A year ago, people thought Jacksonville was ready to turn it around. They had a young and improved defensive unit and most importantly, they had Blake Bortles, who was ready to take the next step and lead his team out of the cellar in the AFC South.
Turns out one was true. The Jacksonville defense gave up only 215.3 passing yards per game (5th in NFL) and just 321.7 total yards per game last season (6th in NFL). Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t contribute in the slightest. The Jaguars offense averaged a meager 19.9 points per game (25th in NFL), while also committing 29 giveaways (4th in NFL). Of those 29 turnovers, 22 belonged to quarterback Blake Bortles.
The young QB took a step back in 2016, having fewer yards and touchdowns than in 2015, his quarterback rating dropped ten points (88.2 to 78.8), and most importantly, led his team to an uninspired 3-13 record.
The team entered training camp with hopes that Bortles would take control of the position in the offseason and get back on track, but that has not been the case. Bortles has had one scoring drive (a field goal) in six attempts so far in the preseason. Backup Chad Henne has looked like the better option in all aspects of the game, completing a high percentage of passes, throwing for more yards, and looks more comfortable than Bortles in the pocket.
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Head coach Doug Marrone is understandably frustrated with the situation the team finds itself in, and wasn’t afraid to let everyone know how he feels. After a poor performance in their 2nd preseason game, the coach said,
I met with both quarterbacks afterwards. I told them what I’m looking for is, I’m looking for someone who is going to lead this offense.
I’m not happy with the performance today. I’m not going to sit here and B.S. anyone. Everyone saw it out there. Whatever you want to call it, I’m still trying to evaluate who the best person is at that position.
Earlier in the offseason, Marrone also said if everything goes well this season, he wants to throw the ball zero times a game. This all adds up to bad news for Jacksonville. The Jags are a good QB away from being a contending team in the AFC South, but Doug Marrone has conceded there isn’t one on their roster. Blake Bortles has backtracked into a subpar player, backing up enough to allow Chad Henne a chance to start in the NFL again, something probably even Chad thought would never happen.
In the end, this team’s maximum potential is 6-10 this season because of the underwhelming quarterback play, so really no matter who wins this quarterback battle, The Jaguars lose.
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