Blake Bortles did not have a good night

'No predictions, but this could be interesting'

By Mark Brunell, News4Jax Jaguars analyst

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Typically at the end of a Jaguar game, I take my time and think through my takeaways from the four quarters of play. Not tonight. I'm writing this during halftime of the Jaguar Buccaneer preseason game because I've seen what I think will be a significant development at the quarterback position.

I'm not making any predictions as to who starts the season for us. But I believe it will be very interesting as to who gets the first string reps this week.

Blake Bortles did not have a good night. His numbers weren't horrible -- 8 of 13 for 65 yards. No touchdowns. No interceptions. But there were two throws that were overly disappointing that must frustrate Doug Marrone as much as they frustrate the fans.

In the beginning of the second quarter, Blake Bortles severely under threw a wide open Allen Robinson on a "go" route.  In the NFL, it's not easy to get a wide receiver wide open, but when you do, you have make the throw. In this case, Blake did not. And in many cases, Blake HAS NOT.

On a night when the offense was clearly struggling against the Tampa defense, the team needed a spark. Nothing changes the momentum of a game like a quarterback hitting his star receiver in stride on a big play.  Unfortunately, this was not the only bad throw.

With 6:57 left in the 2nd, Blake had the opportunity to hit a "dig" route for another big play. What could have been a 15 yard gain turned into yet another incompletion.   Inexplicably the ball bounced at least five yards short. Like I said, it was not a good night.

OK, let's look at a couple other throws made in the first half of the game. Chad Henne's throws. His first half numbers were 0-2 for 0 yards. It doesn't sound impressive, but it was. Chad came in with the offensive starters with about  two minutes left on the clock. His first throw was a perfectly thrown post route in the end zone. But it was dropped by rookie Keelan Cole.

His second throw was, again, a perfectly thrown post route in the end zone. But it was dropped by Allen Robinson. Contested, but dropped. Chad was aggressive. Chad looked confident.  He made good decisions and threw the ball with intent. Even with just a couple throws, Chad made a strong case for himself.

Clearly, I'm stirring it up a little. But I don't think it's a reach to say that there's a chance Blake Bortles doesn't start the season for the Jaguars.

Let me be clear: I don't want this to happen. I like Blake. He's a hard working young quarterback that could certainly turn this around and be the guy we all hope he can be. But I like winning, too. I want the guy in there that gives us the best chance.

I honestly would be surprised if some serious conversations aren't had by Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone in the next couple days. Again, no predictions, but this could be interesting.

Stay tuned. 

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