Midway through the Jaguars' first full indoor practice of training camp, backup quarterback Chad Henne started to take reps with the first-string offense.
Starting quarterback Blake Bortles threw two interceptions prior to Henne's work with the first-team offense, but Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said the turnovers had nothing to do with the decision.
"Actually, we were coming in, we were looking at the pitch count after yesterday, and we came in today and we felt like, ‘Hey, let’s just rest him [Blake Bortles],'" Marrone said. "So it was basically for rest.”
Pitch count or not, Henne has looked superior to Bortles in the last two practices.
Henne was accurate for the majority of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Sunday. He threaded the needle to wide receiver Allen Robinson on at least three occasions.
The chemistry never seemed to waver once Henne took the field in place of Bortles.
“Fine," Marrone said, regarding Henne's performance with the first-team offense. "I mean, Chad’s been doing a nice job in camp.”
Henne wasn't perfect. He did have a pair of overthrows toward the end of the workout.
Still, the majority of his work offered some perspective as to why the Jaguars coaching staff has favored Henne over Brandon Allen in the backup battle.
Henne was joined during his first-team snaps by backup tackle Josh Wells, who rotated in with Cam Robinson. Right tackle Jermey Parnell also rotated with Jeremiah Poutasi.
Along with those first-string changes on offense, Paul Posluszny received some work at middle linebacker in practice. Current starting middle linebacker Myles Jack swapped back to SAM linebacker in Posluszny's place.
Fournette has a foot injury
While the news of Marqise Lee going down in the middle of practice will make up the majority of the headlines, first-round running back Leonard Fournette is also dealing with an injury of his own.
Fournette missed practice Sunday due to a foot injury. Marrone said the injury had been lingering prior to the decision to sit the rookie.
“I think it’s just one of those nagging things," Marrone said after practice. "It was a nagging issue. And then the other day it was just sore, so we were like, ‘Let’s not take any chances. Let’s take cautionary measure so it doesn’t turn out to be something that could be worse.’”
Marrone said he wasn't sure if the rookie would take part in joint practices against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday and Tuesday.
“I don’t know," Marrone said. "I think we’re going to be really cautious with that. If it puts anything in jeopardy for a longer ordeal, because we’ll get him back, then I would probably hold him.”
More News and Notes
- The Jaguars made a roster move shortly after practice. The team waived/injured undrafted rookie linebacker Justin Horton (undisclosed) and signed seventh-year linebacker Andrew Gachkar.
Gachkar (6-2, 224 lbs.) has played in 95 career games and produced 144 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Gachkar spent the last two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and was a seventh-round pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2011. He will wear No. 54 for the Jaguars.
If Horton passes through waivers unclaimed, he will revert back to the team's injured reserve.
- Marrone is a huge fan of the new indoor facility.
“First of all, I think it’s outstanding," Marrone said. "I think that we were able to fit 90 in there, get everything that we wanted done; I think it’s something that’s going to obviously help us. Obviously, you get acclimated to the heat, then come back in here. I think you can get some quality, I think today we had a quality practice, guys were bouncing around, running around after coming back from the late trip and the rough day yesterday and then coming in here and responding. I think all that stuff helps and at the end of the day, you’re just looking for getting quality out of practice so you can continue to get where you want to be.”
- Along with injuries to Lee and Fournette, the Jaguars were without six other players due to injury.
Tight end Mychal Rivera, linebacker Justin Horton and guard Earl Watford have missed several practices due to undisclosed injuries. Tight end Neal Sterling missed his second-straight session.
Safety Tracy Howard was a new addition to the sidelined crew. Wide receiver Allen Hurns returned to practice after missing Thursday's preseason opener and Saturday's padded practice.
Cornerback Aaron Colvin remains on the physically unable to perform list.
- Bortles' previously mentioned interceptions were produced during separate sessions. Bortles was first picked off by Posluszny, who returned the interception for a touchdown during 11-on-11 drills. A few minutes later, Bortles was intercepted by cornerback Tyler Patmon for a "pick six." It was Patmon's fourth interception of Bortles during training camp.
Bortles also had an overthrow, which would have been a pick at the opposing two-yard line by cornerback Charles Gaines, but defensive backs coach Perry Fewell screamed for him to break it up instead due to field position.
Marrone on the Bortles' interceptions:
“Well you’re going to talk about interceptions, but obviously the reason why we rested him was because I think his arm was –and I’m not trying to make any excuses, but any time you have turnovers but in practice you’re getting a look to see how they’re reading things with the different coverages and then really it’s how they respond afterwards and then in a live situation. So if you learn from it, where you’ve gone from it, is it something that you evaluate to say we don’t really like the way this is reading out, we don’t like how the way you’re seeing it and I’ve been through that with really every quarterback I’ve been with and you just have to make those decisions and make sure you don’t put those players in a position during a game where you haven’t seen the success in practice or in the preseason, things of that nature because then how can you expect them to be successful when you get out there on Sunday when it counts.”
- Drops continue to hinder depth players for the Jaguars. Victims included fullback Marquez Williams, tight end Ben Koyack, wide receiver Rashad Greene and tight end Caleb Bluiett,
- Wide receiver Allen Robinson continues to make unreal catches in camp. He was blanketed by Patmon during 11-on-11 drills and still came up with a catch off a Bortles throw by pinning the ball against his knee. On a throw from Henne, Robinson made a leaping grab on the sideline and got his feet inbounds.
- Physicality wasn't lacking during this "thud" practice. Undrafted rookie Carroll "Wildman" Phillips decleated fellow undrafted rookie Hunter Dimick during special teams coverage drills. The noise was so jarring I almost dropped by notebook.
- Along with the interceptions, there were several pass breakups by the defense. Cornerbacks Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Doran Grant, safety Peyton Thompson and linebacker Telvin Smith were among those with pass deflections.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.