Blake Bortles vs Chad Henne: An Analysis


The Jacksonville Jaguars officially switched to Blake Bortles as their quarterback midway through week three. The Blake Bortles era began in earnest on that Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts and the team has not looked back since.

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With three games under his belt, Bortles now has as many starts as Chad Henne had before he was benched. Both players own 0-3 records for the season, but as the Jaguars have problems all over, it may not be entirely up to them. According to the eye test Bortles has outplayed Henne despite the losing record and he has raised the play of everyone around him as well. What do the numbers have to say? We’ll use

Pro Football Reference

to compare some numbers.

Let’s take a look!

Passing Yards

Blake Bortles: 1,004

Chad Henne: 492

This is the biggest difference that must be given attention. Sure Bortles has had more attempts than Henne, but a large reason for that is the he can continue to move the ball, thus enabling him to extend drives and increase his attempts. But through three games it’s astounding to see such a disparity. If the team had really known Bortles could chew up yards like this, would they have kept starting Henne for so long? I find it hard to believe.

Yards Per Attempt/Adjusted Yards Per Attempt

Blake Bortles: 7.0/5.4

Chad Henne: 6.3/6.5

To further emphasize the above point about increased attempts as a result of moving the ball, we need look no further than yards per attempt. Bortles isn’t doing much better in the standard metric (and worse in adjusted yards per attempt) but he’s been able to move the chains, which matters a heck of a lot more in the NFL. If you can’t stay on the field then you can’t gain yards, as demonstrated by Bortles vs Henne. Henne isn’t bad, but mediocre simply doesn’t win games.

Completion Percentage

Blake Bortles: 67.8%

Chad Henne: 53.8%

The rookie quarterback had the best statistical debut of any rookie in decades and his impressive completion percentage continues to show just how much better he is than Henne. Even with the same receivers dropping balls, Bortles is finding way to complete considerably more passes than Henne. Arguably the most important thing to look at here, Bortles is finding ways to make things happen through the air. Drives stalled far too often due to bad passes from Henne. Bortles isn’t having that problem and is putting the ball in spots where the Jags’ receivers can make plays on the ball.


Blake Bortles: 4/7

Chad Henne: 3/1

If Bortles has one drawback, it is his tendency to make the occasional bad decision, which leads to interceptions. Not all of the interceptions are his fault, but even with the picks there’s no way the Jaguars would revery back to the safe play of Henne. Henne played too safe, leading to a stagnant offense. Bortles takes chances. Still he needs to find ways to get the ball into the endzone more for the Jaguars to increase their abysmal points per game (12 points per game under Bortles).