When the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Blake Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, there were many who thought that the team jumped way too early. It appears that the team had a plan for Bortles all along as Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said that the team plans to have Bortles sit and not play during his rookie season allowing him to learn from starter Chad Henne. Henne signed a two-year contract in March before Jacksonville took Bortles.
The idea is quite smart considering the fact that the Jaguars are building for the future and are starting from scratch with Maurice Jones-Drew now gone and Justin Blackmon being suspended indefinitely by the league. Jacksonville did take two wide receivers in the second round of the draft in Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson to take over the receiving duties but they would be better off with Henne in charge for their first year anyway. Here is Bradley on the plan to sit Bortles.
This will allow Bortles not to get thrown right into the fire and maybe in the end, it works out for the best in Jacksonville. The AFC South appears to be top heavy with the Indianapolis Colts going into the 2014 season. If the Jaguars can show some patience and can allow Bortles to sit out the entire 2014 season, they can have him come in with a year under his belt in the league and he can be the starter in 2015. That probably isn’t what fans in Jacksonville want to hear but it isn’t terribly likely that the team turns this around in just a year. Bortles showed in college at Central Florida what he can do in a tough situation especially during this game-winning drive against Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville.
The question that needs to be asked however would be what the team does if Henne gets hurt or is very ineffective early in the season. The fans and media are going to be on Bradley to pull the trigger and put Bortles out there with nothing to lose. The Jaguars play three of their first four games on the road against teams that are all expected to be in the playoffs or close to it. If Jacksonville starts 0-4, the pressure is going to be on. Bradley should start to his plan however even if that happens because the team can’t afford to get into another Blaine Gabbert situation and watch their first round quarterback lose their confidence under heavy pressure. Bortles will see the field soon enough but it isn’t going to be during the 2014 season.