Jacksonville Jaguars Preview: Expect Chad Henne to Compete with Blaine Gabbert

TIM LOLContributor IIIMarch 19, 2012

A poor season last year might put Gabbert's starting role up in the air.
A poor season last year might put Gabbert's starting role up in the air.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Are things about to get competitive next year in Jacksonville?

It seems everyone has been talking about free-agent quarterback Chad Henne, and the Jacksonville Jaguars have recently picked him up on a two-year deal.

After a poor season by rookie Blaine Gabbert, expect Henne to start pushing him for the starting role. Jacksonville finished last in the league in total offense last season only averaging around 250 yards per game, and almost all of those yards were gained by star running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

Last year Gabbert had only completed 50 percent of his passes, throwing for a mere 12 TDs along with 11 interceptions. He finished the season with a 65.4 rating, also contributing 13 fumbles to the team's total of 27.

Head coach Mike Mularkey and the Jaguars say they still stand behind him, and they showed that when they didn’t make too strong an effort to grab Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn. Jason Hill was arguably the team’s leading receiver last year, and definitely did not play to the best of his ability partly due to Gabbert’s inconsistency. He only had 25 receptions and three touchdowns. In fact, not a single receiver on the Jaguars had more than 415 yards or three TDs.

Can Henne turn this team’s passing attack around?

Out of Henne’s four years in the NFL, he’s only started two seasons in Miami. His best season wasn’t all that great, as he threw for 3,300 yards and 15 TDs to 19 interceptions. Stats aside, Henne has shown he can be a leader, and there are special qualities he has that even some elite quarterbacks lack. And he’s only 26.

There were recent reports that Jacksonville was very interested in free-agent Tim Tebow. Now that he recently signed with the Jets, the battle remains with only Henne and Gabbert.

Does Henne have what it takes to be a starting quarterback? How will things end up in Jacksoville next season? There is a great opportunity that these questions will be answered in the fall.