Jags looking for QB competition

March 20, 2013

No player on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster should feel too comfortable about his role on the team.

That includes both of the team’s top quarterbacks.

While offering some encouraging words about Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne, new Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said he is actively searching to add “at least one other quarterback into the fold, possibly two.” He also said the spot could get addressed “through the draft, college free agency, pro free agency or however we may get him.”

One possibility could be Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel in April’s draft. The Toronto Sun reported that the fast-rising Manuel will have a private pre-draft workout Saturday with the Jags. Manuel also is set for the same with Buffalo, Arizona and Philadelphia.

The fact the Jaguars aren’t dismissing any avenues to acquire another quarterback is as much a reflection of Gabbert and Henne as it is the desire of Caldwell and new head coach Gus Bradley for position battles across the board on a team that finished 2-14 in 2012.

Gabbert has yet to prove worthy of being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 draft. After a poor rookie season, Gabbert suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Houston in Week 10. He was 1-9 as a starter at the time.

Henne, a former Miami Dolphins starter who was allowed to leave via free agency in the 2012 offseason, didn’t fare much better when replacing Gabbert for the rest of the year.

Not all of the blame for Jacksonville’s woes should be placed directly on Gabbert or Henne. However, neither showed enough last year to cement himself as the starter heading into the 2013 preseason.

“We have the second-youngest quarterback in the league (23) going into his third season in Blaine and then we have Chad Henne, who started a lot of games and is more than a capable starter in this league,” Caldwell said Tuesday at the NFL owners meeting. “Between those two guys there’s going to be stiff competition.”

Caldwell wants to create similar battles across the board, although he is being prudent about not adding a slew of high-priced free agents hoping for a quick fix to a roster that needs a lot of work.

“I think the bulk of (signings are) going to come through the draft and college free agency,” said Caldwell, who served as Atlanta’s player personnel director before being hired by the Jaguars in January. “We feel this is a great opportunity for players who are not only college free agents but maybe (veteran) players out there who want to maybe revive their career or have something to prove.

“We have a lot of spots open for competition. Coach Bradley is going to bring that element to training camp where every spot is going to be open for competition and the best player is going to win that spot.”

Alex Marvez and co-host Jim Miller interviewed David Caldwell on SiriusXM NFL Radio.