Jaguars name Bortles starting quarterback


Amid a preseason that has been headlined by a quarterback competition between Blake Bortles and Chad Henne, the Jaguars announced Aug. 26 that Bortles will be the team’s starter come week one against the Houston Texans Sept. 10.

“I think that the first thing I look at is to make sure who is going to give us the best chance to win in the situation that we’re in,” said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone before practice Aug. 26. “I think Blake has the ability to extend plays for us, which I think is going to be helpful in what we have to get done.”

Marrone said he stayed at the team’s facilities until 2 or 3 a.m. following the Jaguars preseason game against the Carolina Panthers Aug. 24 to watch film. He said he then woke up a few hours later to think over the decision some more, and later in the day, he said he discussed the situation with Jaguars Executive Vice President of Operations Tom Coughlin and General Manager David Caldwell.

When asked what gave Bortles the nod, the head coach said Bortles did a better job than Henne of communicating on the sidelines.

“I just thought he was very clear,” said Marrone. “Sometimes you don’t have that with players.”

Marrone added, however, that Bortles will have a leash that is no longer than any other players.

“I think we’ve set goals of what we want to get done and what we want to establish day-to-day, week-to-week, game-to-game, and I think those things have to be met,” he said. “And I think 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.”

Marrone opened up the competition after Bortles and the Jaguars played an uninspiring preseason contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week two of preseason action. In Jacksonville’s 12-8 loss to the Bucs, the three-year starting quarterback received significant criticism for throwing two awry passes and for looking unsure of himself behind center, overall. He finished the game 8 for 13 for 65 yards.

In the Jaguars subsequent preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, which saw Henne as the team’s starter, Bortles began the second half slow, throwing an interception on his third drive. Yet he caught fire on his fourth and fifth drives, leading the Jags to consecutive touchdowns, one of which included a beautiful fade thrown by Bortles to wide receiver Shane Wynn in the corner of the end zone. Bortles finished the game 12 for 16 for 125 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Henne finished 8 for 14 for 73 yards.

Bortles said it’s a cool feeling to be named the starter of the team again, but he’s not taking anything for granted.

“As of now, I’m promised the first snap with the first group today at practice, and after that, who knows?” said Bortles before practice Aug. 26. “I think it’s a constant effort, as it was a couple of weeks ago, to try and earn the respect of the players and the coaches through every snap, going out there and doing it and proving that.”