Chad Henne, Brandon Allen Enter Jags' QB Battle After Blake Bortles Struggles

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

An already rough preseason got even worse for Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles as Chad Henne played with the first team in Thursday's 12-8 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Henne replaced Bortles on Jacksonville's fifth drive of the game in the second quarter after the Jaguars' first four possessions ended in punts.

"It's right up there for grabs and either person can grab it," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said of the team's quarterback battle, per ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco.

Marrone added he's willing to consider starting Brandon Allen as well, according to First Coast News' Mike Kaye.

Bortles finished 8-of-13 for 65 yards, while Henne went 6-of-10 for 44 yards. Allen had the best game, throwing for 144 yards and a touchdown on 10-of-15 passing.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport was among many surprised to see Henne replace Bortles with Jacksonville's first unit:

The Jaguars' preseason may only be two weeks old, but social media overwhelming favors the team going in a different direction at quarterback:

ESPN Stats & Info noted the Jaguars have scored three points on the six drives in which Bortles has played this preseason.

It's hard to imagine how training camp and the preseason could be unfolding worse for the fourth-year passer.

He threw five interceptions during a seven-on-seven drill July 30, and things haven't improved from there. After Bortles received fewer reps with the team in practice, head coach Doug Marrone chalked it up to fatigue in his throwing arm. During drills against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jags wide receiver Allen Robinson couldn't help but voice his exasperation with Bortles, per Pewter Report (Warning: video contains NSFW language):

The fact the Jaguars could reasonably consider starting Henne ahead of Bortles is a damning indictment of the latter's progress—or lack thereof.

Bortles is set to make a little over $19 million in 2018, but none of that is guaranteed. Should he continue to struggle or get replaced by Henne, he could potentially be out of a job at the end of the season—four years after the Jaguars selected him with the third overall pick.