The Jacksonville Jaguars turned a few heads when they selected Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles with their third overall pick in this year’s draft. It looks like they knew what they were doing, at least in practice and preseason.
Through two preseason games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears, Bortles is 18 for 28 for 277 yards. He has yet to throw a touchdown, but that is about the only thing he has not done.
Incumbent starter, journeyman Chad Henne, also had a good game against the Bears. He finished his day 12-17 for 130 yards and a touchdown. That said, those few of you that actually watched the Jaguars last year know who the real Chad Henne is. He once again threw more interceptions than touchdowns (13TD, 14INT), just like his career numbers indicate.
That said, Henne is still taking most of the reps with the first team in practice. The Jaguars have had the stance that they will not rush Bortles under any circumstances. I guess that means if he dominates in preseason as well.
Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell keeps saying that Bortles will not start in week one no matter what, and who can blame him? They threw Blaine Gabbert into the fire in 2011, and look what happened. But Bortles in not Blaine Gabbert.
I’m thinking it still won’t matter what Bortles does unless Henne gets hurt. The Jaguars’ offensive line is still a work in progress, and they don’t want to see Bortles battered into oblivion a la David Carr. Why not let Henne take the beating, and save Bortles until the line improves?
I would still bet that Bortles gets at least one start during the 2014 season, even if it is in week 17.
It is a sound decision for the future of the franchise, but a disappointing one for a fan base that needs something to cheer about.