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Jaguars, Henne overcame adversity

Posted Nov 26, 2012

Mularkey on QB Chad Henne: "It's why we brought him in here, to do what he's doing right now."

The Jaguars faced adversity, with Chad Henne facing a lot of it.

A major difference from the first 10 games of the season is the Jaguars overcame it – and Henne did, too – and those were a couple of the things Head Coach Mike Mularkey really liked about what happened Sunday.

“There were many opportunities when things could have not gone our way,” Mularkey said Monday, a day after the Jaguars snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 24-19 victory over the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field.

“We overcame a lot of those things, and I was very proud of those guys.”

A first-play interception. Seven sacks, including three on the second drive.

Those were just a few of the things that went against the Jaguars in their second victory of the season, and just a few of the things that went against Henne, a five-year veteran making his first start at quarterback for the Jaguars.

Henne, who had earned the job with a four-touchdown, 354-yard performance in an overtime loss to Houston the week before, didn’t match those gaudy numbers Sunday. But Mularkey, speaking Monday in his weekly day-after press conference, said he did things just as impressive:

He kept the Jaguars out of trouble. He remained poised.

He gave the team a chance to win.

“I thought it was very gutsy, the way he played,” Mularkey said. “He stayed in the pocket and made some throws. . . . Your first throw is an interception, and we hadn’t had a string of really good home games – it (the interception) could easily have affected him. The sacks could have easily affected him, but they did not affect him all day.”

The Jaguars held the Titans to a field goal after the interception, which came after Henne’s first pass of the game was tipped at the line of scrimmage. The Jaguars then allowed three sacks on the ensuing possession.

The seven sacks were the most allowed by the Jaguars in a game this season, and Mularkey said they were caused by a variety of issues.

On some, blitzers came clean because of communication errors. On others, linemen were beaten one on one. On others, it was a case of Henne perhaps holding the ball a count or two too long. On others, offensive players blocked the wrong defender and a rusher came free.

“We didn’t hold up very simple rules,” Mularkey said. “It was just a mental error and it got us hit. We can’t have mistakes. A guy is going to get beat every now and then in a one-on-one block for whatever reason, but to have mistakes happen with protections and calls – those are things we’ll look at.”

Mularkey said the change at the quarterback position, with Henne replacing injured Blaine Gabbert, didn’t contribute to the sacks.

“It wasn’t the best, by any means,” Mularkey said. “It wasn’t one specific area. We have to clean that up, absolutely. We have rules that hold up against everything. There’s not a lot we haven’t practiced against. Some of them were simple mistakes.”

Mularkey also said while Henne could have thrown the ball away to avoid sacks at times, for the most part Henne “was smart with the football,” and that overall he was pleased with Henne’s approach throughout his first week as a starter.

“He spent a lot more time after the fact, after meetings, after practice when nobody was watching,” Mularkey said.

Henne, after completing 9 of 20 passes for 71 yards while relieving Gabbert in a 26-23 overtime loss at Oakland in early October, has completed 33 of 59 passes for 615 yards and six touchdowns with one interception in the last two games.

“He’s taken advantage of these two games,” Mularkey said. “You look at the Oakland game: he did not play as well as he did the last two games. A lot of it has been confidence. The faster you can get into a game, the more confident you are.

“I’m happy that he’s performing like he is right now. It’s why we brought him in here, to do what he’s doing right now.”

Also Monday:

*Mularkey said despite only registering one sack, the Jaguars got good pressure on quarterback Jake Locker at times Sunday. He also said the Jaguars could have done a better job keeping Locker in the pocket. “They’ve got to be disciplined, but I thought they did a great job getting push,” Mularkey said. “Our guys were swarming. I was very pleased with our defense. We were all over the place.” Mularkey said defensive end John Chick collapsed the pocket at times.

*Mularkey also said the performance of running back Jalen Parmele Sunday was as tough has he has seen in the NFL. Parmele played through a groin injury and rushed for 45 yards on eight carries. “Talk about a guy dragging his leg literally through a hole while he’s running over defenders,” Mularkey said. “You just know he’s hurt.” Mularkey said Parmele likely will be questionable this week.

*Mulrkey said wide receiver Cecil Shorts has had more “explosive” plays this season than any receiver he has been around in 29 NFL seasons. Shorts is averaging 20.8 yards per reception this season and has a franchise-record four receptions of more than 50 yards. “I really like being around Cecil,” Mularkey said, adding that the second-year veteran is just “scratching the surface” of his ability. “He loves football, loves to be coached. He does everything you ask him to do.”

*Mularkey said he wasn’t pleased with Henne getting hit early on a play when the Titans jumped offsides and took a free hit on the quarterback. “It was clearly not a fair shot – the guy did not have to hit him like he did,” Mularkey said, adding that similar incidents have occurred against the Jaguars on more than a couple of occasions. “It will be addressed at some point after the year. You talk about having safety issues, especially at the quarterback position; there are some things we’re missing.”

*Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, out the last five games with a sprained foot, likely will miss at least one more week, Mularkey said. “We’d like to get him back,” Mularkey said. “We want to finish strong and we need everybody we can who can help us finish strong. Every game is important doing that. If we thought it was a year-ending thing, we would have handled that differently a long time ago. We still think he can come back for a few games.”

*Cornerback Derek Cox, who left Sunday’s game with a leg injury, will be reevaluated Monday and Tuesday, with more information expected Wednesday. Fullback Greg Jones, out the last four games, has yet to participate in team work and is uncertain this week.

*Mularkey thanked fans for their support not only Sunday, but the entire season. The Jaguars on Sunday won for the first time in six home games this season. “We were very happy to bring a win to them, and we appreciate them hanging through the four quarters like they did,” Mularkey said.

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