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Jaguars say they intend to give Bortles “a year to develop”

Bortles AP

When we caught wind the day before the draft of the possibility that the Jaguars would pull off the surprise of the night by taking quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall pick, it was explained that the team could go elsewhere for a player who would make an immediate impact with Chad Henne at quarterback.

They didn’t, but that doesn’t mean Henne will be benched.

Appearing on NFL Network’s Total Access, coach Gus Bradley explained that the Jaguars hope to give Bortles some time to watch and learn.

“[W]e really felt comfortable with him coming back, with a another year in the system,” Bradley said.  “And I think it gave us flexibility.   Then when Blake was there available for us, we really wanted to capture that opportunity.  We do feel good about where Blake’s at, but we feel like this time that he has under Chad — a year to develop — will be really good in the end result.”

Bradley echoed comments made the day after Bortles was selected by Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell.  “We’d like to give Chad this whole year and go with Chad this year,” Caldwell told ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning.

Whether they’d “like to” and whether they will are two different things.  If the team doesn’t contend this year, it makes sense to give Bortles game reps once it appears that hope is lost — or at the earliest when it seems hope is close to being loss.

Especially as the fans continue to clamor for the Florida native.

Moreover, Bradley worked for the Seahawks two years ago when the organization had given $10 million guaranteed to Matt Flynn in free agency, picked Russell Wilson in round three, and then handed Wilson the starting job right out of the chute.

In Seattle, it was obvious that Wilson deserved the job; the rookie came in and took over.  If Bortles does that in Jacksonville, Bradley and Caldwell could change their minds.

Installing a first-round quarterback as the backup remains the best play.  If he hits the ground sprinting, he can always be elevated.  But if he’s handed the job from the moment he’s picked and struggles, benching him could be viewed as a concession that maybe the pick should have been used on someone else.

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21 Responses to “Jaguars say they intend to give Bortles “a year to develop””
  1. ravenswhat says: May 21, 2014 7:04 AM

    They’re going to sit their 3rd overall pick? Sure. Not happening. The fans won’t stand for it. I don’t believe any 1st rd QB will sit for a year.

  2. qdog112 says: May 21, 2014 7:29 AM

    Seems like the media has come around to thinking that Bortles, may in fact, be a “do over” for the Gabbert debacle.

    The Jags are hell-bent on correcting that mistake. They now think they have conditions set for Gabbert 2.0, with better surrounding support for Bortles. Good luck with that.

    By all accounts Bortles is big, strong and bright. But he was also pushed to the top of the QB prospects by media hype( like Gabbert), rather than actual play.

    The similarities are really very clear. The pieces in place should help, but I’m not sold on this nice young man as a franchise QB.

  3. gojags says: May 21, 2014 7:39 AM

    Jags Fans – Let the coaches decide. Let us stay away from it and hope Bortles gets ready sooner than expected. Let us not influence this.

    I am sure Gus would make a very good decision on this. So far he has done a great job taking the pressure off from the players(Bortles) and put it on himself.

  4. fstpstr says: May 21, 2014 7:42 AM

    Gabbert got thrown to the wolves before he was ready in a desperate attempt to save Del Rio’s job. Bradley and Caldwell aren’t in that position. They’ll let the kid develop.

  5. DaveKShape says: May 21, 2014 7:43 AM

    It’ll be pretty clear whether Bortles is ready to go or needs a little more time, and I don’t see anything wrong with making the guy try to prove himself a little bit.

  6. jjb0811 says: May 21, 2014 7:49 AM

    Look at the Jets and Bills who threw a rook out there last year w/o talent to help them; bad years and injuries. Now both of those QB’s futures are in doubt after 1 season!

    Jags now have rebuilt O line 2 young WR’s that’ll learn on the job & when Bortles gets the call, he’ll have pieces to work with. Smart choice. Besides contracts are easy to sit on for a year and can always p/u the 5th year option. 1 year of sitting is the way to go.

  7. whooligun says: May 21, 2014 8:08 AM

    Smart move.

  8. cwk22 says: May 21, 2014 8:09 AM

    Good idea. Let Henne lose some more games this year. Get another high draft pick next year. Dump Henne the following year any let the new QB take over.

  9. nationalmediacansuckit says: May 21, 2014 8:18 AM

    But the Jags are going to LA….yeah right. Khan is revitalizing and pouring his own money into this team, stadium and city.

    But the Jags don’t have fans……..avg just under 60k for what started out as an atrocious team last year.

    But the Jags have tarps……… Oh the ten thousand tarps to bring the stadium from 77,000 capacity to 67 k right where most other stadiums are. It’s a huge stadium for the market.

    But they are going to London……just an effort to globalize and more added revenue until this team can return back to form to get the city and local area behind this team that has been mismanaged and dysfunctional for over a decade until Khan purchased the team.

