Following yet another poor preseason performance by fourth-year quarterback Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville Jaguars have declared an open quarterback competition. Bortles has been given every opportunity to win the starting job but has played poorly in training camp and during both preseason games.
In Jacksonville’s first preseason game against the New England Patriots, Bortles only played the first two drives. He was 3-5 for 16 yards, leading the team to two first downs and three points. Last night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville’s offense and Bortles really struggled. Bortles played in four drives, going 8-13 for 60 yards, with the team producing zero first downs and no points.
Veteran backup Chad Henne came in and managed a one-yard drive after a 31-yard punt return that ended in a missed field goal. Henne then opened up the third quarter with a decent drive that ended up stalling at midfield. He finished the game 6-10 with 44 yards.
Third-string quarterback Brandon Allen then played the rest of the game, going 10-15 for 144 yards. He also led the team to its only touchdown of the night, a four-yard pass to fullback Marquez Williams. Fans were excited about Allen’s play, although it did come against third and fourth stringers. Following the game, Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone spoke about the team’s quarterback situation.
Following the team’s 12-8 loss against the Buccaneers, Bortles left the locker room without speaking to the media. However, head coach Doug Marrone had plenty to say regarding the team’s quarterback situation.
“It’s this simple. I’m looking for the best person to lead this offense,” Marrone said. He went onto say regarding the quarterback battle that it “is right up there for grabs, and either person can take it.” He also said that Bortles and Henne will share first-team reps in practice.
Blake Bortles got his first start in week two of his rookie season and has held the job since then. In 2015, he set team records by throwing for 4,428 passing yards and 35 passing touchdowns. However, he has also tossed 11 interceptions, that were then returned for touchdowns, since 2014, the most by any quarterback in the NFL. On top of that, the team’s record has not improved, as Bortles has gone 11-34 (.224). This gives him the worst winning percentage of any quarterback taken in the top three in the common draft era (since 1967) with at least 40 starts.
Chad Henne will be the main competition for the starting job with Bortles. He was drafted in the second-round of the 2008 draft by the Miami Dolphins, spending four seasons with them before going to the Jaguars. He has a career record of 18-35 (.340) with a 75.5 quarterback rating, 12,931 passing yards, and 58 touchdowns against 63 interceptions.
Unless the team brings someone in, the only other option on the roster is Brandon Allen. He was the team’s sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft out of Arkansas and has never thrown a pass in the regular season.
[Featured Image by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]