<
>

Regardless of who's playing QB, Jaguars have 'a job to get done'

The Jaguars plan to keep the same approach whether it's Blake Bortles (5) or Chad Henne under center. Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Regardless of which player Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone chooses to be the team’s starting quarterback, receiver Marqise Lee's approach won’t change.

Nor will what he’s asked to do on the field, so he’s not really thinking too much about whether he’ll be catching passes from Blake Bortles or Chad Henne.

“My job is to actually just to go out there and just compete, as far as to get open and make the plays I need to make,” Lee said. “As far as making decisions like that, it's not my job. I'm going to sit back and wait. At the end of the day, I believe in all three quarterbacks and having a possibility to come out and doing the things that we need to do in order to get the Jaguars going.”

That was pretty much the sentiment throughout the Jaguars locker room after Marrone opened up the competition between Bortles and Henne following last Thursday’s loss to Tampa Bay. Because Bortles and Henne don’t have drastically different styles, nobody’s job changes if one is on the field over the other.

“I feel like at the end of the day as long as we’re jelling together, because Chad’s in there, Blake’s in there, I don’t think we pay any mind who’s under center,” right guard A.J. Cann said. “As long as we get the play and make sure we’re on the same page, we’ll be fine.

“The only thing you hear different is a voice. You’ve got to get in there, make sure you listen to the play call, listen to the snap count and get off the ball and be ready to play.”

The players impacted most by the potential quarterback change are the receivers, especially Allen Robinson. He was the target on three of Bortles’ misfires against Tampa Bay, including one underthrown ball where he was wide open. His frustration with one of Bortles’ errant passes during joint practices with the Bucs early last week was caught on camera.

Robinson’s numbers slipped last season after a breakout year in 2015 when he caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. He caught only seven fewer passes in 2016, but his per-catch average dropped from 17.5 yards to 12.1, and he caught only six touchdown passes. That was partly due to the inconsistent play from Bortles.

Yet Robinson said a potential quarterback change doesn’t affect him much.

“At the end of the day I’ve got a job to do, and that’s each and every day I step out on that field in practice or whatever, I’ve got a job to get done,” Robinson said. “We’re going to go out there and we’re going to get reps with Blake. Same thing [with Henne]. We’re going to try to make plays for him. Again, he’s our teammate, so it doesn’t change. It doesn’t change the mentality of people at all.”

Tight end Marcedes Lewis has been through a similar situation before, with Henne and Blaine Gabbert in 2012 and 2013, David Garrard and Gabbert in 2011 and Garrard and Byron Leftwich in 2007. He says he’s relying on Marrone to make the best decision, and that’s the way the rest of the team should approach it, too.

“Whatever is going to be [best] for us to win,” Lewis said. “Obviously (Marrone) says he’s going to put the best players out there. Guess this is all part of the game. We’ll see.

“I guess I speak for the whole team when I say that we’re trusting him to make those decisions because that’s what he’s supposed to do, put the best person in the game that’s going to lead us to where we want to be.”