to help this team win and do the best I can, but I'm a team guy. Whatever my role is, whether I'm a starter or a backup, or whatever it is, my goal is to come in here, be the best person, be me, and help this team win in the end."

*Bradley addressed the ideal camp mindset. "The three most dangerous words in the NFL are 'I got it,'" Bradley said. "We stay away from those words. We want our players, coaches, the whole organization to have the mindset that we ain't ever 'got it.' We're going to compete in everything that we do."

*Bradley said that all running backs will get reps, no matter the status of Maurice Jones-Drew. "We're going to involve a lot of players," he said. "If we can find some playmakers, we're going to find a way to get them on the field."

*Bradley said of moving camp practices to morning, "The whole reason behind this is to really get our players off their feet, and to really take care of them." Practices are scheduled to begin at 9:55 a.m. and run until around noon each day. The team will have longer afternoon meetings, beginning at 2 p.m. and ending around 5:30 p.m. before an on-field walkthrough. "We think it's going to be an advantage for us," Bradley added. "We're looking for extended recovery time."

--Bradley said he consulted a number of head coaches regarding camp schedules, including former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora, the current Seattle staff, Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman and Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.

*Gabbert addressed his experience at the recent Manning Passing Academy, where he spoke with University of Miami quarterback Stephen Morris, who worked under Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch the last three seasons. "It was funny just talking about it (the Jedd Fisch offense); it's very similar," Gabbert said. "We've watched so much Miami tape because their offense is so similar to what we run now. The base principles of our offenses are the same."

*Henne said he enjoyed seeing the interaction of Jaguars receivers Mike Brown, Jordan Shipley and Cecil Shorts III with Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter during the group's recent visit to Larry Fitzgerald's camp at the University of Minnesota. "Some of the things he was telling them as a player, how to run this and that, was really good stuff," Henne said. "It was time well spent."

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