While the majority of us are already looking to the draft, some personnel decisions are being decided on the football field. Will Jason Babin be with the team long-term like he desires? Will Mike Brewster continue to outplay his competition in the middle of the line? Can Chad Henne actually secure the starting quarterback role?
Let’s look at the last one.
With a win, or a really big day, Henne will take one step closer to becoming “the guy” for the Jaguars at the start of next season. I would argue that even if the Jaguars only win one more game this season but Henne has a string of strong performances, then this job will be his next year. The Buffalo Bills are by no means a challenging defense (30th in points, 26th in yards, 17th in passing yards) but presents enough of a problem that it can be a gauge for Henne when looking to next season.
Henne’s next step begins Sunday.
With Justin Blackmon emerging and Cecil Shorts having more of an impact each game, I find it hard to see where Henne can regress. The Bills will have trouble covering Shorts and cannot risk a big play over the top. Marcedes Lewis will present mismatches and force the Bills to choose between covering the big-bodied receiver or the possession receiver in Blackmon. This offense is starting to pose schematic problems for defenses.
I see Henne delivering once again.
However, I find the main potential pitfall for Henne to be the offensive line and the rushing game. With Jalen Parmele on injured reserve, the Jaguars are turning again to the underperforming Rashad Jennings. Jennings will have to have a very, very big day in order to take some pressure off of the passing game. If the Bills don’t have to worry about the run game then this could get messy quick. Henne isn’t exactly Tom Brady when it comes to protecting the football.
The offensive line can be a major obstacle as well. While I trust Henne’s ability to take hits, keep his eyes downfield, and release the ball quickly, at some point taking sacks like he did last week will add up and limit his ability. While I see this being more of a problem down the road and not necessarily in this game (not to say he won’t get sacked!) this offensive line needs to up its game and start protecting Henne.
Henne is reliant on good blocking. He needs it if he wants to be the starter for the rest of the season and next.
I think Henne will do it again and begin to cement himself as next year’s starter. Of course, Mario Williams and company may have something to say about that in Buffalo.
– Luke N. Sims