Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles has been one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the entire preseason, showing great chemistry with rising young wideout Allen Hurns. In the first game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bortles showed impressive command of the pocket and knifed through Lovie Smith’s zone defense, and he followed that up with an assured display and an 11-17-160 line against the Chicago Bears.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Michael DiRocco, the Jaguars will give Bortles reps with the first-team offense at practice this week, though head coach Gus Bradley implied that this doesn’t reflect any changes in the team’s views on the QB position. When they drafted Bortles, they made it clear that they wanted to let him develop behind Chad Henne, and while Henne is a subpar QB, it made plenty of sense given Bortles’s status as a raw player and his future upside. But Bortles has soaked up the playbook and adapted faster than expected, with both preseason performances reflecting this.
The Florida Times Union’s Ryan O’Halloran reports that Bortles will get one quarter of work in with the first team in the preseason game against the Detroit Lions, and this will give us a much better sense of where Bortles is out. Getting reps with the first team at practice is an important evaluation point for the staff, but it will be especially important to see how Bortles fares out against first-team competition of other teams after seemingly feasting on backups in the first two games. Decision-making and technique are the two big sticking points for Bortles, so we’ll see how he sees the field and anticipates throws when facing higher quality defenders on the Lions, whose backup secondary would get torched with ease, based on how well Bortles did in the first two contests.