Following Thursday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone officially opened up the starting quarterback position for competition. Former third overall pick Blake Bortles needed to have a strong showing in the game to turn the tide on his play this offseason, but all he did was go further into the deep end.
Bortles completed eight of 13 passes for 65 yards, but he was nearly picked off multiple times and his two passes down the field were atrocious under throws to a wide open Allen Robinson.
“It’s this simple: I’m looking for someone to lead this offense,” Marrone said after the game Thursday evening. “It’s right up there for grabs and either person can take it.”
“It’s not like he’s [Bortles] not the quarterback. He’s got to earn it.”
The reality of the situation, however, is that Blake Bortles cannot be the team’s starter against the Houston Texans Week 1. On Thursday he appeared to be a complete shell of himself. The passes he was able to complete were low risk short passes, either dump offs or single-read quick throws. The few throws he attempted down the field, he missed in shocking fashion. The offense felt completely hopeless while he was in the game.
When Chad Henne finally came in, he had back-to-back downfield touchdown passes dropped in the endzone. I don’t like to harp on if’s and but’s, but... it was a shocking difference. Even later in the game Brandon Allen was able to hit throws short, intermediate, on the run and down the field. The offense had life with Henne and Allen, regardless of being against starters or backups.
There is no way as the head coach Doug Marrone can trot Bortles out as the starter Week 1 and expect the team to be behind him, because quite frankly he’s not earned the right to walk out there Week 1 as the team’s starter.
While Marrone maintains that the spot is open and it will be a competition, it’s likely over before it even officially started and was something that was ready to boil over.
Unless Bortles makes a drastic improvement from now through the fourth preseason game, and we’re not just talking looking mediocre... he has got to flat-out be flawless and win the job, there’s no way he should win the job.
If he can’t, it’s hard to see him even being on the team’s roster Week 1. The team would need to release him, because at that point there’s no going back.
There’s no reason to keep him around and risk even an injury in practice since the team picked up his fifth-year option. Not only that, but he’s borderline untradeable because the team picked up his option and there aren’t many teams that will risk that $18 million becoming guaranteed. If he can’t win an open competition to be the starter, you can’t really go back to him mid-season if the guy who wins the job stinks it up.
At this point, I have a hard time seeing Bortles on the team come kickoff against Houston.