Bortles enters earlier than expected

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The plan entering Thursday night’s Jaguars-Bears preseason game included Jacksonville using veteran quarterback Chad Henne in the first half and rookie quarterback Blake Bortles in the second.  But with 30 snaps for Henne and the starting offense and with time left in the second quarter, the Jaguars inserted Bortles into the game early.

The rookie promptly led the Jaguars offense on a nine-play, 50-yard drive that culminated in a 43-yard field goal from kicker Josh Scobee.  During that march, Bortles completed three of five passes for 50 yards.

Bortles returned with less than a minute on a drive that started deep in the Jacksonville end of the field.  He completed his first three passes but showed little sensitivity to the importance of allowing his wideouts to get out of bounds.  After spiking the ball with one second left, Bortles found receiver Allen Hurns in a gap in the deep zone coverage.  The 45-yard gain ended at the Chicago 23.

Bortles finished the half completing seven of 10 passes for 114 yards.

The Jaguars have given Bortles no first-team reps in practice or in the preseason, which strongly suggests that they intend to keep him on the bench when the regular season begins.  How long he stays there depends on how well Henne performs.

On Thursday night, Henne threw 17 passes, completing 12 and generating 130 yards and a touchdown.