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Inside the Jaguars, 11/21

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Senior writer John Oehser takes a look inside the Jaguars' day around EverBank Field Wednesday

SUDDEN CHANGE

Times change fast in the NFL.

Chad Henne said you don’t have to be around the league long to know it, and that the events of the past few days make it even more obvious.

Henne, the Jaguars’ backup quarterback the first nine games of the season, on Monday was named the starter for Sunday, a status that gained more permanence on Wednesday with the team placing former starter Blaine Gabbert on injured reserved.

“Whether you’re Tom Brady or Blaine Gabbert, it doesn’t matter who goes down – somebody else needs to step in and do that job,” Henne said as the Jaguars (1-8) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (4-6) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

“It’s not an easy job, but I guess that’s why they say they pay us the big bucks. They put the podium underneath us and we are above all, and we’ve just got to go out and be leaders.”

Henne, a starter in 31 games with the Miami Dolphins from 2009-2011, signed with the Jaguars as a free agent in the off-season. His role at the time was to back up Gabbert while helping the second-year veteran and at the same time competing for a job.

That role changed this week, with Mularkey saying on Monday that Henne would have started against Tennessee regardless of Gabbert’s injury status. Mularkey also said Wednesday Henne has a chance to win the quarterback position permanently if he plays well the last six games.

Henne, who completed 16 of 33 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-37 overtime loss to Houston Sunday, said the last few days show again the importance of a backup always being prepared.

“Being in this league for five years I kind of understand that,” he said. “To prepare well, prepare like you are a starter and practice like you are a starter and never be shocked about what goes on in this league.”

 

JONES-DREW LIKELY TO REMAIN OUT

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday, but it’s very close.

Jones-Drew, out four games with a sprained foot, has progressed during that time, but Mularkey said he’s unlikely to play against Houston Sunday.

“I’d say it’s highly unlikely, but he’s definitely better than he’s been in a while,” Mularkey said Wednesday.

Jones-Drew was among four players missing practice Wednesday, with the others being fullback Greg Jones (thigh), cornerback Will Middleton (concussion) and center Brad Meester (foot).

Safety Dwight Lowery (ankle) and cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin) were limited, with Lowery having missed the last five games and Mathis missing the last four. Jones has been out the last three games.

Mularkey said he expects Jones, Lowery and Mathis to be day-to-day this week.

 

MULARKEY SAYS

“We’re constantly evaluating these guys, what they can do. Winning is why we’re here. That’s the reason I was brought here. That’s why the staff is here. That’s why all these players are here. It’s about winning, but evaluation isn’t going to change because of where we’re at.”

 

HENNE SAYS

“You’re always looking over your shoulder. I think you always want to keep that starting position. You want to play well, you want to stay in this league for as long as you can and stay a starter. You can only do that by yourself, how you prepare, how you play, it’s a one-man business, kind of.”

 

GABBERT SAYS

“My job here right now is to support the guys in this locker room. I know how hard they’ve worked, and they are going to continue to work hard and win some football games. My role now has changed. I have to get healthy personally, but I’m here to support and help the quarterbacks, help Chad in any way possible.”

 

G UCHE NWANERI SAYS

“I think that we are going to continue to do what we’ve been doing. Chad came in and did a real good job for us in Houston and we’re sure he’s looking to follow up on that performance – us as a team and especially as an offense. When we put up points like that we want to show that it’s not just a once-in-a-while type thing – that it’s something we can do week in and week out.”

 

WHAT’S NEXT

The Jaguars will have a non-padded Thanksgiving Day practice Thursday and another Friday as they continue preparing for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field.

 

QUICK HITS

*The loss of wide receiver Laurent Robinson (concussion) for the season likely will mean more playing time for rookie Kevin Elliott, Mularkey said. “He plays ‘X,’’’ Mularkey said. “He’ll have to step up.” Mularkey also said wide receiver Jordan Shipley, who signed with the team Tuesday, could play a role. “We’re going to give a couple of guys opportunities to line up out there and take advantage of it,” Mulakey said. Shipley, a 2012 third-round draft selection by Cincinnati, has 56 career receptions for 614 yards and three touchdowns. Elliott, a rookie free agent from Florida A&M, has five receptions for 46 yards this season.

*The NFL on Wednesday informed the Jaguars of a scoring change that raised the Texans’ official total yards Sunday from 640 – already a franchise-record for yards allowed by the Jaguars – to 653. The play in question came with 9:46 remaining in the third quarter, when middle linebacker Paul Posluszny forced a fumble by Arian Foster.  The league determined that the ball was batted back at the Houston 24-yard line, making the run minus-2 instead of minus-15. The determination added the 13 yards to the Texans total.

*Mularkey on Wednesday said the Texans did a good job Sunday getting into position in the second half and overtime to be productive passing. “They did a good job of scheming us with one of their personnel groupings that put us out in space and we had to get a rush,” Mularkey said. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 527 yards, the most in NFL history, with 342 coming in the second half and overtime. Mularkey was asked why the Jaguars didn’t blitz more than once or twice in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Texans scored 23 points. “You’ve just got to be careful of some of the things you think you should do because they may be worse than what’s taken place,” Mularkey said, adding, “I trust Mel Tucker that he is doing what we have to do to win – putting the scheme in, coaching it and then calling it. I put my two cents worth in, but he knows it way better than I do.”

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