Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert continues to progress in his return from a fractured right thumb, but head coach Gus Bradley said a decision on whether Gabbert will start in the season opener against Kansas City could drag into Sunday.
Gabbert was limited in practice on Wednesday, but did take some team reps. Bradley said the next step will be to see how Gabbert’s thumb responds over the next few days before he would make a decision on whether he will play against the Chiefs.
"It very easily could [drag into Sunday]," Bradley said. "We’ve got some decisions to make. I know he feels better every day so I think we’re going to have to get as much time as we can to evaluate this."
Gabbert suffered his injury in the second preseason game on Aug. 17 and returned to practice for the first time on Monday. Bradley said Gabbert was up-and-down on Wednesday.
"At times he looked good and at times he looked like he had an injury," Bradley said on a conference call with Kansas City media.
Gabbert said earlier Wednesday he felt like he was on track with his rehab but wasn’t focusing on whether he’ll be ready in time for Sunday.
"It feels better and better each day," he said. "It’s just kind of a funny deal that we’ve got to stay on it, stay on top of it, manage it, but it’s going to improve day by day."
If Gabbert doesn’t improve enough then the Jaguars will start Chad Henne, who started the final six games of last season and threw for 1,990 yards and 11 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. That would make Ricky Stanzi, whom the Jaguars were awarded off waivers last week from Kansas City, the backup.
"Guys have to step up," Bradley said. "We’ll got out there and watch him and based on how he’s throwing -- we’re not going to put the team in jeopardy just to say he’s starting. Both of them are getting quite a few reps. Stanzi’s getting some reps so we’re preparing for all options."
The Jaguars wouldn’t really lose much if Henne has to start instead of Gabbert. Gabbert started the first 10 games of the 2012 and suffered a forearm injury after throwing just two passes in the 10th game. In the other nine games the Jaguars averaged 263.6 yards per game, 185.3 passing yards per game, and 14.1 points per game.
Henne started the final six, during which the Jaguars averaged 326.3 yards per game, 233.3 passing yards per game, and 15.3 points per game.