Blake Bortles threw for 117 yards, completing 7 our of his 11 pass attempts in his NFL debut. Still, the Jaguars are not entirely convinced the rookie is ready to take over the reigns at starting quarterback. Head coach Gus Bradley told the media that he, “wouldn’t count,” on Bortles getting first team reps this week, despite his positive performance.
Bortles was drafted with the third overall pick in May’s draft, and the Jaguars organization has expressed their desire to keep Bortles on the sideline for the majority of his rookie season. The goal is for average quarterback Chad Henne to steer the offense for however long it takes for Bortles to develop into a formidable signal caller.
It’t not a bad plan, as Henne has proven he is a decent NFL quarterback, and he’s capable of leading a team that is rebuilding. Henne can help mentor Bortles until Blake is ready to become the leading man in Jacksonville.
He has the mobility and stature to extend plays, which has gotten him compared to two time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Patience is a good thing for the Jaguars to have. The last time the Jags rushed a rookie quarterback into the starting lineup was when Blaine Gabbert started for Jacksonville during the 2011 season. To say Gabbert was a bust would be being very, very generous. The inept quarterback finished his Jaguars career with 24 interceptions, 22 touchdowns and a pedestrian 66.4 quarterback rating. Gabbert has since been traded from the team, much to the delight of Jaguars fans everywhere.
Comparing Bortles to Gabbert is a little harsh, so I’ll take a step back.
Bortles is a big quarterback (6 ft 5) with a big arm, and big expectations to meet. He has the mobility and stature to extend plays, which has gotten him compared to two time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Bortles’ mechanics are a little shaky, but that can all be adjusted. The rookie out of UCF displayed good leadership skills in his pre-season debut, but he was also playing against a vanilla defense. A type of defense that teams won’t play come week one.
Blake Bortles is going to be the franchise quarterback for the Jaguars. That part is undeniable. You don’t spend the third overall pick on a player just to watch him hold a clipboard forever. Another undeniable fact is that Blake possesses the tools to succeed, both mental and physical.
His success all depends on whether or not he is forced to play before he’s ready. Bortles’ time will come, but the Jaguars are smart to make sure that time isn’t immediately. It also seems like Jaguars fans agree with the strategy to sit Bortles until he’s ready, which is the polar opposite of what’s going on in Cleveland with that Johnny Manziel guy.
Look at it this way, you wouldn’t give your newly licensed 17 year old child the keys to your Ferrari, would you?