Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell didn’t need to explicitly say it, but he declared Blake Bortles the franchise’s quarterback of the future when he selected him with the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley immediately came out and named Chad Henne the starter and stated their intention to sit Bortles ideally for all of 2014.
Keeping the 3rd overall pick on the bench for an entire year isn’t exactly the norm, especially when the player is a quarterback. Unsurprisingly, several analysts believe Bortles will play at some point in 2014, even going as far to say he will be the opening day starter.
“What they are doing has a lot of merit… Some of these guys who are going to bad teams are expected to play well right away. It’s hard to do that… 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.”
– Aaron Rodgers
Obviously Caldwell and company aren’t going to say this publicly, but the surrounding cast on the Jaguars isn’t at the point where a rookie quarterback can come in and immediately succeed. While a guy like Andrew Luck can come in and play well despite a lack of talent around him, the general consensus is Bortles needs time to develop his game. No one can attest better to how much of an effect sitting behind a veteran can have than Aaron Rodgers. After watching Brett Favre for 3 seasons, Rodgers came in and became an elite quarterback within 2 seasons. While it’s not fair to expect similar results for Bortles, it does give merit to the Caldwell’s rationale.
– Daniel Lago