Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone decided to bench QB Blake Bortles in the third quarter in the Jaguars’ 20-7 loss to Houston on Sunday. Cody Kessler replaced Bortles and led the Jaguars on one scoring driving.
The Jaguars are currently on a three-game losing streak after starting the season 3-1. In those three games, Bortles has thrown only two touchdowns and was intercepted five times. Last week against the Texans, Bortles lost two fumbles.
On Monday, Marrone named Bortles the starter for Week 8 as the Jaguars prepare to travel to London to battle the Philadelphia Eagles.
Today, Marrone addressed the quarterback situation in Jacksonville:
(On why he chose Bortles)
“I met with both quarterbacks after [my podium session Monday].I don’t know what time, but it was in the afternoon. I made a decision to go with Blake [Bortles] [as the starter] and like I said, looking at his leadership, looking at a lot of things that he can do and we’re excited about that and going. I think we have a good understanding of what needs to be done. But in the same sense, it’s hard for me as a coach to control the message of what’s going on in the outside. It’s not just at that one position, it’s everyone.”
(On what was the tone of the conversation he had with Blake Bortles on Monday)
“I’ve always said that I’m going to keep the conversations with the players private, but it was a good conversation. I think most of my conversations with the players are matter-of-fact. It’s a lot easier to do it when the emotion of how we feel about what’s going on is gone. And that’s everyone, including myself. Make no mistake – and you realize this – there is frustration. If everyone comes out one time and just blasts everything then that’s kind of chaotic when you do it. When you think about it and you do it, you start every conversation and you have to believe this because it is a team sport … You start everything where the first thing you do is you look yourself in the mirror and you say, ‘Look, I have to do a better job.’ I think when that happens, you open it up and it goes. I think I talked to the players – I have to do a better job. We all have to do a better job. We’re not doing what we need to be doing and it’s all of our responsibility. I know obviously ultimately in this room, it falls on me.”
(On what gives him confidence Blake Bortles will play better)
“Because I’ve seen it before. I think I’ve seen it before. It’s going to go a lot back to that position [QB] a lot of times, but I don’t want anyone to lose sight of what I said after the game, meaning that I made that move because it’s the only real move you can get to grab attention and grab focus. The problem that you have when you make that decision as a coach? Make no mistake about it, I did it for that reason so I can evaluate things better and get a better feel, but when that decision is made and you tell people about that decision, the next thing it’s going to do from a standpoint of everything outside of the building is it’s going to open everything up. It’s going to put the focus on the quarterback, and that’s where I have to do a good job of everyone here being like, ‘OK, is that a part of it?’ Sure, we need better play. But the bigger picture is that we all need to play better. That’s what I have always tried to communicate to the team, and I think that’s hard to do from a standpoint of when you get out here publicly. It’s a better story when it’s the quarterback stuff. But that’s the nature of the business, I get it. I don’t have any issues with that.”
(On reports that Cody Kessler will be getting first team reps this week)
“I’m going to go back to what I said on Monday. I sat here, looked you guys all in the eye, said that whoever the quarterback was at that time is going to take starter reps. I believed in that my whole entire life. I answered the question on Monday. I will answer it again – Yes, Blake will take all the starter reps. Does that mean Cody doesn’t take any reps? He will take the normal reps that he did the last six weeks, seven weeks.”
(On if the QB backup takes any reps with the first team offense)
“Last week we got him [Kessler] a little bit, a couple of second team guys, two to three. The only time I really adjust reps is for injuries. When I put someone in there, I put them in there with the belief that they are going to play. The only time I ever look at someone where they might be on a short-term period is when the starter is injured and now the starter is going to come back and play. That’s the only time I look at things that way. But as far as everybody that’s on the field, I put them in there with the belief that they’re going to be able to get the job done and continue it and turn this thing in the right direction and keep playing well and win football games.”