Chad Henne was brought to the Jacksonville Jaguars as one of the top ranked backups a few years ago. His experience starting with the Miami Dolphins, his moderate record as a starter, and his basic competencies made him a solid option behind the struggling Blaine Gabbert.
Gabbert never surpassed Henne and found himself replaced by the veteran backup. Henne managed some moderate success with the Jaguars before ultimately stalling by game three of the 2014 season.
2014 was the season Henne’s role changed. He was no longer expected to be the backup for the Jaguars. He was expected to lead them for at least one season while the young Blake Bortles sat the bench and learned from the sidelines. However, it was pretty clear during the preseason that Bortles was already at a competitive level with Henne and may have the skills to surpass him during the season. So when Henne struggled, it was a logical step to start the rookie quarterback.
With Bortles struggling, he was able to turn to Chad Henne for help, advice, and some extra motivation. To Henne’s credit, he transitioned to his new role of mentor seamlessly and without complaint, proving his professionalism.
With a strong offseason behind him, Blake Bortles may come firing out of the gate in 2015. He has been working on his mechanics, he’s been working on his timing, and he’s been improving as a professional. His need for Henne may be growing less. So, where does that leave the former starter?
While the job of coaching Bortles falls to Nathaniel Hackett, I think the value of a veteran quarterback to turn to shouldn’t be overlooked. Henne has plenty of experience in this league and he is familiar with struggling, especially with some mediocre talent around him. He is approachable, supportive, and can still be a resource. No matter how good Bortles is in 2015, there is still some value in that.
As we talk about how good Blake Bortles will be in the coming season, we shouldn’t overlook the value that Henne still holds. Bortles could be something great, but without a strong support staff he’ll never get there. Henne is still able to provide support for the young quarterback. Hopefully that support is valuable enough for him to stick with the Jaguars beyond 2015, but we’ll see how important he is to the process through the season.
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