The Jaguars have finally ended their quarterback competition by handing the job back to Blaine Gabbert. At the same time, the team announced that Gabbert won’t be playing again until week one of the regular season due to a hairline fracture in his thumb. Now the question is, what can Chad Henne do from here?
There is a silver lining in the news for Henne. Although he won’t be the team’s starting quarterback out of the gate, Gabbert’s history tells us that Henne should be ready at a moment’s notice. Not only has Gabbert struggled with injuries at times, he’s also been woefully bad at times, meaning any given game could be his last as the team’s starting quarterback once the season starts.
The other bit of good news for Henne is that he’ll be getting two solid preseason starts before he’s sat down at the start of the year in favor of Gabbert. Henne will be trying to impress the Jaguars with two good outings, giving the team a legitimate second option if Gabbert reverts to the quarterback we’re used to seeing.
The Jaguars have liked what they’ve seen out of Blaine Gabbert this offseason, and the team is willing to ignore a completely mediocre showing by their young play caller in the team’s first preseason game. Instead, they’ve chosen to focus on the Jags’ game against the Jets in which Gabbert completed a high percentage of his passes without making the big mistakes that have characterized his still young career.
Chad Henne isn’t on the Jaguars’ roster bubble by any means. At just over $2.5 million, Henne isn’t too expensive, and he’s the team’s only legitimate backup option. There had been hope that rookie Matt Scott would quickly grow into a developmental role, but he’s been inconsistent in preseason play to this point.
Because Henne doesn’t have to worry about being cut or traded in the immediate future, there should be no tangible pressure on him that would lead to poor play in the Jaguars’ final two preseason games. He’ll be getting an opportunity to work with the first-team offense right out of the gate, and he has the opportunity to impress his coaches.
To this point, Henne has been underwhelming, but with one solid performance, he could give his coaches the perception of having a choice outside of Blaine Gabbert, because frankly, he’s given the Jaguars no good reason to move on from the Blaine Gabbert era with his preseason performances to this date.