JACKSONVILLE – Here's this week's Wednesday wrap up.
Each Wednesday morning during the 2013 regular season, jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser will set the stage for the Jaguars' Wednesday media access by previewing major topics facing the team that day. Each Wednesday afternoon/evening, he will break down what was learned from Jaguars players and coaches that day.
Here's the wrap up of Wednesday's five topics as the Jaguars prepare for the Denver Broncos . . .
1. Henne's time again?The Jaguars likely will have a new starting quarterback for the fourth time since the start of the regular season, with Chad Henne expected to start Sunday for Blaine Gabbert, who did not practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury. The Jaguars have moved offensively slightly more consistently with Henne in the lineup this season, and Henne on Sunday led the Jaguars to a field goal and a late touchdown drive. Henne is 1-8 as a starter with the Jaguars, and wide receiver Cecil Shorts III said one positive for the offense this week is that because Henne has played and practiced so often with the first-team there is no adjustment process when he enters the starting lineup. "Chad's played a lot the last two years, and we have a lot with him in practice, so it's not a big deal at all," Shorts said. "We're confident in him."
2. How to stop Peyton?The statistics are eye-popping and will be repeated often this week. Peyton Manning, a four-time Most Valuable Player, has had the best five-game start of any quarterback in NFL history, throwing for 20 touchdowns, one interception and 1,884 yards. The 20 touchdowns and his 136.4 passer rating are the best in league history through five games. "The thing with Peyton is he's so smart," Jaguars defensive coordinator Bob Babich said. "Obviously he does a great job of finding out exactly how a defense wants to attack him and those type things. You want to try to do things to try to stop that a little bit with maybe some disguises or blitzes. The younger you are obviously the tougher it becomes, but what we're going to do is we're going to go out and use our fundamentals and see where it takes us."
3. Their time, full time.Rookies Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans, the starters at safety the last two games, are now the permanent starting safety tandem. That became official Wednesday, when Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said veteran safety Dwight Lowery likely will be waived from the injured-reserve list when healthy. Lowery was placed on injured reserve with a concussion Tuesday. Evans started the last two games in place of Lowery. "They are rookies, but we've been very pleased with their development," Babich said. "They're young guys that are extremely athletic and they're playing extremely hard. And they're making mistakes, don't get me wrong, but at the same time they're making plays so the more they play the better they're going to get."
4. Their time, too – full time, too.While Austin Pasztor and Cameron Bradfield likely aren't the Jaguars' offensive tackle tandem of the future, they'll be on the outside of the offensive line for the present. With Eugene Monroe having been traded to Baltimore last week, and with Luke Joeckel out for the season with a fractured ankle, the Jaguars now have Bradfield/Pasztor – a pair of former undrafted free agents – at tackle instead of a pair of Top 10 selections. Neither allowed a sack against the Rams last week, though Bradfield allowed two hits and two quarterback hurries. Bradfield made his first career start at left tackle in 2011, but his last 13 starts came at right tackle, with 12 coming last season. "It's not really that different than right tackle," Bradfield said. "It's different footwork, but I'm up for the challenge. We'll see what happens Sunday."
5. Up against it.The Broncos are huge favorites Sunday, which considering their 5-0 record and the Jaguars' 0-5 record makes sense. The Jaguars are ranked 32nd in the NFL in offense and 22nd in defense, with the Broncos ranked No. 1 in offense and 29th in defense. "I've been an underdog my whole life," Maurice Jones-Drew said. "That doesn't mean anything. We're going to go out there and play the way we play. We've gotten better each week and we want to continue doing that."