The plan all along has been for Jaguars first-round draft pick Blake Bortles to spend his rookie season on the bench, learning the NFL game while Chad Henne starts at quarterback in Jacksonville. But Bortles is making it tough for the Jaguars’ coaching staff to stick to that plan.
Bortles completed 11 of 17 passes for 160 yards on Thursday night at Chicago, and he looked very comfortable running the Jaguars’ offense. That puts him at 18-of-28 passes for 277 yards through two games of the preseason, and perhaps most importantly, he hasn’t turned the ball over yet.
“It’s a confidence booster,” Bortles said after the game. “It’s one of our big points of emphasis, so having no turnovers is huge for us.”
The Jaguars’ website went so far as to dub the buzz around Bortles as “BortlesMania,” although the team is still insisting that Henne will be the starter this season.
Henne played fairly well against the Bears, and there seems to be little doubt that he’ll be the starter for Week One. But the way Bortles has played in the preseason, it’s going to be hard for the Jaguars to justify keeping him on the bench if Henne struggles. This wasn’t supposed to be a competition, but Bortles is turning it into one.