There are a lot of “firsts” this week for the Jaguars and Blake Bortles. The Jaguars rookie quarterback is preparing for his first start in a regular season NFL game. While you’d think he was excited about it, his comments seem to say the opposite.
“I’ve prepared like I was going to start every week. I learned that, and a lot of other things from watching Chad (Henne)” Bortles said in front of the assembled media before the Wednesday practice. “I’m going to go play football. I’m going to be as ready as I can. We’re going to play Sunday either way so I might as well try to be as ready as I can be.”
Bortles was named the starter after playing the second half against the Colts and helping produce 17 points.
“My focus is on this team and making us better,” he noted. “I don’t have a lot of time for anything else.”
“He has the pen last,” Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch said before practice as well. “I asked him what he wanted to take out (of the game plan) and he gave me a couple of plays right away. He has to be comfortable with what we’re doing.”
Being named the starter, Bortles is sitting “In the first chair” in the quarterback meeting room according to Fisch.
“He’s been second chair. He hasn’t had to run the remote, meet with the Oline, the receivers when the coaches aren’t in there. It’s his first time. .”
“He went to meetings, more meetings,” according to Head Coach Gus Bradley. “His demeanor didn’t change. He’s the same. Competitiveness didn’t change. His mentality hasn’t changed a bit.”
Bradley says often “The game isn’t too big for him” when talking about Bortles. That seems to be the case so far. He likes to play football and while that sounds pretty basic, there have been some guys in that job with the Jaguars who didn’t particularly like the game, or didn’t act like it. To Bortles, it’s football, and he enjoys it.
“I had no idea if it would be this year or five years down the road when I got to start in an NFL game. I think it was huge to be with Chad and watch him prepare every week.”
As the starter, Bortles will take a majority of the snaps in each offensive period in practice. “It helps the more reps you get. You get a feel for it after doing it over and over in games and in practice.”
It’s a role reversal between he and Henne, but the transition seems to be smooth.
“I’ll be his biggest cheerleader. I hope he’s successful,” Henne said.