Each day this week I’ll take a look at a stat that will play a key role for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. It could be something the team must improve or something the team did well that must continue. It will go beyond just the basic stats and provide a more in-depth look at the team.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One of the prevailing stories throughout OTAs and minicamp was how well quarterback Chad Henne performed.
Coach Gus Bradley and several players spoke of how much more confident Henne was and how much better he looked throwing the football. He was making quicker decisions, good reads, and the ball was getting out faster. Bradley and Henne cited two main reasons for the improvement: He is in his second season in Jedd Fisch’s offense, and he knows he’s the starter and doesn’t have to worry about a competition.
Maybe that means Henne will do something he has never done in his career: Throw more touchdown passes than interceptions. Henne has thrown 55 touchdown passes and 62 interceptions in his six seasons in the NFL. The closest he has come to having more TDs than interceptions came in 2011, when he threw four of each in four games with Miami before injuring his left shoulder and missing the rest of the season.
But there are indications Henne is on the verge of finally hitting that goal. He threw 13 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions last season but threw nine TD passes and had just five interceptions in the final five games. He threw two touchdown passes in four consecutive games in that span, the longest streak of multiple TD passes in his career.
Those numbers might not seem notable when you consider the numbers other quarterbacks posted last season, but consider that leading receiver Cecil Shorts played in only two of the final five games and his main targets were Kerry Taylor, Mike Brown and Ace Sanders -- a trio that began the ’13 season without a single career reception.
Henne will have a lot more options in 2014. Shorts has returned from sports hernia surgery, and Sanders enters his second season after catching 51 passes as a rookie. Brown and Taylor are more experienced, and the Jaguars drafted Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round. In addition, tight end Marcedes Lewis said he’s having his best offseason and should be a major part of the offense, as he was at the end of last season when he posted 22 of his 25 receptions in the final 10 games after recovering from a calf injury.
With the additional help, the benefit of being in the offense for the second season, and the added confidence, Henne has everything in place to finally have a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio.