JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars are moving back to quarterback Blake Bortles to the season finale at Houston that Sunday.

Coach Doug Marrone made the statement on Wednesday afternoon, citing Bortles’ athletic ability behind a struggling offensive line as a primary reason for choosing Bortles over Cody Kessler, who’d started the last four games.

“We feel as though that his freedom will give us a much better chance against clearly a very challenging team,” Marrone said.

Even the Texans (10-5) can clinch the AFC South — and a first-round bye or home-field advantage in the playoffs based on the consequences of different games — with a victory on the Jaguars (5-10) at NRG Stadium.

This has been the fourth time in six games that Bortles had failed to attain 150 passing yards, also Marrone benched him and fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett the next moment. Kessler, that which the Jaguars acquired in an offseason trade with Cleveland to get a conditional seventh-round pick, started the next four games. He threw for 553 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, also has been sacked 18 days in the stretch. The Jaguars went 2-2 in those games, though Bortles relieved Kessler overdue in the 3rd quarter of last Sunday’s game against Miami and led the Jaguars to a game-winning field goal.

The Jaguars’ offensive line was a wreck the majority of the second half of the summer growing season as a result of injuries. Four of their team’s five starters at the summer growing season opener are now on injured reserve, and two of the recent starters are players that have been unfamiliar with the team until October.

Bortles is really just a far better athlete and athlete compared to Kessler and is currently sixth on the team’s all-time rushing list with 1,760 yards. He could be just one of four players in NFL history to pass for at 15,000 yards and run for at least 1,500 yards within their first five seasons. Russell Wilson, Cam Newton along with Jeff Garcia are the others.

Bortles getting the start likely will not change the franchise’s decision to proceed from him after this summer season. He has played poorly this season and leads the NFL in turnovers (9 3 ) and interceptions (74) since he entered the league at 2014 as the 3rd overall pick. While he is second in franchise history in passing yards (17,539) and passing touchdowns (103) at 72 starts, his maddening inconsistency is making the franchise launch at the career.

Bortles likely will probably be published in the offseason, only 11 weeks after he consented to a three-year, $54 million contract expansion with $26.5 million guaranteed. He carries a salary cap amount of about $21 million and a dead cap amount of about $16.5 million in 20-19. The Jaguars (5-10) are required to draft a quarterback with their first pick — and potentially sign a free agent to be a bridge quarterback as well.


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