By Eric Schmidt

It has been tough to be a Jacksonville Jaguars fan in the last few years. The franchise hasn’t seen post-season play since 2007, and fans have had to endure just 11 wins in the last three seasons. The Jaguars haven’t had a serious quality quarterback under center since the days of southpaw Mark Brunell. Until now. Enter rookie QB Blake Bortles.

Bortles has looked ready to assume the starting role this preseason, despite repeated comments that the team will sit him this season. I really do like the direction this team is moving under the leadership of head coach Gus Bradley, but in this day and age, teams don’t draft players with the third pick overall and then sit them for an entire season.

The rookie appears right now to be the best quarterback on this team. He handles pressure well, has demonstrated a proficient deep ball touch. See his 57-yard in-stride strike to fellow rookie Marqise Lee last week. Bortles has completed 32 of 51 attempts for 521 yards, two touchdowns, and most importantly, no interceptions. He also threw for 9.1 yards per attempt when facing five or more blitzers.

Yes, once the regular season starts, opposing teams don’t run vanilla defenses and the speed of the game increases, but what does starting Chad Henne accomplish for the development of Bortles? Nothing. Let the rookie experience the NFL game when the games count for something. He is the quarterback of the future, and the future should be now. Jacksonville fans deserve it.

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Filed under: AFC, AFC South, Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL

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