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Jaguars stuck with Blake Bortles, Chad Henne competition

The Jacksonville Jaguars have not reached the postseason since 2007, back when David Garrard was slinging the pigskin and Jack Del Rio was roaming the sideline.

Since then, it has been a long road down to the basement in the AFC South. Last year, many believed the Jaguars were going to take a step forward after Blake Bortles had thrown for 4,400 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2015. Instead, the team went tumbling to a 3-13 finish, one of the more disappointing seasons in a long line of disappointing seasons.

Now, Jacksonville is through a pair of preseason games, and there isn’t much reason to believe 2017 is going to be better. Head coach Doug Marrone is already talking about giving backup quarterback Chad Henne some time with the first-string offense, a notion he followed through with on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field. Bortles began the game and played into the second quarter, completing 8-of-13 for 65 yards. However, Bortles missed some open windows, including a deep ball to Allen Robinson.

Henne came in to relieve Bortles and didn’t fare much better, hitting on 6-of-10 throws for a paltry 44 yards. Henne was mostly conservative and while he didn’t make the big mistakes that Bortles has become known for, he certainly didn’t inspire confidence for Jaguars fans. In related news, Jacksonville was shut out throughout the first three quarters of the night.

Bortles is entering his fourth season. At 25 years old, the former first-round pick needs to fulfill his potential or face being shipped out of town. The team did pick up his fifth-year option, but the Jaguars can still move on without penalty.

The fact that Marrone is thinking about Henne taking over might say more than any preseason statistics can possibly tell. Henne has never been more than a below-average starter or a good backup, and at 32 years old, he isn’t the future. If Henne is able to overtake a healthy Bortles, it would signal the hope for a mediocre play. In other words, Bortles would be looking for work come March.

Jacksonville has a decent roster. The offensive line is bad, but there are some skill position players who can make a difference. The defense is loaded with big names ranging from A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey to Calais Campbell, Dante Fowler Jr. and Malik Jackson. If a decent quarterback was running the show, the Jaguars might be able to challenge in the weak AFC South.

As it stands, the only hope for respectability is Bortles stepping up and ending his mistake-prone ways. Without that, the Jaguars will be looking up at the competition… again.

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