Chad Henne to Start Jaguars vs. Panthers; Blake Bortles to Receive 1st-Team Reps

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) looks on as quarterback Chad Henne (7) throws a pass during practice at NFL football training camp, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Chad Henne—and not Blake Bortles—will reportedly start the Jacksonville Jaguars' preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday at EverBank Field.       

Ian Rapoport of reported the news Wednesday. Rapoport also noted this is the first time head coach Doug Marrone will see how Henne handles starting, but both signal-callers will see action with the first team.

It is not surprising they will split time with the first team, considering Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reported Sunday a Jaguars player called the practice snaps between the two quarterbacks "dead even."

While Bortles started Jacksonville's last preseason contest—a 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home—Henne saw time with the first unit as well. Neither impressed statistically, with Henne going 6-of-10 and Bortles finishing 8-of-13. But multiple drops from receivers hurt Henne, while Bortles turned heads with an ugly underthrow to Allen Robinson on a deep ball.

The 32-year-old Henne hasn't carved out a dominant career for himself since the Miami Dolphins selected him in the second round of the 2008 draft out of Michigan. He has 58 touchdown throws and 63 interceptions in eight seasons with the Dolphins and Jaguars, and his last regular-season pass attempt came in 2014.

It is an indictment on Bortles that he hasn't separated himself, especially since he was widely seen as the franchise's quarterback of the future after the Jags took him with the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2014.

However, the Jaguars have scored a mere three points with Bortles under center in six preseason drives, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Thursday's start feels like an opportunity for Henne to make a move in the quarterback race with the Sept. 10 season opener against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium approaching.