Doug Marrone: Blake Bortles looks 'best I've seen him' since benching

Ruben Hill
August 30, 2017

It all came to a head on earlier this month, as head coach Doug Marrone demoted Bortles from being the definitive starter ahead of the regular season.

He outplayed Henne in the game and took the job back, and Marrone says his footwork and composure have looked much improved since. A few days after the preseason opener against the Patriots, Bortles threw two interceptions so ugly that Marrone pulled him and said he must have a exhausted arm.

Starters and front-line players often don't play extensively in the fourth game of the National Football League preseason as teams try to rest players in advance of the regular season. That works out to an average of 4.5 yards per attempt; in Thursday's outing Bortles averaged 7.8 yards per attempt.

Henne started Thursday's exhibition against the Panthers and had some decent moments, but the 10th-year pro also got sacked three times in the first half, had a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage and badly overthrew a receiver down the middle of the field.

Blake Bortles is getting another shot as Jacksonville's starting quarterback.

Instead, he regressed in 2016. Bortles showed improvement in the Jaguars' third preseason game, but the competition will be monumentally tougher in Week 1 against J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans.

"I've seen him build upon his last performance", Marrone said. "I'm going to do everything I can to help this team win and play as hard as I possibly can so I don't have to go through that again". This much is certain: Bortles has more upside than Henne and should be more effective scrambling behind what appears to be a shaky offensive line this season.

"Definitely for him, it's still proving that he's a franchise quarterback", Henne said. The only way to do that is to win games. And many of his decisions were suspect at best, leaving coaches and teammates shaking their heads. "For me, personally, it's the best I've seen him". But he still has a ways to go to prove he's a long-term solution at the all-important position. "Yeah, he had flaws here and there, but at the end of the day I feel like he can go out there and make it happen". He completed 12 of 16 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, but he also tried to squeeze a pass in to Allen Hurns that got intercepted and returned to the Jaguars' 3-yard line.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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