Veteran QB Chad Henne started 15 games and attempted 305 passes for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season—the most action he’s seen during his six-year tenure in the NFL.
While last season’s 4-12 record probably isn’t what he had hoped to achieve, the team had a lot of weak spots on its depth chart, and it’s hard to blame it all on him. He did, however, only produce 13 passing touchdowns, while hurling 14 interceptions, which isn’t a very good ratio at all for a signal-caller in today’s pass-first league.
And remember, the team selected QB Blake Bortles with the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft. He was reportedly “their guy,” and the Jaguars brass was going to do whatever it could to land him, even if they reached a bit with the pick.
But head coach Gus Bradley is attempting to instill some consistency as his young team continues along on its rebuilding process. He said his players are rallying around Henne as their leader, rather than the young Bortles, via comments made in Wednesday’s edition of NFL Total Access.
“I think it’s been out there that our beliefs and our feelings is that we feel so strongly about Chad and he’s going in, I think the team has really rallied around that,” Bradley said from the NFL Rookie Symposium. “Now, it has provided an atmosphere for Blake to really go out there and ask a lot of questions and gain a lot of information from all the quarterbacks that are in.”
He spoke about Bortles’ development as well.
“He’s doing a really good job, he’s having more good days than days that maybe he’s struggling, like all rookies have…We’re very excited about his development.”
Bradley also said that Henne will get first-team reps in training camp, but the future is still uncertain. If we’ve learned anything about Henne during his career, it’s that he has a propensity to throw interceptions at the worst possible time.
And while Henne is a fairly accurate quarterback—he completed 60 percent of his passes attempted last season—he’s not the guy to fit balls into tight windows if teams are dropping into coverage. And he certainly has his “bad” moments from time to time. If he struggles early in the season or even in training camp, and Bortles starts turning some heads, don’t be surprised if the rookie QB gets some locker room support of his own and hears his number called sooner than later.