|Henne, at least for now, is No. 2 on the depth chart. (US PRESSWIRE)|
When the Jaguars signed Chad Henne to a two-year deal back in March, it was reasonable to assume that he'd be given a chance to earn the starting job. Blaine Gabbert had been atrocious as a rookie, although some of that can be blamed on the general ineptitude of Jacksonville's offense.
According to new head coach Mike Mularkey, there's no confusion: Gabbert's the Jags' No. 1. "No, it's not (a competition)," he told NFL Network's Albert Breer. "Blaine's our starting quarterback. ...
"I've seen improvement over the short time I've been with him, and (in the spring) you get coaching and teaching in a less stressful environment," Mularkey said. "We're working on some of the fundamentals in his drops now. Not saying that he was taught it wrong, but every coach has their beliefs. None of them are wrong, but we need to be on the same page on some of those things, and we already started working on that in April. Primarily, it's his drops and balance in the pocket."
One of the biggest criticisms against Gabbert last season was that he was timid in the pocket.
Either way, everyone isn't sold on Mularkey's proclamation, probably because it's May and a lot can change in the coming months. One such skeptic: SI.com's Don Banks, who wrote Tuesday afternoon that "Blaine Gabbert will lose his starting quarterback job to Chad Henne by Week 3 (of the preseason)."
Banks was just getting warmed up:
"Remember when the Jaguars were trying to decide how much they wanted to go after Tim Tebow in trade earlier this offseason, a competition they ultimately lost to the New York Jets? There were those inside the Jacksonville organization who were ambivalent about the move, believing that even with Tebow on board, Henne, the ex-Dolphins starter, would beat out both players by late August. Let's just say that sentiment hasn't changed with Henne now competing only against Gabbert, the team's first-round pick in 2011."
It's hard to argue with that. Henne wasn't in the Dolphins' long-term plans, but most people figured he wouldn't have trouble finding work. The NFL has evolved into a passing league, but that only holds for those teams with a franchise quarterback. And while Henne isn't that, he is serviceable, which is more than we can say for Gabbert after one season.
Not only that, offseasons are littered with examples of coaches saying one thing only to change their minds in August and September. Remember when Tim Tebow was the Broncos' 2011 starter before he wasn't (and then, ultimately, he was)? That's all we're saying.
Whoever ends up under center in Jacksonville, they'll enjoy the benefit of actual pass-catching wide receivers. The team signed Laurent Robinson and drafted Justin Blackmon. Maybe those additions will help Gabbert keep his job. If not, we're guessing Henne will be ready.
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