Coach Doug Marrone announced Monday evening that Bortles would remain the team's starter for Sunday's game against Philadelphia in London, though a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that backup Cody Kessler will see some first-team reps in practice and Bortles will be on "a short leash" against the Eagles.
"I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team's starting quarterback," Marrone said in a statement. "I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win."
Blake Bortles was benched Sunday, but next week the Jaguars head overseas. London Bortles has been tough to beat in recent years.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 21, 2018
Blake Bortles Last 3 Seasons in London
Team PPG 36.0
TD-Int 8-1 pic.twitter.com/ySCPfO1MsM
But Marrone, after re-watching the game numerous times Sunday night and again Monday, said Monday afternoon he made up his mind as to who would start, but didn't want to announce it until he told the team.
Roughly 90 minutes later, Bortles was announced as the starter.
Marrone also said earlier Monday that this wasn't a long-term decision, and he's treating quarterback the same way he would any other spot: Bortles has the job until it's clear that his performance is hurting the team without being attributed to other factors.
Marrone also said he doesn't believe in splitting first-team reps and that Bortles would take every rep with the starters Wednesday.
"I think once you put a person out there no matter what position, quarterback or anything, you're trusting in that confidence that that player is going to get it done," Marrone said. "Then I think it's a matter of performance and basically what the situations call for at the time. So I think it's hard to go head and say short [term], long [term], whatever it may be.
"Whatever decision comes forward with who's playing at any position, then obviously that player will be working on Wednesday taking the starting snaps. I don't believe in splitting reps. The only time I believe in that is when injuries come involved. I think that it's very difficult to ask for the full potential and the accountability when you're splitting things. It's too tough in this league to do that."
Bortles had completed 6 of 12 passes for 61 yards against the Texans at the time he was benched, and Marrone said he did it because of the turnovers and to get a spark out of the team. Bortles lost a fumble on the third offensive play of the game, which led to a Houston field goal, and lost another on the third play of the second half. The Texans scored on a 10-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to DeAndre Hopkins two plays later for a 20-0 lead.
At that point, the Jaguars (3-4) had committed nine turnovers in a little more than 10 quarters. Bortles had eight, including four interceptions and a fumble in a Week 5 loss at Kansas City. Since he entered the league in 2014, Bortles has committed more turnovers than any player. He has 90 (72 interceptions), which is 10 more than the closest player: Eli Manning's 80.
The Jaguars are last in the NFL in turnover ratio (minus-12) after leading the league in the category last season. Bortles has 11 turnovers in seven games, but Marrone said not all are the 26-year-old's fault.
"It's a No. 1 priority [to take care of the ball]," Marrone said. "We are not even giving ourselves a chance right now."
This is the second time that Bortles, the third overall pick in 2014, has been benched. He had a five-interception practice early in training camp in 2017 and didn't play well in the first two weeks of the preseason. Marrone benched him and opened up the competition between Bortles and Chad Henne in the third preseason game. Bortles won the job back and went on to have the best season of his career: 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He had averaged 21 turnovers per season in his first three but cut that number to 16 in 2017.
In February, the Jaguars signed Bortles to a three-year, $54 million contract extension that includes $26.5 million guaranteed. It includes a $21 million cap hit and a dead-money figure of $16.5 million in 2019.
In other personnel news, the team released running back Jamaal Charles and promoted rookie linebacker Nick DeLuca from the practice squad to the active roster.
The Jaguars signed the 31-year-old Charles on Oct. 9 because the team has no idea when running back Leonard Fournette will be able to return from a right hamstring injury and backup T.J. Yeldon has been dealing with a minor ankle injury. Charles didn't give the Jaguars much in two games (7 yards on six carries and two catches for 7 yards), and the team traded a fifth-round pick to Cleveland last Friday for running back Carlos Hyde.
Marrone said Monday that Fournette is among a group of injured players the team is trying to get back in time for Sunday's game.