The Jaguars have a plan and they’re sticking to it. At least they say they do. As everyone knows, the plan is to have incumbent veteran quarterback Chad Henne start the entire 2014 season while first-round pick Blake Bortles learns from the sideline, with a clipboard.
On paper this plan makes sense. You don’t want Bortles to pick up some bad habits and the team around him is far from a Super Bowl contender. He doesn’t have a Hall Of Fame receiver to lean on, no running back on the roster has ever been a full-time starter and the offensive line probably has more questions than answers, especially at the center position.
In theory, having the rookie sit could be the best thing for his long term growth, and we know that the Jaguars are thinking long-term.
In actuality, this “plan” seems almost impossible to execute.
The incumbent starter can almost never succeed when there’s a first-round pick sitting behind him. The only situations when the starter did succeed was when Drew Brees fought off Philip Rivers (only for a year) and when Brett Favre made Aaron Rodgers enjoy his clipboard time.
Let’s be honest, Chad Henne is no Drew Brees or Brett Favre. Those guys are Super Bowl champions and Hall of Famers. Chad Henne is by all practical purposes, a JAG (just a guy).
Even Hall of Fame hopeful quarterback Kurt Warner couldn’t hold off an erratic rookie named Eli Manning for more than a handful of games. How are we expecting Henne to do it?
Chad Henne knows the situation and he’s been here before.
“I’m not the guy to be jealous,” he said. “I’m happy for him. I’m happy for every player to do their best and play well. When it’s my opportunity, I have to take advantage of my opportunities.
“When it’s not, I just cheer on the player.”
Chad Henne is clearly a team guy and he “knows the score.”
He’s not going to be the long-term answer in Jacksonville, that’s Blake Bortles job. He has to mentor the rookie and help him develop, all the while being a solid starting quarterback and if he can succeed he’ll be rewarded with a contract….somewhere else.
There’s a saying that reads, “the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town.” That’s mostly true unless you have an “elite” starting quarterback. When it’s a journeyman who already lost his job in one town, there’s good reason why the backup is so popular. Especially when the backup is yet to throw his first interception, and there’s more #5 jerseys sitting in the stands than any other number.
Blake Bortles looked brilliant in his first preseason game. He completed 7 of 11 throws for 117 yards which included 3 dropped passes by his receivers. He was nearly perfect. Meanwhile, Henne struggled with snaps flying over his head (not his fault) against a much better first-string Buccaneers defense.
A top pick at quarterback represents hope for a franchise that hasn’t had any in a long time. After living through the mediocrity of Byron Leftwich and David Garrard, Jaguars fans had to endure the utter ineptitude of Blaine Gabbert, who Jaguars fans are making t-shirts of showing Gabbert fumbling and saying “I survived the Blaine Gabbert era.”
It’s more than understandable why the fans want change, especially when that “change” looked great in his first game in uniform.
“I thought he did a really good job,” Henne said of his current backup. “I felt like he was a really good decision maker and moved the chains.”
Chad Henne is tasked with a nearly impossible job. He has to perform well with most fans being hyper-critical of everything he does. He has to lead an offense with questionable weaponry and a pretty mediocre offensive line. He also has to do this while a football player with more talent sits behind him.
Good luck executing the Jaguars plan Chad.
Can Henne Make The Jags Stick To "The Plan?"
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