Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Blake Bortles to play second half vs. Bears
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Blake Bortles is going to have to wait a bit longer to follow up his impressive debut for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Coach Gus Bradley announced Tuesday Chad Henne will play the first half of Thursday's preseason game at Chicago and Bortles will play the second half. That falls in line with Bradley's statement last Saturday that Bortles wouldn't get reps with the first-team offense this week.
It also reinforces the fact Henne remains the team's starting quarterback and Bortles still has some work to do.
For Henne, it's another chance to develop some rhythm with the first-team offense, which is something that didn't happen in the Jaguars' 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay last Friday night. The first-team offense managed just 5 yards in four possessions, including 27 yards in losses on errant shotgun snaps. Henne completed 4 of 7 passes for 30 yards.
"It's just about setting the tempo, really pushing the guys to get into a nice rhythm out there," Henne said. "I watched the Denver Broncos and they really moved the ball and it was all because of positive plays on first and second down and keeping that tempo and I think if we establish that and really get into our full offense out there, we'll be successful."
The second-team offense was much more effective -- but it came against the Bucs' second-team defense, which rushed more than four players just once. Bortles entered the game with 9:51 remaining in the first half and completed 7 of 11 passes for 117 yards and looked poised and comfortable in the pocket. Three of his four incompletions were drops.
"There was good things. There was bad things. There was things to work on," said Bortles, who was on the field for the Jaguars' only possession in the third quarter before giving way to Ricky Stanzi. "A couple decisions, a couple throws here and there [need to better]. But I thought for the most part we did what we wanted to do. We got some up-tempo and were moving the ball a little bit."
Thursday's game should be more of a challenge for Bortles provided the Bears come with more pressures than the Bucs did.
"That'll be cool," Bortles said. "For the most part preseason games are pretty vanilla. I guess guys don't really want to show a whole lot. But I'm sure being the second week they'll probably have more in than they did the previous week and maybe do some different things. We'll try and prepare and be ready for it."