The Jacksonville Jaguars have made it known they plan to sit rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, at least initially, to start the 2014 season and current Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers supports that idea. Rodgers sat for a few seasons behind Brett Favre before taking over.
"What they are doing has a lot of merit," Rodgers told Dan Pompei of Sports On Earth, in regards to the Jaguars sitting Bortles. "Some of these guys who are going to bad teams are expected to play well right away. It's hard to do that. I've seen a couple guys able to do it. [Ben] Roethlisberger was able to do it. He had a team kind of around him. [Joe] Flacco had some success early but he had a team kind of in place. You go to a place that has some pieces and you can have some success early. But if you go to a team that doesn't have the pieces... it can really mess with your confidence."
There's always a debate on whether or not a rookie quarterback, especially a top pick, should play right out of the gate or not. Personally in my view, I think your best bet is just to throw them in the fire and you get what you get, as most guys are do or die based on how they play within the pocket more than anything else. I don't think any amount of time sitting Blaine Gabbert, who's now pointed to as an example of throwing a guy to the wolves, would have made him that much better than he was.
There are situations however, where it's ideal the young quarterback sits and "learns". I say "learns" because what you can actually gain by sitting on the bench has always been a bit vague. Sure, it gives the player more time to learn the playbook, watch film and bounce things off the incumbent starter, how long do you realistically need to do that before you're "ready"? At some point you need to see live bullets and there's quite a bit a team won't know until that happens.
For someone like Rodgers however, it made sense. He wasn't fully developed physically and he had mechanical issues he needed to work through. Plus, the Packers had some dude named Favre there to start, so it wasn't necessary for the team to throw Rodgers into the fray, which is another big factor in why sometimes teams can afford to wait, it's not an immediate dire need.
The Jaguars fall somewhere in no man's land, as far as what the need is at quarterback. Chad Henne certainly isn't going to scare many defenses, but he's not so horrible that you go into each game thinking you don't have a chance. At the current moment, the Jaguars don't appear to be a team who's pushing for the playoffs, be it with their actual play on the field or pressure from ownership. That means there isn't much pressure to thrust Bortles into the lineup and the team is comfortable with riding with Henne for right now.