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Eagles vs. Jaguars 2014: Jacksonville starting Chad Henne over Blake Bortles is the wrong call

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Jacksonville Jaguars writer Ryan Day of Big Cat Country took the time to answer questions about the upcoming Eagles-Jaguars game on Sunday, September 7th.

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With the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars scheduled to kick off on Sunday, I reached out to our friends over at Big Cat Country. The great Ryan Day kindly took the time to answer my questions.

Let's take a look at the answers.

1) Gus Bradley was nearly the Eagles head coach before Philadelphia surprisingly ended up with Chip Kelly. To what extent do Jags fans approve of Bradley? What are his biggest strengths/weaknesses?


This is not hyperbole - Gus Bradley is the mayor of Jacksonville.

But seriously, we couldn't approve more. He's the perfect leader for this team and this franchise. He's enthusiastic, passionate, and bold. Even when we were encouraged by head coaches like Tom Coughlin and Jack Del Rio (the early years, forgive us) it was never to the level of zeal we have for what Bradley's done with our team.

And that's Bradley's greatest strength. He's an incredible leader, of both players and the public. On the same day, he can lead a roster of football players at training camp, pump up the Bold City Brigade at an EverBank Field pool party, and woo my mother.

His weakness? I'm not sold on letting rookie Blake Bortles sit. I don't know what the root cause is - whether it's misplaced loyalty, naivety, or stubbornness - but he's letting the best quarterback warm the bench. Whenever we find out why he let Bortles sit, I'll have an answer for his greatest weakness.

2) Bradley announced Chad Henne will start for the Jaguars at quarterback. When asked which Jaguars QB Eagles fans would rather see the team face, Henne came in at 68% and rookie Blake Bortles was 32%. Is starting Henne the right call for the Jaguars?

No. No, no, no, no, may-NO.

Like I said, I don't know why Henne is getting the nod, but he is. Maybe Bradley has a plan and he's stubbornly sticking to it. Maybe he made a gentleman's agreement with Henne before he re-signed with the Jaguars this offseason. I don't know, but Henne isn't the right option.

3) Name a Jaguars player on offense and defense that the Eagles need to watch out for.

On offense, I'd watch out for Toby Gerhart. I think he's primed to have a great first year as a starter. He's relatively young, never suffered a major injury, and is a downhill runner who can punish guys late in the game.


On defense, look out for Red Bryant. He's fired up and really motivated (see: pissed off) by his release from the Seattle Seahawks. I think he's going to play with a lot of intensity and anger on Sunday.

4) What's the biggest matchup that favors the Jaguars? What's the biggest matchup that favors the Eagles?

I love Jeremy Maclin, but I'm not high on your receiving corps as a whole. I think our young secondary, especially second-year cornerback Dwayne Gratz, will surprise some Eagles fans on Sunday.

For the Eagles, I think you need to take advantage of middle linebacker Paul Posluszny's lack of speed and agility. Posluszny is in the old-school mold of a middle linebacker - big, strong, and a superb tackler. But with the Eagles, I'd spread the field and get our speedy outside linebackers as far to the sidelines as you can. We're vulnerable over the middle.

5) Let's hear a score prediction. Who wins this game and why?

The Eagles are going to win by more than two possessions. Something like 37-20. Why? Because we're starting our second-best quarterback. It's that simple. I don't understand the reasoning of head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell. I trust them, but I don't understand it. What does Bortles have to gain from sitting on the bench?

Also, the Jaguars are vulnerable against balanced offenses because we lack star players at key positions. If we can't scheme our way towards shutting down an opponent's strength and wait for them to make a mistake with their weakness, we're not going to be competitive in the early part of the season.

It'll be a fun game for the first half. I think the Jaguars could be within seven, or even tied, at halftime. But I think the second half is when the Eagles pull away and Nick Foles finds a rhythm.

...

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,000,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $25 to join and first place wins $100,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link. FYI: These are just my opinions and Fanduel gave me money to play.