Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley has been fairly clear for most of this offseason that Henne will be the team's starting quarterback. He made that declaration back in March, per Jaguars.com writer John Oehser.
Many, including Green Bay Packers ace QB Aaron Rodgers, have endorsed the idea of going with Henne and sitting Bortles for a year, per SportsOnEarth.com writer Dan Pompei.
But that was before the preseason. There's no doubt that Bortles has opened a few eyes to his immediate potential following two creditable efforts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.
Despite it only being exhibition stuff, Bortles is already drawing favorable comparisons to a current Super Bowl-winning signal-caller, as well as posting some great numbers.
NFL.com writer Chris Wesseling offered this breakdown:
Playing like an evolutionary Ben Roethlisberger, Bortles impressed for the second consecutive week, showing pocket poise, command of the offense, ideal size, mobility and a cannon arm that allows him to make even the toughest NFL throws. His skills are a perfect match for offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's scheme, which relies heavily on boot-action.
Bortles finished 11 of 17 for 160 yards, bringing his two-game total to 18 of 28 (64.2 percent) for 277 yards (9.89 per attempt).
Meanwhile, CBS Sports reporter Will Brinson stated that Bortles is putting pressure on Bradley's immediate thinking:
But Bortles showed Thursday precisely why there's so much chatter about him not needing the 2014 season to sit.
The biggest concern with Bortles was lobbing him into the fire as a rookie, but he appears to be handling it just fine, with the added bonus of not generating unnecessary hype.
Bortles, who finished 11 for 17 Thursday, didn't force the Jaguars hand. But he's putting some serious pressure on them to expedite their plans for when he's going to become the starting quarterback.
It's always seemed like a strange decision to go with Henne and leave Bortles prowling the sidelines as a rookie. The Jags are a young team that will be improved this year but are still essentially in rebuilding mode.
That's the ideal time to play a first-year passer. It's also more pertinent when considering the team used consecutive second-round picks on wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.
Why not let Bortles develop alongside his eventual supporting cast? As NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah tweets:
It's going to be fun to watch JAX offense grow together. Rookies Bortles, Lee, Robinson & Hurns should play together for a long time.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) August 15, 2014
But it's not just developments on offense that make starting Bortles seem like the smarter choice. The defense should be much better this season and will likely be the driving force of the team.
Defense-led teams are exactly the ones that can protect rookie quarterbacks and absorb their mistakes. Sitting Bortles now just seems like it's needlessly delaying the inevitable.
Of course, starting jobs and pro-ready bona fides aren't always established in preseason. In fact, they hardly ever are.
However, with a strong defense acting as a safety net, along with an experienced backup in Henne, Bortles could learn at his own pace while gaining that precious on-field experience.
Sooner rather than later, the Jags are going to have find out if Bortles is worth the investment of a draft's third pick. Why bother waiting?