Titans to face a backup quarterback right from the start for the first time

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:27pm

The Tennessee Titans will face a backup quarterback when they get back to action Sunday.

The Jacksonville Jaguars place Blaine Gabbert on injured reserve Tuesday with elbow and shoulder injuries.

“We’re disappointed that we had to do that, but with the injury that he sustained … it was significant enough that he was going to miss significant time,” coach Mike Mularkey said.

The only other time this season the Titans faced a reserve signal caller was Week 3 against Detroit. Shaun Hill replaced the injured Matthew Stafford in the fourth quarter and completed 10 of 13 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns, both in the final 20 seconds of regulation.

Even before the Jaguars’ decision, veteran Chad Henne had been named the starter in place of Gabbert, the 10th overall pick of the 2011 draft. Mularkey said the move was based on performance.

Gabbert started Jacksonville’s first 10 games and completed 162 of 278 passes for 1,662 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions.

“When [Henne] throws he’s fearless,” Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said. “He’ll throw a ball into a tight window. … You have to realize that he will try to stick it in there. He’s confident in his ability.”

Henne replaced an injured Gabbert last Sunday and became the first quarterback since Hall of Famer Steve Young in 1987 to throw four touchdown passes in a game he did not start. In the 43-37 overtime loss to Houston, Henne completed 16 of 33 throws or 354 yards without an interception.

A fifth-year veteran, he will make his first start for the Jaguars but the majority of his NFL experience is in that role, He has started 31 times in 40 games. All of those starts were with the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the second round in 2008.

“My approach is to get better myself and be consistent as a quarterback and prove that I belong to be a starting quarterback here,” Henne said. “Just try to add a spark to this offense and add some leadership and experience. Hopefully I can carry these guys through. Obviously, I can’t do it by myself. We have to stay with the running attack and have guys outside making plays and the offensive line protecting.”

Run down: Mularkey said running back Maurice Jones-Drew would miss a fifth straight game due to a foot injury.

“I think [his return] will be further down the road,” Mularkey said.

That’s not exactly bad news to the Titans, who gave up 200 rushing yards to Jones-Drew in last season’s two meetings. The second time the teams played in 2010 he rushed for 186 yards on 37 carries.

“It’s a different Jacksonville team than we’re used to,” Munchak said. “… I think with Jones-Drew hurt it makes a big difference in how they’re going to attack you. In the past they’d run the power at you 10 times in a row and now it seems they’re passing much more than running.”

• Injury report: Four Titans did not participate in Wednesday’s workout. They were: safety Al Afalava (ankle), running back Jamie Harper (ankle), wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins (ankle) and tight end Craig Stevens (hamstring).

Five others, including wide receiver Kenny Britt (knee) and linebacker Colin McCarthy (ankle), but all of them were credited with full participation.

In addition to Jones-Drew, fullback Greg Jones (thigh), center Brad Meester (foot) and cornerback Will Middleton (concussion) did not practice for Jacksonville.

Briefly: The Titans are 8-5 all-time after a bye, but they have lost their last two. Also, three of those five defeats, including last seasons 41-7 loss to Houston, have been against division opponents. … Running back Chris Johnson has rushed for 125-plus yards three times in the last four games and has rush for 125 or more 24 times in his career. Only Eric Dickerson had more (27) in his first five seasons. … The Jaguars have played the Titans more than any opponent in their history. Tennessee has won 19 of the 34 all-time meetings but lost two of the last three. … Jacksonville has attempted five two-point conversions, most in the NFL. It has been successful on just two.

1 Comment on this post:

By: 4gold on 11/23/12 at 5:13

As if anyone is bothering to watch the Titans after the Chicago debacle. Out of the playoffs so soon. Might as well sandbag for next years draft pick. The Titans are cooked already. Go Dores, they are it for Nashville this year.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!