The much speculated benching at least for now, of Blake Bortles was confirmed Wednesday night by the team, but, bear with us. It doesn’t mean that he’s done in Jacksonville, once and for all. And, it also may not even mean that he’s on the bench week one against the Texans, either.
First, the team chose to release the info on it’s website on the night before it hosts Carolina in their third preseason game.
OFFICIAL: Chad Henne will start at quarterback against the @Panthers tomorrow.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) August 23, 2017
Interesting that with closed practice (even to the media) all week, coach Doug Marrone would not be made available to at least comment Wednesday night on the plan for the Panthers game. Instead, his first likely comments about why on this decision will come in the Jaguars Radio Network pregame interview tomorrow night.
Now let’s examine what was announced.
Chad Henne is the starter for this preseason game and he’s obviously got lots of previous experience with the Dolphins and the Jaguars having done so 53 times in the regular season in his career. Clearly, Marrone (and more importantly Tom Coughlin up above) wants to see if the first team offense responds to the veteran.
But notice in the story, Bortles is scheduled to still play with the first teamers and that likely would be in the first half Thuraday night, too. And, for those who think this is the final chapter for the former third overall pick? It’s not necessarily.
If Henne is ineffective, which is entirely possible, then, he’s no lock to be named the week one guy. And even if he is effective, Bortles could still lead a scoring drive (hey, maybe a TD?!) himself Thursday night to continue the debate.
There is also the possibility, although not likey, Henne could get hurt against the Panthers. Obviously, that would put Bortles back in the starting position it would appear.
We wrote coming off the poor performance by the first team last Thursday against the Bucs that perhaps second year QB Brandon Allen would be an option to go to soon. He clearly is more mobile than both Bortles and Henne, and has looked good against second and third team competition so far this preseason.
But, the fact that Marrone isn’t planning to try Allen against the first team Thursday night, signals they aren’t ready for the youth movement until forced later. Again, that’s good for Bortles in the short term, too.
Also key to him sicking around in North Florida, Bortles doesn’t have any trade value at this point. And, after picking up his fifth year option in the off season, the Jaguars would look completely foolish to just release him. So, that isn’t going to happen at this stage.
Therefore, at worst Bortles is the backup waiting to see what happens.
The Jags hope Henne is the spark, but they also desperately want Blake Bortles to respond to threat to his job/lively hood Marrone laid out after the Buccaneers game and play well Thursday.
And if Bortles does? He’s still possibly playing or even starting this season.