-- JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Chad Henne didn't exactly light it up Thursday night in his audition to be the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback, but it might be enough to put Blake Bortles on the bench.
Henne completed 8 of 14 passes for 73 yards in the first half against Carolina at EverBank Field. He led the Jaguars to one touchdown and a field goal in five possessions with a lot of conservative throws.
The offense wasn't exactly crisp. Henne was sacked three times, the offensive line didn't open much space in the run game (31 yards, not counting a fake punt), there were three penalties and Keelan Cole dropped a deep pass. But the unit didn't turn the ball over and had one big play.
That was a 27-yard diving catch by Allen Robinson on a perfectly thrown ball by Henne, who dropped it over Robinson's shoulder before the safety could get over and knock it away. That was the best pass he threw, though the deep ball down the sideline to Cole was perfectly thrown, as well.
That half was essentially what the Jaguars will get from Henne: some safe throws, a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage and a good deep ball. He'll also hold on to the ball too long and take a few sacks. But he didn't turn the ball over Thursday, which has been Bortles' biggest issue: He has an NFL-high 63 turnovers over the past three seasons.
That might be good enough to make Henne the team's starting quarterback when the regular season begins in Houston on Sept. 10. Coach Doug Marrone announced Wednesday evening that Henne would start against the Panthers. He opened up the competition with Bortles after another lackluster performance by Bortles in last week's loss to Tampa Bay.
Henne, 32, has started 22 games (5-17) in four seasons with the Jaguars and has appeared in seven others. He has thrown 27 touchdowns passes and 16 interceptions but has taken only one regular-season snap since he was benched in favor of Bortles at halftime of Week 3 in 2014.
Bortles started the second half with the first-team offense.