Two days after performing well in the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ loss to the Carolina Panthers, Blake Bortles was named the team’s starting quarterback by head coach Doug Marrone. Bortles completed 12 of his 16 passing attempts for 125 yards, one touchdown and one interception last Thursday, playing the third and fourth quarters with Chad Henne getting the start.
Much maligned throughout his career with the Jaguars, Bortles received some eye-opening praise from his head coach on Monday.
“I think he’s doing a nice job, I really do,” Marrone said. “I think this is, for me personally, the best I’ve seen him.”
While the interception, his first of the preseason, Bortles threw isn’t to be ignored the numbers he produced Thursday were an improvement on his first two games. Combined, Bortles completed 11 of his 18 passing attempts in the first two preseason games, throwing for a total of 81 yards. That works out to an average of 4.5 yards per attempt; in Thursday’s outing Bortles averaged 7.8 yards per attempt.
According to Marrone, Bortles been able to produce quality practices in the aftermath of being named the starting quarterback.
“I’m happy,” Marrone said Monday following the Jaguars’ third practice since naming Bortles the starter. “I’ve seen him build on his last performance…The footwork is better. It’s relaxed. I’m hoping to see that carry over because he’s actually done quite well.”
Bortles responded well to Marrone opening up the quarterback competition earlier in training camp. The key now is for him to carry over the recent run of good play into the regular season, which was an issue for much of his first three NFL campaigns.