Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone wanted someone to step up and take his teams’ starting quarterback job and when no one did, he decided on Saturday to just stick with the status quo.
Hard to blame him really. After all, there was nothing inspiring about the way Chad Henne played in the start he was given last Thursday after Marrone announced the job was “up for grabs.’’
Henne completed 8-of-14 passes for 73 yards while throwing neither a touchdown pass nor an interception, and while he didn’t get much help from his offensive line, it was a typical Henne outing.
Look at his career numbers. He has a 59.3-percent completion mark, has thrown 58 touchdown passes against 63 interceptions and produced a passer rating of 75.5 while winning 18 games as a starter and losing 35.
More of that will not pull the Jaguars out of the basement of the AFC South and make them playoff contenders even if their defense does dominate and the running game lays the offensive foundation the Jags hope it will.
To get back into contention the Jaguars need better quarterback play than that and when you look at the way their offensive line is playing it’s going to need that quarterback to be sturdy and make plays on his own.
That’s Blake Bortles. Well, it’s more Bortles than it is Henne, and when he got right down to it, Marrone simply could not ignore that factor, and he all but admitted as much in explaining his decision.
In addition to saying he believes Bortles’ decision-making and accuracy are “good enough’’ to give the Jaguars the best chance to win, Marrone noted that Bortles also “has the ability to extend plays.’’
So there you have it. When Henne failed to seize his opportunity to take the job, Marrone simply decided to give it back to the one who had in the first place and for the very same reasons he had it in the first place.
The question now is, how long of a leash will Marrone give Bortles. Marrone answered that, too, but in somewhat veiled terms, though he hintd that leash may not be that long.
“He’ll get the same leash I would give any other player on the team,’’ Marrone said. “We have set goals with what we want to get done, what we want to establish day to day, week to week and game to game.
“Those things have to be met. If those things are not met, then obviously, you have to make a decision and get someone in there that gives you a better chance to win. That’s not going to change.’’
Many doubt Bortles will change either, but the chances of him changing and improving are still way better than the chances of Henne improving. And that’s why Bortles is once again the Jaguars quarterback,