The Jacksonville Jaguars opened up their organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday afternoon as expected with veteran quarterback Chad Henne as the starting quarterback and No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles running with the second team. It's been noted ad nauseam the Jaguars plan to let Bortles sit and learn behind Henne, and he's embracing that luxury.
"It’s tough because it’s fast-paced," Henne said after practice on Tuesday. "Today, he was like ‘man, practice is really fast’ and then you have to try and learn and think about it. I just told him to take one play at a time and don’t think about what’s coming next. Concentrate on that play only."
The argument to sit a top quarterback pick aside, it appears both Henne and Bortles are understanding and embracing their roles on the football team right now. Logically speaking it doesn't make a lot of sense for a player to embrace teaching and helping the player drafted to ultimately take their job, but Chad Henne clearly understands where he's at in his career.
Sometimes in the veteran/rookie dynamic you have the guy who doesn't really feel like helping out the young gun, but Henne understood the Jaguars plan when he signed his new two-year contract in the 2014 offseason. Jokes about Henne's ability and play aside, it's not going to hurt having a veteran take Bortles under his wing.
"A lot – he’s helped me out tremendously," Bortles said of Henne after practice. "From meetings in the morning, to me and him, in the quarterback room, to watching him on the field, and him giving me little tips and advice. As well as Ricky – it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a lot of help."
While Bortles has some mechanical issues he needs to work out that will both help his velocity and accuracy, the idea of him sitting is also believed to remove pressure from his shoulders so he can just go out on the field and practice. He can go out and worry about improving each day, rather than where he stands on the depth chart and worrying about living up to expectations.
"You have to be able, especially as a quarterback, to translate it from the board to the field," Bortles told reporters on Tuesday, in regards to translating from what he's seeing on the white board to on the field. "So doing that, getting better each day, learning more each day, and taking more to the field each day than you did the previous day."
The OTA practices aren't going to say much about a quarterback competition, but it will be interesting to watch how Bortles progresses through OTAs, training camp and in the preseason and if he causes the coaching staff pause on who the starter should be.