The Jacksonville Jaguars have a big question mark at quarterback because Blaine Gabbert hasn’t proven to be “the guy” yet and Chad Henne showed he most likely is not the guy during last season. There are a lot of solutions ranging from drafting a quarterback to finding a college free agent but ultimately it will fall down to whomever impresses the coaches the most. For Gabbert and Henne that began this week with the voluntary minicamp. The competition begins now.
Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch is installing his new offense and the Jaguars’ players are trying to show that they know enough about what they learned in the meeting room to translate well onto the field. “We have two guys competing as hard as the possibly can to put themselves in position to be the starting quarterback. I think they need to have tunnel vision. I think they need to focus on what they can control and not focus on really anything other than that,” Fisch said. From now on Gabbert and Henne are fighting for that starting job.
It’s going to be a long process and this week won’t be the only week of practice for Gabbert or Henne to stand out. They have been splitting reps with the first team and Fisch is not yet prepared to comment on how they are both doing in relation to each other. In response to the queries Fisch responded, “I appreciate what the fans want to hear right now, but we’ve had one practice, and we’ve had whatever amount of meetings – seven?”
Fisch made it clear that right now there is no favorite for the spot. The competition is just beginning and the analysis is just beginning to roll in. The goal right now is to just get better on a daily basis. “We don’t worry about that (the competition). My goal is to go out and get better every day. That’s what it boils down to. That’s everybody’s goal on this football team. Our biggest focal point is getting better on a daily basis,” said Gabbert. Both he and Henne have taken the tunnel vision required of the competition and are in it, trying to show what they can do as best as they can.
Henne seems equally fine with the competition and his role in it. Based on his explanation he is pleased that the position is entirely open as it gives him a fair shot to show he can be an NFL quarterback again:
I’ll just be out there competing every day to make the decisions for the coaches and the general manager. That’s the only thing you can ask for as a professional athlete, is competition. It’s only going to make you better. There’s going to be a lot of pressure, but if you’re a quarterback you want that pressure, because there’s pressure on you at all times. That’s what makes us grow and become great quarterbacks.
The competition is open and Henne hopes that it stays that way. “I hope so – that’s what they said,” he said when talking about the open competition. He may not have the ability to hold the coaches to their word but he definitely can keep his play at a high level and show that it’s worth keeping open. Henne is not the favorite in my mind, but if he outplays Gabbert then he still deserves the shot to start. We’ll see how things develop further down the road.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims