Jaguars Roundup: Players react to Bortles reclaiming QB spot, four notable returns at practice

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone discusses decision to start Blake Bortles in Week 1

The Jaguars' roster is ready to move forward with Blake Bortles as the team's starting quarterback.

Following the news of Bortles reclaiming the top spot on the depth chart, a handful of players addressed the media about the decision.

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One of those players was the teammate Bortles beat out for the spot. Chad Henne said he understood the situation and why the coaching staff went with Bortles.

"Basically it was just the escape-ability of Blake and being able to move outside the pocket, which I totally get," Henne said. "For me, it's just keep plugging away and be excited about my opportunity and what my role is and still be ready to play."

The Jaguars' longest tenured offensive player, tight end Marcedes Lewis, was happy to have some clarity at quarterback. The team can now prepare for Week 1 against the Houston Texans.

"I really didn't want to be sitting here trying to figure out who the quarterback was going to be," Lewis said.

"There's a lot of stuff that we're dealing with already and there's stuff we have to deal with as football players in general, you don't want to have to be worried about who's going to start at quarterback. The fact that it's two weeks out and we know who it is, we're going to rally behind him and push forward."

Wide receiver Marqise Lee has confidence Bortles will deliver this season, despite some notable setbacks during his three-year tenure as the starting quarterback.

"I've been around Blake since I got here," Lee said. "Yeah, he had flaws here and there, but at the end of the day I feel like he can go out there and make it happen."

Four starters return to practice

Running back Leonard Fournette (foot), cornerback A.J. Bouye (undisclosed), defensive end Dante Fowler (lower body) and wide receiver Marqise Lee (ankle) returned to practice Saturday.

Fournette and Lee have missed the last two preseason games, while Bouye has missed all three exhibition matchups. Fowler missed Thursday's game against the Carolina Panthers.

Rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook also participated in practice after missing the game against Carolina with lower body soreness.

The Jaguars were without center Brandon Linder, tight end Mychal Rivera, defensive tackle Michael Bennett, wide receiver Rashad Greene, fullback Marquez Williams, guard Earl Watford, cornerback Doran Grant and running back T.J. Yeldon.

Linder and Grant were new additions to the injured crew. Watford returned to the sideline after practicing last week.

Yeldon, Bennett and Greene all missed the game against the Panthers.

Rivera has missed practice since late July. Prior to practice, Marrone said the team's plan was to have Rivera available for the preseason finale, but he wouldn't guarantee his status at this point. 

Jaguars release veteran linebacker  

The Jaguars announced the release of veteran linebacker Audie Cole before practice.

Cole signed with the Jaguars during the first phase of free agency in March. He spent his first five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings as a depth linebacker and core special teams player.

Cole was situated as the backup SAM linebacker during training camp. He was eventually replaced at that spot by rookie Blair Brown, who was originally the third-string WILL linebacker. Defensive end Lerentee McCray has also seen snaps on the strong side.

The move was made without a corresponding transaction, so the roster is currently one player shy of the 90-man limit.

Cole's departure could create more opportunities for Hayes Pullard, Josh McNary, P.J. Davis and Andrew Gachkar.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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