As expected, the beginning of the Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville is on hold indefinitely.
After his team's preseason Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions, head coach Gus Bradley announced the decision, per Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union:
Gus says Henne week 1 starter.— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 23, 2014
The decision has been in the works since the Jaguars drafted Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft. The UCF product has been nothing short of impressive during the preseason—as one can glean from his 10-of-16 effort for 158 yards and a touchdown Friday night while in charge of the first-team offense.
It is a fact that is not lost on Bradley:
Gus - "Blake's doing good things, I can't argue that."— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 23, 2014
Gus on his back-up QB: "I like that he takes risks and attacks the situation." #Jaguars— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 23, 2014
Again, Bortles could do little to change a fundamental way of thinking by the current regime, and that does not sound as if it will change any time soon, as illustrated by John Oehser of Jaguars.com:
Jaguars HC Gus Bradley says QB Chad Henne definitely will start opener. No change and door is not open for Blake Bortles.— John Oehser (@JohnOehser) August 23, 2014
For his part, Henne—who completed 61 percent of his passes last year in 15 appearances en route to 3,241 yards, 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions—has never wavered in his approach to the starting role:
Henne; "From Day One, they said I was the guy and until they tell me I’m not, I’m going to go out there and keep working." #Jaguars— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 23, 2014
It is a decision that will draw criticism from all angles.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports indicates how Bortles is one of many promising rookie quarterbacks waiting for their opportunity:
So many intriguing/talented rookie QBs this season (Bortles, Teddy, Manziel, Jimmy G, Carr, etc) And likely none of them start season opener— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) August 23, 2014
Fans want to see the future now, not later. Bortles has been the superior quarterback this preseason in the minds of most, regardless of whether or not the games matter or if he does it consistently against first-team defenses.
That said, Bradley's stubbornness to his core values as a coach is admirable. Really, throwing a first-year quarterback to the wolves often doesn't pan out, so most would be wise to withhold a final judgment as the lengthy rebuild continues.
Like it or not, it will be a proven veteran under center in Week 1 for the Jaguars when they visit Philadelphia.