As the Jacksonville Jaguars aim to give Blake Bortles one more opportunity to be the franchise quarterback, they have failed in providing a reasonable backup plan should Bortles falter this season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Monday that they have picked up the fifth-year option on quarterback Blake Bortles. The move has come as a surprise to most, but it certainly doesn’t indicate that the team still has a long term commitment to Bortles. But what it has done is solidify the notion that the team is fully prepared to give Bortles one last chance to be the guy in Jacksonville.
So while it seems the Jaguars have strengthened their stance on Blake Bortles getting his shot in 2017, the team is failing in one crucial area: providing a reliable backup plan if Bortles cannot turn his game around.
There’s no reason to believe that there isn’t a chance Bortles can fix things and place himself back on the mantle of being the quarterback for the foreseeable future for the Jaguars. He has spent this offseason working on his mechanics, and has been surrounded by more key pieces on offense, mainly first round pick Leonard Fournette. But what if he doesn’t get it fixed?
When free agency rolled around, the team decided not to bring in a veteran quarterback to put some heat on Bortles, while also having an experienced guy to call upon if things did go south with Bortles.
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When that occurred, it seemed the team may be destined to key in on a young gun in the draft. But that too turned out not to be the case.
It’s unclear if the Jaguars would have considered pulling the trigger on a guy like Deshaun Watson, or another top prospect, if they began to slide down the draft board. But the real surprise for me is that the team decided not to take a flyer on a guy in the mid to late rounds, and even passed on a signing an undrafted free agent once the draft had ended.
So what is the Jaguars’ plan if Bortles indeed cannot turn things around when the season gets going? Right now the backups on the roster are Chad Henne and Brandon Allen, a 2016 sixth round pick who has yet to see any playing time. If that depth chart was to hold up when the season starts, and it did become clear that Bortles cannot be the guy any longer, I would expect the team would turn to Allen and see what they have with him before plugging Chad Henne back in to the starting role. But that is far from a comforting position for the team to potentially put themselves in.
Whether the team will have a move in place before the start of the season to shore up the quarterback position will have to be seen, and Bortles will have his say in whether or not he is in the picture for the future of the team. But as it stands right now, things will become very tedious for the Jaguars in 2017 if the Blake Bortles experience skids to a disappointing conclusion in Jacksonville.