When it was announced on Monday that Chad Henne would start for the Jaguars in Week 12, it made sense. One day after the team had its best offensive game of the year and nearly upset the heavily-favored Texans, it would've been hard for Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey to justify sitting Henne to put Blaine Gabbert back in as starter.
For Mularkey, his job is hardly secured after beginning his first season as the team's head coach with a 1-9 record. Is he part of the problem? It's hard to say, but it's clear that he hasn't been a magical band-aid for the Jaguars.
With six more games until the 2012 season comes to a merciful end for the Jaguars, there will undoubtedly be changes for the franchise that could feature several new people within the organization. Among the possible, if not probable, changes, is the head coach position as many expect Shahid Khan to completely clean house following a disastrous year.
What Mularkey needs are wins and wins now. He has six games to prove his worth. The last thing that he should be concerned about is the future of the franchise beyond the 2012 season.
"I think we've got a group that is still coming in here and still preparing to win on Sunday's and still going on the field believing they're going to win the games regardless where, when, who it is and that's all that matters," Mularkey told reporters Monday. "And that's the way we're going to finish this season off."
Who is the quarterback for the Jaguars in the long-term? I'm inclined to think that quarterback isn't on the roster, but it certainly isn't Henne. With 23-year old Gabbert, the Jaguars have a young quarterback that is still in the process of improving. Yes, he's not improving nearly fast enough. He struggled horribly as a rookie, and hasn't had a significant enough step forward in his second season to justify keeping him around much longer.
But Henne isn't a viable option for grooming at all. In his fifth season, Henne's physical tools are apparent and his struggles as a starter have been evident. What he is seemingly willing to do more than Gabbert now, though, is throw the ball downfield and give chances for receivers to make plays.
That will result in more interceptions than the hyper-conservative Gabbert, but also more breakout games like the one in Week 11. It will result in disaster games, but will also give the Jaguars the chance to win in any given week. That's what Mularkey needs.
Allowing Gabbert to finish the last six games will give the team to get as much information as possible about the 2011 first round pick before officially deciding if its time to move on from the slow developing quarterback. However, allowing Henne to finish the final six gives the Jaguars the better chance to win right now.
At 1-9, the better move for the Jaguars would be to look towards the future and further evaluate Gabbert, but for Mularkey, he needs to worry about the now. And I can't fault him for that.