The Jacksonville Jaguars have made it clear they intend to let Blake Bortles sit on the bench for a while and are comfortable with Chad Henne as the team's starting quarterback. Regardless of how right or wrong we think that may be, that's what they're doing.
Part of why they're doing it, is because Chad Henne hasn't been bad enough to force their hand.
"With how he (Blake Bortles) progressed, he did really well. We felt that Chad (Henne) executed and did really well," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said on Wednesday when asked if Bortles could have done anything to win the starting quarterback job. "It just worked out. If Chad had maybe not performed very well, we didn’t feel like that would be the case. He didn’t show it in OTAs and in training camp, he picked it up."
I think most will agree that Bortles played better overall than Henne did in the preseason, but the fact that Henne wasn't awful seems to be a big reason why the team is sticking with the veteran over the rookie.
"With anybody. If Dwanye Gratz goes out there and doesn’t play very well game-after-game," Bradley said on if the starting quarterback job was up for grabs. "We’re very strong with Chad. We’re very strong with him. We feel good about where he’s going and that’s what we expect."
Bradley's reasoning here and commitment, even with Bortles outplaying Chad, makes me lean towards the possibility of Bortles starting being closer to midseason than the first quarter of the season. A lot of people have pegged the Jaguars Week 3 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts as to when Bortles could possibly take over, but unless Chad Henne just has two absolutely horrendous games, and I don't think he will, I have a hard time seeing Bradley making a change that quickly.
If you're looking for when Bortles could potentially start, if you're of the belief that Henne is going to wind up being what he's always been in the NFL, really mediocre, then I think you're probably targeting Week 6 or 7 as to when we could see the team go with a rookie.
Bradley has shown in the past he's committed to who he makes a starter and you can turn to last year as an example. Blaine Gabbert was the team's starter over Henne and unless there was an injury, Bradley stuck with it until after the team's Week 5 loss to the St. Louis Rams. By then, it was clear that Gabbert wasn't going to offer much of anything and there needed to be a change. When it gets to that point with Henne, that's when the change will be made.
Those expecting it for the Jaguars home opener are likely to be disappointed.