Blake Bortles will start vs. Chargers in Week 4


The Jacksonville Jaguars' offseason plan to redshirt No. 3 overall draft pick Blake Bortles for the entirety of his rookie year was ditched 10 quarters into the 2014 season.

Having been outscored 105-10 in eight quarters since halftime of the season opener, the reeling Jaguars kicked off the Bortles era in the second half of Sunday's 44-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Coach Gus Bradley had little choice but to turn to his hotshot rookie after starter Chad Henne was sacked three times and managed just 33 yards in the first half against a Chuck Pagano defense lacking pass rushers.

It didn't take long for Bradley to be reminded that his porous offensive line has been the primary culprit in failing to move the chains this season.

Bortles' first three series ended with a punt, a field goal and an interception. He would have been spared the latter in favor of a safety had Bjoern Werner's strip sack not been nullified due to an illegal contact penalty.

Down 37-3, with the Colts going through the motions, Bortles finally sandwiched a pair of garbage-time touchdown drives around a pick-six to Greg Toler.

As uneven as Bortles' performance was, his obvious talent, edge and willingness to take chances down the field were enough for Bradley to announce the rookie will start at San Diego in Week 4.

"Blake, I thought did a nice job. He's going to learn now, he's going to learn," Bradley said after the game. "But he made some plays, he kept plays alive, he's got really good instincts, made some really good decisions and some good throws -- and then some of the throws that you saw, I'm sure he wishes he had back.

"But we'll learn through those, but I just love his mindset, I love the strength that he has. He is a tough, hard-nosed competitor, and he will attack. And I think the team felt that part of him. I think it's no coincidence that all of a sudden we blocked a little bit better, the receivers played a little bit better, you know, he has a way to uplift people and to uplift a team."

With an uninspiring Henne now holding a clipboard, the Jaguars should put a more entertaining and competitive product on the field. Just don't expect Bortles to turn the season around behind an offensive line that can't keep the quarterback upright.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the Falcons' lopsided win over the Bucs and previews every other game in Week 3.