JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars have a quarterback conundrum on their hands.
Following the Jaguars' lackluster 12-8 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, head coach Doug Marrone spoke with presumed starter Blake Bortles and backup Chad Henne.
"I told them what I’m looking for is, I’m looking for someone who is going to lead this offense," Marrone said. "I’m not happy with the performance today. I’m not going to sit here and b.s. anyone. Everyone saw it out there. Whatever you want to call it, I’m still trying to evaluate who the best person is at that position."
Bortles completed 8-of-13 passes for 65 yards against the Buccaneers Thursday. During his time on offense, the Jaguars earned just three first downs with one coming from a penalty. All of four of Bortles' drives ended in punts.
Bortles was eventually swapped out for Henne, who completed 6-of-10 passes for 44 yards. He had two touchdown receptions dropped by two different receivers.
Bortles has started 46 consecutive games since 2014. Henne has played just one regular season snap in two years.
Those major discrepancies in recent playing time matter little to Marrone, who is seeking someone to lead his team at quarterback.
"I think [Henne] deserves that opportunity," Marrone said. "I’m not going to sit here and say how much ground he’s gained. It’s just simple. I’m not going to try to make this thing complicated. I’m looking for the best person to lead our offense.”
The Jaguars' faltered throughout the first three quarters until third-string quarterback Brandon Allen entered the game. Allen completed 10-of-15 passes for 144 passing yards and a touchdown. He also ran three times for 27 rushing yards.
After the game, Marrone said he wouldn't completely take Allen out of the conversation, despite focusing his immediate attention on Henne and Bortles.
"Well, I think you’ve got to take that into consideration, again, is he in consideration? Yeah," Marrone said. "If he’s the best guy, sure, no problem. I don’t have an issue with that.”
The Jaguars will have the day off on Friday but will return to work this weekend. Over the next two weeks, Marrone will have to figure out who his top quarterback will be.
He will have two more preseason games to evaluate his internal candidates.
“Well, it’s a lot better than trying to think someone is going to be something that they’re not," Marrone said. "It’s a lot better to do it now than to wait until the season comes, in my opinion.”
When asked about potential outside options, Marrone declined to speak about players who are not already on his team.
“I need someone to lead this offense," Marrone said. "I’m not going to sit here, again, I don’t work with the outside-the-roster stuff, so for me, I can’t answer that question. I work with what we have.”
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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