Today is decision day in Jacksonville. This is the day, although the announcement may not come until tonight, when Jaguars coach Doug Marrone will finally tell his quarterbacks how he plans to work them in the team’s third preseason game Thursday against Carolina.
Marrone has been keeping this call very close to the vest but no one should be surprised if the plan calls for both Blake Bortles and Chad Henne to get time with the starters. The surprise, of course will come if the plan also calls for Brandon Allen to get time with the starters.
That could happen. Though he’s done it solely against second- and third-team defenses, Allen has actually been the best of the Jaguars quarterbacks this preseason, producing a 132.6 passer rating while completing 15 of 22 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
Henne hasn’t been far behind, though. He’s completed 11 of 16 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, good enough for a 127.9 passer rating that is of course far better than the 71.8 mark Bortles produced in sparking this whole quarterback question in the first place.
It might not be wise, though, to get too caught up in the stats, because it doesn’t seem as if Marrone is. Sure, that’s going to be a factor in this whole thing, but Marrone made it clear on Tuesday that he’s looking for more than just eye-popping stats.
“I try to look at it to see which one of the guys is going to go out there and take it,’’ Marrone said of the starting quarterback’s job. “I’m looking for the guy at that position who can really go out there and lead our team. Who best gives us an opportunity to win. It’s really that simple.’’
Oh, and if you’re expecting puffs of white smoke to come out of Marrone’s office by early Friday morning, forget it. Unless Bortles goes out and all but hands the job to Henne, which is possible, Marrone intends to take his time making a call on the Week 1 starter.
And well he should. This is a decision that will impact not only the season just ahead but the next few seasons as well. In terms of quarterback play at least, Marrone’s call could put the Jaguars on an entire new path.
That’s why he’s still debating what the right plan should be for the quarterbacks in this game, and why this preseason game could be one of the most important in franchise history. After all, depending on what happens at quarterback, the course of team history could change dramatically as a result.