While they have little experience behind their starter, the Jacksonville Jaguars should feel good about what they have at backup quarterback in 2018.
The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback situation was a complete mess heading into the 2017 regular season. After a down year, Blake Bortles had a rough training camp and an even more rough preseason, one in which he was benched in favor of veteran Chad Henne for the pivotal third exhibition game.
Thankfully Bortles overcame that adversity and had his best season to date, all while taking swaths of undeserved criticism throughout the year.
All that being said, if the Jaguars had a relatively decent backup quarterback last year, Bortles might never have gotten back on the field after getting benched. As respected as Henne might be as a veteran, he’s objectively just not that good – he’s a known.
Going into 2018, the Jaguars no longer have a ‘known’ at backup QB and that might be a good thing. We don’t how good Cody Kessler and Tanner Lee could be; granted, we also don’t know how bad they could be.
But odds are Kessler can be better than Chad Henne.
Brad Gagnon over at Bleacher Report put together his rankings of each teams backup QB situation and he had the Jaguars at 14.
"14. Jacksonville JaguarsStarter: Blake BortlesBackups: Cody Kessler, Tanner LeeKessler might have lost all eight of his starts with the Browns in 2016, but the rookie was thrown to the wolves with a terrible team. He still managed to complete 65.6 percent of his passes while tossing only two interceptions and posting a 92.3 passer rating during that run.Throw in a solid 2017 preseason showing, and the 25-year-old isn’t a bad insurance policy for Bortles.The Jags could just use a little more experience back there, because rookie sixth-round pick Tanner Lee isn’t close to ready."
Kessler was in one of the worst situations you could possibly imagine for a rookie quarterback two years ago, almost as bad as what Bortles had to deal with under Gus Bradley. He actually put up pretty respectable stats despite having essentially no talent around him. Kessler doesn’t have a rocket arm but he seems to be a fairly good decision maker and seems like an ideal guy to have in the reserves.
We don’t know much about Kessler but we have even less to go off of with Tanner Lee, a rookie who didn’t exactly light it up at Nebraska. He’s a candidate for the practice squad.