The quarterback quagmire in Jacksonville took another surprising turn on Saturday morning.
"I think that the first thing that I look at is to make sure that who's going to give us the best chance to win in the situation that we're in," Marrone told reporters Saturday. "I look at everything, not just the quarterback position, of how we want to play and what we want to do. I think Blake had the ability to extend plays for us, which I think is going to be helpful in what we have to get done."
When asked how Bortles was in terms of his decision-making and accuracy, Marrone said bluntly, "Good enough for me to stand here and say he gives us the best chance to win."
Bortles being named the starter wouldn't be a surprise in years past, as he has started the last 45 games for the franchise. But Marrone's announcement bookends a week during which Marrone announced the QB position was up for grabs between Bortles and veteran backup Chad Henne, the latter of whom then started Jacksonville's third preseason game, often seen as the "dress rehearsal" for the regular season.
After Thursday night's tilt, Marrone told reporters he wasn't ready to name either man the starting quarterback. That has since changed.
Despite the announcement, Bortles still appears to be on the shortest of leashes in Jacksonville, even if Marrone insists that Bortles has "the same leash I would give any other player on our team."
According to the team's announcement, Bortles has only been named the starter for the Jaguars' season opener and was not declaratively named the starting quarterback for the entire season. This is more than semantics. This QB competition is not over.
Bortles hinted to as much Saturday.
"Anytime you get named a starter, it's a cool feeling, obviously," Bortles said. "But it doesn't change anything. It doesn't change the mindset. ... So I think it's a constant effort, as it was a couple weeks ago to try and perform out of respect to the coaches and players in every snap."
Although Bortles said he wasn't preoccupied with the prospect of losing the starting gig, he said recalling how Henne handled the situation three years ago helped him as he waited for Marrone to make his decision.
"So I kind of had that in the back of my head -- how well I thought that he handled that whole situation," Bortles said. "Being able to see that definitely helped me in handling it."
Bortles might have shown enough in his limited time against the "twos" on Thursday night to earn a second chance in Jacksonville, but if he regresses out of the gate, don't be surprised to see the Jags move in another direction at the position.