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Open locker room: Henne focused on Sunday

Posted Oct 16, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Chad Henne: “Is it my goal to be the starter? Absolutely. It may not end up like that, but I can’t think about it.”

JACKSONVILLE – The starting job’s hardly the only thing on Chad Henne’s mind this week.

There is the matter of his newborn son.

But Henne – who will start Sunday for a second time in as many weeks for Blaine Gabbert – said when it comes to the Jaguars’ permanent starting quarterback position, he has the same approach he has had all season, all of last season and pretty much since he can remember.

Henne said he’ll start Sunday. And whatever happens after that . . . well, it happens.

“I don’t even think about it,” Henne said as the Jaguars (0-6) prepared to play the San Diego Chargers (3-3) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

“If they’re giving me the opportunity to play, I take it like I’m the starter. And like I’ve said before, if I’m the backup, I prepare like I’m the starter, so it doesn’t matter. I don’t even think about it, really. I just go out and play and play to the best of my ability.”

Henne on Sunday completed 27 of 42 passes for 303 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions in a loss to Denver – this after learning that morning his wife, Brittany, had gone into labor. Their son, Chace (six pounds, 10 ounces), was born around 10 eastern time that evening and came home Tuesday.

“He’s doing well,” Henne said.

Brittany had been due next week, when the Jaguars were scheduled to be in London, and Henne said there were plans to induce labor Friday had she not given birth by then.

Henne flew home with the team Sunday night, communicating with Brittany and a family friend by wifi.

“God gave him to us early,” Henne said. “I’m just glad she’s healthy and the baby’s healthy. She called me Sunday morning and I told her, ‘There’s not much I can do. Even if I get home, how do we know I’ll make it (on time) anyway?’ I went out and tried to concentrate on what we wanted to accomplish against Denver and we did some good things.

“Once the game started, I think everything relaxed. I just went out and played. She didn’t want me to worry about anything else except to concentrate and try to win the game.”

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley on Monday named Henne the started for Sunday, but said the decision was only for the San Diego game.

Henne, who started the final six games of last season, started Weeks 2 and 3 when Gabbert was out with a lacerated hand. He then replaced Gabbert in a loss to St. Louis in Week 5 when Gabbert sustained hamstring injury.

Henne, who has played in every game this season except a loss to Indianapolis, has completed 80 of 137 passes for 904 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions this season. Gabbert has completed 42 of 86 passes for 481 yards and one touchdown with seven interceptions this season.

“Is it my goal to be the starter? Absolutely,” Henne said. “I want to be the guy and help this team win and play the rest of the season. It may not end up like that, but I can’t think about it.”

Henne discussed the quarterback position early Wednesday afternoon, around the same time wide receiver Cecil Shorts III and tight end Marcedes Lewis updated their injury situations.

Shorts, who left Sunday’s loss to the Broncos after sustaining a sprained SC joint, said while he is still in pain pretty much everywhere, the joint is stable and he plans to try to play Sunday.

Shorts, who has 31 receptions for 411 yards and a touchdown this season, said he took repetitions in walkthrough Wednesday morning

“I’m very hopeful,” Shorts said. “I’m very stable structurally – nothing broken or cracked – but it’s a lot of pain. It’s a matter of how much I can handle and take. We still have time to improve between now and Sunday. My goal is definitely to get prepared like I’m playing.”

Lewis, who has played just two plays this season after sustaining a preseason calf strain that he subsequently re-injured and re-irritated twice since then, said his plan is to play Sunday. He has missed five of six games, and left after re-irritating the injury on the first series of a September 29 loss to the Colts.

“I’m looking to play Sunday,” Lewis said, “I’m just trying to get in where I fit in and get my piece rolling so we can get this thing rolling.”

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