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Is Chad Henne really the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars?

November 19, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne prepares to throw a pass against the Houston Texans.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne prepares to throw a pass against… (Dave Einsel / Associated…)

Chad Henne never quite caught on in Miami. Will he be able to do so in Jacksonville?

Will he even get the chance?

Henne threw for 354 yards and a career-high four touchdowns after coming in for Jaguars starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who bruised his right elbow Sunday early in the Jaguars' 43-37 overtime loss to the Houston Texans.

That's the 9-1 Houston Texans, who came into the game 16-point favorites over the 1-9 Jaguars -- the same Jacksonville team that hasn't managed to score more than 23 points in a game all season.

In other words, Henne accounted for more points in one outing than the Jaguars have been able to put together as a team in any one game. And he threw for twice as many touchdowns than Gabbert ever has in a single game (the second-year pro has thrown for two scores in a game four times, including twice this season).

Yet Jaguars Coach Mike Mularkey would not say who his team's starter would be going forward.

"After I evaluate the tape, a decision will be made," he said after Sunday's game.

[Updated at 11:34 a.m.: Mularkey announced Monday that Henne will start for the Jaguars on Sunday against Tennessee. He said Gabbert is listed as questionable and if he's unable to go, John Parker Wilson will be promoted from the practice squad to serve as Henne's backup.]

It's an unwritten rule that an injury shouldn't cost somebody their starting job once they're healthy enough to return, although that's how multiple Super Bowl winner Tom Brady, among others, initially broke through in the NFL.

But if Sunday's game had been an audition, Henne would have passed with flying colors. True, the Jaguars lost yet again, but that was the most their fans have had to cheer about in a long time.

Then again, is Henne really the future of the franchise? A second-round pick by Miami in 2008, Henne went 13-18 with 36 touchdown passes and 38 interceptions in two-plus seasons as the Dolphins' starting quarterback.

The Jaguars aren't going anywhere this season, so making Henne the permanent starter at this point would be a clear indication that they have lost faith in Gabbert, whom they chose 10th overall in 2010.

It's a pretty big decision to make, so maybe Mularkey is wise to put it off for a while.

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