Tonight, the Jaguars are playing the Bears and you can watch it on ESPN. First off, I’m glad everyone is starting to figure out that shittier teams are way more fun to watch in the preseason. But if you’re looking to see Blake Bortles, you’ll have to wait a bit: the Jags are insistent that Chad Henne is their starting QB, even though after six years in the league, he’s been mediocre at best, and depressing at worst.
So, why are the Jags planning on trotting out the upper-middle class man’s Trent Edwards when Bortles is just sitting there? Because Bortles is more valuable if you don’t take him out of the packaging. See, if he actually pays football, there’s a chance he might suck, and the Jaguars and their fans will have to confront the idea that they drafted Blaine Gabbert 2: Electric Blainealoo. But if he just sits there on the bench while the team flounders with Henne, his value will go up and up as Jags fans dream about a Bortles-led Super Bowl in 2018. In this metaphor, Blake Bortles is Lucy Lawless, and Shad Khan is The Collector.
Even if Bortles is good, playing him means you can’t dream about his limitless potential anymore. Right now, the Jags can convince themselves they have the next Aaron Rodgers on their hands. But if he plays, even if he looks good, and even leads the Jags to a surprise playoff spot in a decidedly weak AFC, you still might have to confront the fact that he’s less Russell Wilson and Joe Flacco. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not quite as fun as dreaming.
My guess is, after a few respectable losses with Henne (that’s the difference between him and Gabbert – he’ll lose with dignity!), the Jags will have no choice but the break open Bortles, much like how The Collector had no choice but to break the seal on his double-edged lightsaber. But if there’s any chance Henne can Alex Smith his way to competence for 16 games, the Jags will happily go along with it. They will do whatever it takes to keep Blake Bortles wrapped in Mylar for as long as possible.