Jacksonville, Fla. — Blake Bortles might have started his last game in Jacksonville.
Coach Doug Marrone opened up the team’s quarterback competition Thursday night after another inconsistent performance from Bortles, the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Bortles completed 8 of 13 passes for 65 yards in a 12-8 exhibition loss to Tampa Bay. All four of his drives ended with punts. The first-team offense now has three points in Bortles’ six preseason possessions.
He misfired to Allen Robinson (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) twice Thursday, including a woefully underthrown pass down the seam that drew boos from the home crowd and caused some head-shaking on the sideline.
“It’s hard to not hear people booing,” Bortles said. “But if they’re cheering or booing, it’s kind of irrelevant, at least for me it is. I think you’ve got to treat adversity and prosperity the same way. They’re not booing for no reason. They’re booing because you didn’t do your job.”
Bortles, a former Central Florida standout, has 11 wins and 11 interceptions returned for touchdowns in 45 career starts.
Marrone said Bortles’ “arm looked tired.” Bortles denied having any issues. That was the first indication that Bortles’ job security was in jeopardy.
“I’m looking for someone who is going to lead this offense,” Marrone said. “I’m not happy with the performance. I’m not going to sit here and (fool) 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.”
It could be Chad Henne.
Henne, a 10th-year pro and former second-round pick by Miami, completed 6 of 10 passes for 44 yards against the Bucs. Henne’s first pass should have been a touchdown, but rookie Keelan Cole dropped it at the goal line.
Henne (Michigan) started 22 games for Jacksonville between 2012 and 2014, but has backed up Bortles since. He has completed 59 percent of his passes for 12,931 yards, with 58 touchdowns and 63 interceptions.
“I always took it as I’m always competing and never really said I’m the backup even though that’s the way it was,” Henne said. “I still study hard and try to prove in practice what I can do. All I can do is to try to get myself better prepared each week.”
Henne isn’t a long-term solution.
“We’re going to figure this thing out,” Marrone said.
Report: Bell rejects offer
The Steelers end their three weeks’ training camp at Saint Vincent College without Le’Veon Bell ever reporting, one month after they thought they had an agreement for him on a new five-year contract.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette learned on the afternoon of the July 17 NFL deadline for Bell to come to terms on a multi-year contract, team officials thought they came to terms with his agent on a five-year deal. However, at the last minute, Bell nixed the contract.
The five-year deal, according to sources, averaged more than $12 million annually.
Chris Long, the Philadelphia defensive end who grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, put his arm around teammate Malcolm Jenkins as a show of unity during the national anthem before the Eagles’ exhibition game Thursday night against Buffalo.
Jenkins stood with his right fist raised in the air as he’s done since last season. Long was to his right with his left arm on Jenkins’ shoulder.
“I think it’s a good time for people that look like me to be there for people that are fighting for equality,” Long said.
... Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch spoke to reporters Thursday for the first time in training camp and avoided questions regarding his decision to sit during the national anthem before last week’s preseason game against the Cardinals.
One reporter addressed the situation as the elephant in the room when questioning Lynch.
“I think the elephant just left the room because a little mouse ran in here,” Lynch said.
... Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has been charged with beating his sister’s boyfriend last month, Los Angeles prosecutors said Thursday.
... A gun charge against free-agent linebacker free agent Khaseem Greene has been dropped because the man who said he gave him a weapon admitted he lied, the player’s attorney said.