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2014 OTAs: Henne remains steady

Posted Jun 12, 2014

Jaguars QB Chad Henne after nine days of 2014 OTAs: “I think each and every day we improved. There are some really good things going on out there.”


JACKSONVILLE – Chad Henne feels a little quicker.

When Henne says that, he means quicker in areas that matter in quarterbacking. Some are mental and a lot are physical. Decisions, release, etc.

As a result, with the end of organized team activities in sight – and the end of Henne’s first offseason as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback in sight, too – Henne feels he is better now than a month ago.

That was the objective, and in that sense, OTAs have been productive.

“Overall, it’s been good,” Henne said Thursday following the ninth of 10 scheduled Jaguars OTA practices at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.

“I think each and every day we improved. There are some really good things going on out there.”

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley has been consistent in his praise of Henne in the three weeks of OTAs, mainly because Bradley said Henne has been very, very consistent.

“I think he just has a comfort level,” Bradley said earlier this week. “Not too comfortable where he’s still not challenging himself, competing and striving for things, but he’s in a good place right now. He’s really stacked up some good practices.”

Bradley said part of what has been impressive about Henne is his willingness and ability to help rookie Blake Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Henne is starting and is expected to start next season, with the Jaguars’ plan to allow Bortles to develop and start when ready. Bradley said Henne has shown increased confidence in his second year in coordinator Jedd Fisch’s offense, and because of that, he has been able to help Bortles.

“He’s been very helpful to Blake,” Bradley said.

Each quarterback looked sharp throughout most of Thursday’s practice. With the wide receivers corps healthier than it has been since Week One of OTAs, Bortles had perhaps his best day of practice with the Jaguars, completing 13-of-15 passes in team work Thursday.

“He did a nice job; did a good job,” Bradley said of Bortles Thursday. “He completed some passes. He didn’t have a lot of reps in a row with both him and Chad but they did a good job executing.”

Bortles had several completions of note, including a 15-yarder to rookie Damian Copeland, while Henne completed 7-of-11 passes in team work, including a short screen that second-year veteran Ace Sanders turned into a touchdown and a 15-yarder down the seam to Sanders.

“I feel good with how I’m throwing the football,” Henne said. “There are obviously some points out there where I could throw better. But the timing has been good with the guys that have been out there. I think we’re getting a grasp of the offense and getting in and out of plays and executing what’s out there.”

Also around the Jaguars Thursday:

*Sanders returned to practice Thursday after being out the last three practices with a thigh injury. Veteran wide receiver Mike Brown practiced after missing three practices with a groin injury. Their return left five receivers not practicing: rookies Marqise Lee (ankle), Allen Robinson (hamstring) and Lamaar Thomas (knee) and veterans Tandon Doss (calf) and Cecil Shorts III (calf). …

*Bradley said the Jaguars eased Sanders back into practice Thursday with the idea that he can do more in the team’s mandatory minicamp next week. “Ace looked pretty good,” Bradley said. “We’re really trying to get him back and ready to go for next week.”

*Bradley also emphasized that Shorts’ absence remains precautionary. …

*Henne on the absence of seven receivers at times in the last two weeks: “It is a big deal. I think if we had most of our guys out here it would definitely be beneficial, beneficial for the quarterbacks, for them to learn the offense as well, see different coverages and route adjustments. It would definitely be beneficial for them to be out there.” …

*Safety Josh Evans (foot), linebacker Dekoda Watson (groin) and cornerback Aaron Colvin (knee) remain out of practice. Evans worked on the side with a helmet for a third consecutive day this week. …

*Defensive end Chris Clemons missed practice Thursday, the only Jaguars player not in attendance. Bradley said the absence was excused. …

*Tight end Marcedes Lewis practiced Thursday after having attended his sister’s high school graduation in Long Beach, California, the night before. Lewis missed the team meeting, but attended meetings before practice. “Unbelievable,” Bradley said of Lewis making Thursday’s practice. “These guys are amazing and there are many stories like that.” Lewis’ sister, Nikia Withers, graduated from Long Beach Poly and will play volleyball at Cal-State Fullerton. “It means a lot to me (to be here),” Lewis said. “It means a lot that they trust me. Regardless of whether this is mandatory or not, this is mandatory to me.” …

*Lewis isn’t done travelling this week. He will travel back to Long Beach Friday afternoon to run his football camp at Long Beach Poly Saturday along with the rest of the Jaguars’ tight ends, Sanders, Brown and safety Johnathan Cyprien. Lewis hosted the Jacksonville version of his camp last Saturday.

*Rookie Brandon Linder took repetitions with the first team at right guard Thursday. Veteran Jacques McClendon also worked with the first team. …

*Defensive tackle Abry Jones returned to practice after missing the first two practices of the week with a sprained knee. Jones worked with the first team with veteran Roy Miller held out at times. …

*The first-team offensive line looked like this early Thursday: Luke Joeckel at left tackle, Zane Beadles at left guard, Mike Brewster at center, McClendon at right guard and Cameron Bradfield at right tackle. Starting right tackle Austin Pasztor is taking limited reps as he recuperates from shoulder surgery. Lewis started at tight end, Henne at quarterback and Tony Gerhart at running back, with Shorts, Lee and Robinson all out with injuries. …

*The first-team defense looked like this early: Andre Branch and Red Bryant at end, Jones and Sen’Derrick Marks at tackle, LaRoy Reynolds, Geno Hayes and Paul Posluszny at linebacker, Alan Ball and Dwayne Gratz at cornerback and Cyprien and Winston Guy at safety. …

*Rookie free agent wide receiver Allen Hurns continued to be solid in offseason work, catching back-to-back passes from Henne late in practice. “Hurns has really stepped up,” Bradley said, adding that receiver Chad Bumphis also has stepped up. …

*Bradley also mentioned cornerback Demetrius McCray and center Mike Brewster as players who have played well in recent days. …

*Reynolds and Gratz defensed passes on back-to-back plays late in practice. …

*Six-year-old Isaac “Ike” Yarmon visited Jaguars practice through the Make-A-Wish program Thursday. His wish was to meet Jaguars running back Denard Robinson. Yarmon and his father (Chad), mother (Chelsea) and sister (Sophia) flew to Jacksonville from Rogers, Minnesota, to meet Robinson.

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