By now, he has been dissected more than a frog in a high school biology class. Thanks to an uninspiring performance vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it is time to end the Blake Bortles experiment.
I’m sure you are wondering why I’m calling the former third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft an “experiment” right? The answer lies in the film, or the lack of one at QB down in northern Florida.
You would think that someone 6’5, 236 pounds, with the type of physical tools that he possesses, that Bortles would be ready to add his name to the conversation of up-and-coming young quarterbacks, not only in the league, but within his own division.
Indianapolis has Andrew Luck, Tennessee has Marcus Mariota and Houston has a choice between Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson and Jacksonville has…Chad Henne?
Henne, the 32-year-old former Miami Dolphins backup quarterback, has a legitimate chance to unseat the younger and taller Bortles, who should be heading into his prime, instead of worrying about a 2008 second round pick taking his starting spot.
Aside from his bust-level performance of play vs. the Patriots, there is also the financial ramifications of Jacksonville starting Henne over Bortles, thanks to $19 million guaranteed salary in 2018 if he suffers an injury that prevents him from playing next year, per Michael Davis Smith of Pro Football Talk.
Combine that with head coach Doug Marrone’s less-than-stinging endorsement of Bortles’ play, and signs are pointing to Henne starting over Bortles.
How things even got to this point for Bortles is almost beyond comprehension, considering the talent surrounding him in tight end Marcedes Lewis, up-and-coming wide receivers in Allen Robinson, Marquise Lee, Allen Hurns and a formidable three-headed backfield composed of Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon and rookie Leonard Fournette.
After posting career highs in passing yards (4,428), touchdowns (35) and passer rating (88.2), the sight of seeing Bortles float two lame ducks on a nationally televised pre-season game and miss wide open receivers was beyond embarrassing.
Is it a breakdown of mechanics, release point, weight shift and transfer, or simply a lack of confidence that is the issue with Bortles? Perhaps Sherlock Holmes may know the answer. Who knows.
Based on what I witness though, Bortles looked more like a undrafted free agent off the streets than a top five pick, and nothing resembling a franchise quarterback. Yes, it may have only been a meaningless preseason game, but impressions matter and he clearly failed the eye test.
With an incoming draft class that has names such as Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Luke Falk and Lamar Jackson, don’t be shocked if Jaguars executive president of football operations and two-time Super Bowl champion Tom Coughlin, decides to go in a different direction in pulling the trigger on one of them and ending the Bortles era in Jacksonville.