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Next day: Status quo at quarterback

Posted Aug 9, 2014

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley on Chad Henne a day after 2014 preseason opener: “He’s our starting quarterback.”


JACKSONVILLE – A day later, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley’s stance remained the same:

Chad Henne is still the guy.

That was true before a preseason-opening victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday, and it was true after rookie quarterback Blake Bortles turned in an impressive performance in that game in his NFL debut.

“He's our starting quarterback,” Bradley said of Henne early Saturday afternoon, the day after the Jaguars’ 16-10 victory over the Buccaneers at EverBank Field.

Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, worked with the second team Friday, as has been the case throughout the offseason and training camp. He completed 7 of 11 passes for 117 yards, and looked impressive while playing most of the second and third quarters.

Bradley noted that while the Buccaneers only blitzed Bortles once, the rookie from Central Florida showed coaches “what we had hoped to see from him … poise and command of the offense.” He noted that Bortles made “a couple of mental errors,” including a check at the line of scrimmage.

“He handled it for the first time pretty well,” Bradley said.

Henne, a seven-year veteran who the team has said will start into the regular season and beyond, completed four of seven passes for 30 yards. Bradley said Henne faced several unfortunate circumstances, including two missed assignments and two bad snaps from center Mike Brewster.

“It's hard to get in a rhythm when those things are taking place,” Bradley said. “You were hoping for him to get into a rhythm.”

Bradley also said staying with Henne for a fourth series at the start of the second quarter showed a commitment to Henne as the starter. The coaches originally had planned for the first team to play three series.

Bradley said while Bortles likely will get first-team repetitions at some point during the preseason and/or practice, that will also be the case for many of the Jaguars’ rookies. Bradley said he doubted that will happen before Thursday’s Preseason Week 2 game at Chicago.

“I wouldn't count on it this week,” Bradley said.

Overall, Bradley said there were positives Friday, particularly how the offense protected the ball. He also said while the offensive line struggled at times run-blocking, it allowed just one sack. Defensively, he said the line played well against the run, noting that the defense registered three sacks, two forced fumbles and nine pressures – as well as a 68-yard interception return for a first-quarter touchdown by safety Winston Guy.

“All good signs,” Bradley said, adding, “We’re seeing the beginning stages of us creating an identity. We just have to point that identity out that we want and we go from there.”

Also around the Jaguars:

*Bradley lauded the play Friday of cornerback Jamell Fleming, rookie offensive tackle Josh Wells and running back Denard Robinson, saying Robinson has impressed coaches with his commitment to ball security. That’s an area with which Robinson struggled as a rookie last season. “He’s definitely showing us he has a mindset to protect the ball,” Bradley said. …

*Wide receivers Cecil Shorts III (hamstring) and Allen Robinson (hamstring) likely won't play against the Chicago Bears Thursday in the second week of the preseason, Bradley said.  He said each is progressing, adding that Shorts is perhaps a bit ahead of Robinson in his return. …

*Running back Toby Gerhart may return to practice this week, Bradley said. Gerhart missed the preseason opener with a hip flexor injury.

*Offensive guard Zane Beadles sustained a sprained thumb Friday, but isn’t expected to miss time. He likely will work with a cast. …

*Bradley also said tight end Brandon Barden should return from illness to practice Monday. …

*Cornerback Alan Ball (ankle) is expected to work in individual drills Monday after not playing Friday. A starter in 15 games last season, Ball started training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list and missed Friday’s game as a precautionary measure.

*Linebacker Dekoda Watson, who has been on the Physically Unable to Perform List since the beginning of training camp, could return in time for the regular-season opener. Bradley also said Watson could possibly play against Detroit and Atlanta, the Jaguars’ final two preseason games. …

*Bradley also said rookie linebacker Telvin Smith continues to impress. Smith has worked with the second team in base packages and has worked with the first team as a nickel linebacker. “We got faster with him on the field,” Bradley said, adding that while Smith had a couple of mental errors they were aggressive mistakes.

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