Earlier this week I posited that Chad Henne will be the starter for the Jaguars because head coach Gus Bradley is interested in competing in every game, all the time. To sum it up: Henne has the requisite experience to run the offense more effectively than rookie quarterback Blake Bortles and that means the Jaguars will be more competitive.
But experience does not make a quarterback good. Henne’s 18-32 record is less than inspiring and his 6.1 yards per attempt (while completing 65.% of his throws) this preseason is not ideal either. So, can he compete?
The evidence from last year is that Henne can’t really get the job done in Jacksonville. He doesn’t win a lot of games (4-9 as a starter last season) and he doesn’t make awe-inspiring plays (season long of 62 yards, 13 touchdowns to 14 interceptions). But that doesn’t mean that the Jaguars aren’t competitive under Henne.
In particular we can look at the second half of last season to get a better idea of what Henne can do. Coming off their week nine bye, the 0-8 Jaguars won four of their next five. All four wins on the season came under Henne’s leadership. A season-high 32 points were stolen from Cleveland’s stingy defense in a victory in week 13.
Unfortunately the Jaguars went on to lose the final three games of the season and finish with a poor 4-12 record. But the four wins marked improvement over 2012’s paltry 2-14 season.
Starting quarterbacks in the NFL bear a disproportionate burden for wins and losses. Henne will be remembered for the Jaguars’ losses, despite some more than competent games. As the rest of the team develops, Henne may finally be able to prove that he can be a high-level game manager type quarterback. His three 300 yard passing outings and 60% completion rate show that Henne can be an effective starter for the Jaguars. Now that there are better supporting pieces, it’s more probable that he can be competitive for the Jaguars moving forward. Henne may not be a proven winner, but he is a competitor.
But if the Jaguars continue to lose games, fans and the media alike will look to the quarterback and the support to start Blake Bortles will swell.
Henne can compete, but can the Jaguars? In the end, the latter is more important than the former and Henne may end up out of a job.