Blake Bortles was named the starting quarterback for Jacksonville’s season opener in Houston. It is more than a matter of semantics to repeat that he has been named the starter only for the season opener.
Head coach Doug Marrone said the decision was made based on who he thought gave the Jaguars the best chance to win the game. That does not necessarily translate to who the best quarterback is nor would Marrone commit to Bortles being the starter for the season.
It is quite possible that Chad Henne’s lack of mobility was deemed too big a risk behind a severely flawed offensive line facing the strong pass rush of Houston. If the Jaguars’ quarterback has to run for his life, at least Bortles has a fighting chance to escape.
Regardless of the reason, it is clear Bortles is on a short leash. When asked how Bortles’ accuracy and decision-making were developing, Coach Marrone simply said it was good enough to say he offers the best chance to beat Houston.
Whether Henne starts against lesser defenses or after the offensive line improves is anybody’s guess. It will be interesting to see how reps are shared in the weeks leading to the season opener. It is unlikely Marrone would make a switch mid-game unless Bortles has a complete meltdown.
Bortles offers a stronger arm and a bigger willingness to go deep. Unfortunately, the Houston pass rush will make that very difficult. If Tom Coughlin has any influence on game calling, I would expect a run-run-pass pattern to evolve with an occasional screen and short play-action pass to keep Houston guessing a bit.
Jacksonville’s defense is not that impressed with Houston’s quarterback situation, either. They could keep the game close enough that Bortles does not have to be cut loose in a comeback bid.
Should Leonard Fournette and friends move the chains, there could be enough touches to accommodate a second or third back in the mix. If they don’t, this could become the Leonard Fournette show until he looks tired or hurt, at which point Chris Ivory will get a shot. Either way, I am not buying into the Fournette hype against Houston. In fact, there is no one on Jacksonville I would want in my starting lineup for week one.
On the other hand, there is Houston…
From Houston, Tom Savage is a game control quarterback. He can hit DeAndre Hopkins on occasion but he is not a fantasy worthy QB at this point. Hopkins is his main target and is always a possibility to break one. If I have other good options, they are starting over the Texan wideout. But he has enough of a ceiling to be far from a terrible play.
Lamar Miller faces a defense with the potential to surprise, but he will find holes and is a must-play as a borderline RB1. The Houston defense is also a no-brainer. Mobile or not, the Texan rushers will catch Bortles for several sacks and a couple of turnovers.
Jacksonville’s quarterback situation is unsettling for fans and probably for the players, too. Marrone will have to be careful not to create rifts among the players as he manages a difficult situation. Until things settle down, Jacksonville will not offer much in the way of fantasy relevance.
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