Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters after the Jaguars' 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field on Thursday night that Bortles and Chad Henne will share first-team reps before making a decision for the September 10 season opener against the Houston Texans.
Are Blake Bortles' days as the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback numbered? In 2013, Henne kept the starting job after Blaine Gabbert was cleared medically.
If he is not the starter, it nearly behooves the Jaguars to cut bait and start anew without Bortles, and the team has not shown fear in making big and surprising QB decisions at the end of the preseason. Between the Blaine Gabbert and Bortles eras there was a gap that was occupied by Henne.
"I'm not happy with the performance today", Marrone said. The Jaguars punted three plays later and never got their starting offense on track, producing just 59 first-half yards. Retired for two years but still only 34, Orton played well in 2014 with the Bills, where Marrone was the head coach and Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett held that same position.
The odd part about Marrone's post-game comments came when he was asked if Bortles had presented mounting evidence to justify giving Henne a chance. "I'm not going to sit here and say how much ground he's gained".
Henne had two passes dropped in the end zone and later had a third pass dropped by his receiver. Allen completed 10-of-15 passes for 144 passing yards and a touchdown.
"I need someone to lead this offense", Marrone said. I think you've got to treat adversity and prosperity the same way. His 2017 salary is guaranteed but that would create a roster spot for an extra player or for a third quarterback they can use the season to look at in practice.
More trouble for Myers: Kicker Jason Myers missed a 40-yard field goal attempt and a PAT on Thursday, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the team works out a couple kickers Friday or Saturday and signs one to compete with Myers next week.
"We're going to figure this thing out", Marrone said.
This comes as bad news for Blake Bortles, who after a disappointing 2016 season, is facing a "make-or-break" season, according to ESPN's Michael DiRocco.