Chad Henne’s abilities as an efficient QB has earned him several starting jobs in the past. Now he gets to enter camp as the official starter, but still has to watch his back for top rookie Blake Bortles.
The Jaguars have struggled mightily at the QB position since they cut longtime starter David Garrard in 2011. Luke McCown, Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne each failed to bring consistency to the position, and the result has been three straight losing seasons. McCown was cut after 2011 and Gabbert was traded to the 49ers at the end of the 2013 season, leaving Henne as the only proven starter to take the reins of the team in 2014.
After going 4-12 in 2013, the Jaguars drafted Blake Bortles with the 3rd overall pick with the intention of having him sit and learn for his first year in the league with Henne as the starter. However, it is not set in stone that Henne will start if he does not perform well in training camp.
Chad Henne – Currently entering his 3rd year with the Jaguars, Henne has been a fairly efficient QB since being drafted by the Dolphins in 2008. He has a career completion percentage of 59.5% and threw for over 3,000 yards for the Jaguars in 2013. Injuries have been an issue for him, as he has never played all 16 games of a season before.
Blake Bortles – The highly touted QB from UCF was projected to be the #1 overall pick in 2014 by some, but ultimately was taken by the Jaguars at #3. Bortles impressed scouts at the combine and at his pro day and proved to be the best QB in a draft that also featured Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jimmy Garappolo and Tom Savage.
Who Is The Frontrunner?
Henne – Head Coach Gus Bradley named Henne the starter shortly after the team drafted Blake Bortles with the intention of having the 1st-round draft pick learn on the bench in his rookie season. Barring terrible play from Henne in the preseason or an injury, Henne should start in 2014.
Who Has The Most Potential?
Bortles – As the #3 overall draft pick, Bortles will have to meet a lot of high expectations of him at some point. Thankfully, Bortles has all of the athletic and mental tools to become an excellent pocket passer if he is developed properly.
Odd Man Out:
Ricky Stanzi/Stephen Morris – Stanzi is a former 5th round draft pick who has never thrown an NFL pass. Morris is an undrafted rookie out of the University of Miami who set an ACC record for passing yards in 2012. Neither one should factor into the QB competition unless someone gets hurt.
Henne wins. Bortles becomes backup. Morris is #3. The fact that Henne has been officially named the starter should make the conversation moot, however it has become exceptionally hard for a team to simply not play a highly drafted QB due to the successes of recent rookie QBs. Henne being the starter in July may not be the same thing if Bortles manages to blow people away by the end of August.