The Jacksonville Jaguars will begin giving No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles reps with the first team offense in practice on Monday. Prior to, the rookie hadn't had any reps with the first team outside of a handful during a rotation in training camp.
On Friday, against the Detroit Lions, the Jaguars plan to give Bortles time with the first team offense against the Lions first team defense. In the first two preseason games, in which Bortles shined, it was with backups against primarily backups. Against the Lions however, it should give the team a good gauge where he's at in his development.
"Yes, a quarter," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said on Sunday. "I’m not sure when it’s going to be, whether it’s second quarter or third quarter, but sometime he’ll get a quarter or the amount of that many plays."
The plan is not to rotate Bortles and Henne, but once Henne comes out, he's out. Bradley hinted that Bortles could come in as early as the second quarter against the Lions, which strikes me a little suspicious. It's quite possible I'm reading way too much into it, but if Henne is just ho-hum or struggles and Bortles comes in as early as the second quarter and shines again...
Bradley has still maintained that Henne is going to be the Jaguars starting quarterback on opening day, but the team seems to keep cracking the door to the position with how Bortles is performing thus far. Putting Bortles in the game so early raises some eyebrows, especially if he once again looks really good. It's quite possible the Jaguars are seeing if Bortles can force their hand on the issue.
That, or they're super confident in Chad Henne being their starter.
UPDATE: Because practices aren't open to the public any more, we couldn't get live coverage of how Bortles looked with the starters on Monday. But we did get a count of the number of reps the rookie had with the first-team:
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles took seven or eight reps with first team, three in 11 on 11, Jaguars HC Gus Bradley says.— John Oehser (@JohnOehser) August 18, 2014
It's not a lot, but it's better than nothing and that snap count should increase as the team gets closer to Friday.