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Inside the Jaguars: Henne to start

Posted Oct 23, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars HC Gus Bradley rejoins team, names Chad Henne starting quarterback for Sunday.

BAGSHOT, England – Gus Bradley rejoined the Jaguars Wednesday.

A short while after he did, he confirmed what quarterback Chad Henne figured earlier that day probably was the case – that Henne will start against the 49ers on Sunday.

Blaine Gabbert, a third-year veteran who started the regular-season opener but who has been out the last two games, practiced full Wednesday for the first time since sustaining a hamstring injury on October 6 against St. Louis.

Henne will start against San Francisco, Bradley said, with Gabbert active as the backup for the first time this season.

“We feel good about what Chad has done the last few weeks,” Bradley said Wednesday afternoon as the Jaguars (0-7) prepared to play the 49ers (5-2) at Wembley Stadium in London, England, Sunday at 1 p.m.

“We want to continue to build on that and see where it takes us.”

Bradley, in his first season as the Jaguars’ head coach, said he regretted not having a chance to talk with each player before making the announcement, but he couldn’t because he was away from the team until Wednesday following the death of his father Sunday.

“I’ll get that chance,” he said. “I’ll get that opportunity to talk to them.”

Bradley said the quarterback situation was discussed Sunday night and Monday.

“We took a look at it and there were some good things Chad did,” Bradley said. “We want to continue to build on that.”

Bradley, whose father, Roy James Bradley died Sunday at the age of 85, rejoined the team shortly into its practice on the Pennyhill Park Hotel grounds shortly after 2 p.m. London time on Wednesday. Secondary coach DeWayne Walker served as interim coach Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

“I know it felt really good for me to be back,” Bradley said. “When you’re in situations like this, it’s good to be around people you care about. I was fortunate to be around people I care about Monday, then to be back here and be around people I know I care deeply about, it feels really good.

“I think it’s the next step in this whole process, so it’s really good.”

Jaguars players applauded Bradley as he arrived at practice Wednesday.

“Coach Bradley to us does such an unbelievable job leading us and being our head man,” Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “He has our full support and he knows that. The thing about the situation is when he comes back we want to make sure that he knows that we’re going to give everything that we can for him.

“We’re going to play to the best of our abilities because that’s what he’s given us - his best every day, day after day. And we just want to show our appreciation for that in return.”

Said tight end Marcedes Lewis, “Obviously Gus and his family, our prayers go out to him. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. We’ve taken it to heart and it’s been tough because he gives so much of himself to the organization and to this football team that sometimes you kind of forget about real life and families. Overall it’s a little more than just a business trip now.”

Bradley said he learned of his father’s passing around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night, and struggled at first with whether or not to leave the team to be with his family in Minnesota. He said eventually Owner Shad Khan and General Manager David Caldwell made the decision for him.

He flew to Minnesota before flying to London aboard Khan’s plane Wednesday.

“When we put this whole thing together, with Dave and Shad going through the interview process, we talked about developing a culture,” Bradley said. “They taught me a lot about culture in situations that our family has gone through.

“How they stepped up, not only Shad and Dave and Tony (Khan) and those guys, but our whole team – the support has been off the charts. Our family really appreciates it.”

PHOTO GALLERY

Also around the Jaguars:

*Wide receivers Justin Blackmon (hamstring/groin) and Cecil Shorts III (shoulder/SC joint) did not practice Wednesday, resting injuries each played through this past Sunday. Bradley said he expects each player will play on Sunday, and Shorts said while he still feels pain from the injury that occurred in Denver on October 13 he will play Sunday…

*Defensive end Jeremy Mincey and wide receivers Ace Sanders and Stephen Burton were cleared to play Sunday and practiced full Wednesday. All had been in the concussion program….

*Center Brad Meester and defensive end Jason Babin had veteran days off Wednesday….

*Lewis said while he wasn’t 100 percent Sunday, he felt strong playing through the calf injury that kept him out of five of the first six games. Lewis said he played about 50-to-55 plays with no setbacks. “I felt it tighten up here and there, but I think that was just the fatigue and I expected that to happen,” Lewis said. “I’m just going to stack another one on and continue to get better. I was able to finish the game and play a significant amount of plays. It wasn’t like I went in at certain packages, I was in there every down when I could be and came out good.”…

*Henne said staying outside of London in Bagshot will help with the focus this week. “This keeps it all in one spot and you don’t really have to worry about the hoopla,” he said. “We can just go watch film, continue our preparation for practice and really block out everything from the outside.” …

*Henne also said future London trips should be easier with experience. Following 2013, the Jaguars are scheduled to play a home game in London each of the next three seasons. “Everybody will be accustomed to the travel and what day we’ll leave, where we’re staying and what we actually have out here for the future,” Henne said. “It will definitely be beneficial for our team being out here this year and continuing the next four years.”

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