Even though it’s only a preseason game, the decision of who to start Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers will dictate the future at QB.
After the 2015 season, it appeared the Jacksonville Jaguars had found the answer at quarterback. Even though the team only finished with 5 wins, the ascension of Blake Bortles in his second season was enough to buoy optimism heading into the 2016 season.
Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks Blake Bortles can be an effective starter, let alone an above average passer in the NFL.
Things have become grim in Jacksonville in regards to the quarterback. The team now has Bortles splitting first team reps with Chad Henne, a guy who gave up on being a starting quarterback almost 4 years ago when he signed with Jacksonville to be a backup.
The even split on reps at first team quarterback seemingly conflicts with what head coach Doug Marrone has publicly stated:
So what is the plan? To alternate series with the first team on Thursday night? Or is Marrone playing coy and he knows who will be the starting quarterback?
Even if Henne and Blake split snaps on Thursday, whoever trots out there first will have the upper hand.
If it’s Blake Bortles, then we know they are holding out hope that Bortles miraculously figures things out before the start of the regular season.
If it’s Henne, then I contend it signals the end of Blake Bortles as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Marrone is sending a message if he benches Blake and it makes no sense for him to sit Bortles now and then start him week 1 of the regular season.
Of course, then there is the unthinkable scenario where Henne starts and looks awful, followed by Bortles coming in and lighting it up. If this happens, Marrone’s in quite a pickle and honestly I’m not sure what I would do. Well, besides quietly lobby to the front office to do something to upgrade the quarterback position (personally, I’d be calling Green Bay and asking about Brett Hundley).
It sounds like we won’t know until early Thursday evening, but whatever decision Marrone makes is going to have implications this year and beyond.