    But they have blackouts………..yeah 2009 was a bad season. 17k season ticket holders cancelled their tickets b/c people were losing jobs left and right and it was either mortgage and food or football tickets. Easy decision. What’s funny is Tampa Miami Buffalo San Diego Oakland St. Louis Minnesota Carolina Cleveland Cincinnati have all had blackouts or some form of extension to avoid blackouts since 2009 but people act as if the Jaguars are the only team to ever have a blackout in the history of the league.

    Look we get it to Jaguars has been a horrible franchise over a decade. This team has been dysfunctional for years now and fans had become apathetic to a certain degree. Why spend our hard earned dollars on a product that is just completely atrocious. Every team has been in this position. I know everyone has short-term memory but every single team has had some bad years or decades because of poor ownership and management. So continue with the 2009 old and tired jokes that are completely irrelevant because we will get our time to shine in the near future. By the way don’t let these facts get in the way of your ignorant opinions. Duuuuuvaaaaaaalllll.

  10. onenineninee says: May 21, 2014 8:48 AM

    Jamarcus Russell 2.0

  11. 6ball says: May 21, 2014 8:55 AM

    .
    Without his “redshirt” year I sincerely doubt Tom Brady would be Tom Brady.
    .

  12. chalkruz1989 says: May 21, 2014 9:09 AM

    I like this tactic for many reasons, two in particular.

    First, Blake Bortles will learn from a seasoned veteran such as Chad Henne who understands the highs-and-lows of the game. Henne was a second round pick who was thrown to the fire early and fizzled because the Miami Dolphins lacked supporting players.

    Secondly, I could be wrong but I do not expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to compete for a playoff spot. They will be competitive but I think it would be great it he’s able to play four or five games to end the season and build some momentum.

  13. shackdelrio says: May 21, 2014 9:11 AM

    There is no pressure on Bradley to win or else. Del Rio was scrambling to keep his job in 2011.

    They will not rush Bortles into the lineup, nor should they.

    Now when we get close to end of the season and the Jaguars are not in playoff contention and three of their last four games are against Houston and Tennessee, I’d be surprised to not see Bortles getting some reps.

    The team is building to compete in 2015.

  14. wallabear says: May 21, 2014 9:18 AM

    Just sounds like another “Gabbert” scenario here. A year to sit behind Chad Henne — yet, you drafted Bortles at No.3? That makes no sense, whatsoever. 2014 AFC South: 1. Indy Colts (12-4); 2. Titans (7-9); 3. Texans (5-11); 4. Jags (4-12). So now, what’s so different from last year, huh?

  15. qdog112 says: May 21, 2014 9:37 AM

    It’s a different NFL where QBs don’t get the luxury of sitting and learning. In short, the window of opportunity is so short for GMs and coaches, that they have to show their “genius” immediately.

    Henne may be serviceable, but what can Bortles gain by holding his clipboard? His situation is way different from a guy under the tutelage of a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.

    If Bortles is your guy, why sit him? Why not allow him to compete for the starting job? If you’re afraid he can’t beat Henne out for the job, then maybe you already have your QB in Henne.

    Would Gabbert have benefited by sitting? What would Russell Wilson have gained from watching Matt Flynn? Coming from Seattle, Gus has to be smarter than that. It must not be his call.

    If Bortles can play, let him play. If he can’t, you have just re-drafted Blaine Gabbert.

  16. iamdinguskhan says: May 21, 2014 11:21 AM

    He can use Henne as a role model and mentor and when it’s time step up and be the next Chad Henne

  17. micknangold says: May 21, 2014 12:01 PM

    Another bonehead first round pick by the Jags. Shocking!

  18. jagsfan2012 says: May 21, 2014 1:51 PM

    In Khan, Dave and Gus we trust.

  19. blancodiablo says: May 21, 2014 4:11 PM

    You don’t draft someone at #3 and let him sit a year behind a career backup. BLUF: If he’s not ready to play, then you shouldn’t have drafted him at #3. The first round, especially the Top 5 picks, are not for project players. You go for impact, not warm milk.

    I hate how the fans have already given up on the ’14 season. “Wait until 2015″! That’s sorry. Its the same backward thinking that lost us a home game to London.

    Put the kid in and let him take his knocks. He’s not doing anyone any good on the bench because no one learns by watching. If they did, we would all be starting in the NFL and beating up our girlfriends in casino elevators.

  20. simonator917 says: May 21, 2014 11:24 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the best player in the game today, namely Aaron Rodgers, sit for a couple of years? It doesn’t seem to have adversely affected him.

    Bortles should definitely sit for at least half of the season to, at a minimum, allow the other parts of the offense to coalesce. I think the Jags should take a look at how the Jets handled Mark Sanchez and do the opposite, because that’s who Bortles reminds me of with his limited college experience and turning pro so early. I hope I’m wrong.

  21. oldcracker says: May 25, 2014 2:04 PM

    I wonder if Bortles’ agent found him an apartment in LA, yet? He has to think about “her” career, too. Vroom, vroom…hear those Mayflower trucks starting up in Jacksonville?

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