Kessler completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 709 yards (5.4 per attempt) with two touchdowns and two interceptions over five games in 2018. Kessler took over at quarterback for the benched Blake Bortles and started four games, contests in which the Jaguars scored only two offensive touchdowns before Bortles reclaimed starting duties for the season finale. Kessler was acquired from Cleveland in March and had no real competition for the backup quarterback job, which even at the time was a curious decision. Both Bortles and Kessler and under contract for 2019, but the Jaguars are unlikely to remain static at the position following the offensive disaster in 2018.
Blake Bortles will replace Kessler as the Jaguars' starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Texans. Despite throwing just two interceptions on 131 pass attempts, Kessler has arguably been the worst quarterback in the league this season, producing 5.4 yards per attempt while taking 22 sacks and losing three fumbles. The Jaguars scored 45 points in his four starts, dropping off by 6.7 points per game from their average with Bortles under center. The team likely will focus on external options in the offseason, as it's evident neither Bortles nor Kessler is the long-term answer at the position.
Multiple Jaguars players suggested Wednesday that Blake Bortles rather than Kessler would likely serve as the team's starting quarterback Week 17 against the Texans, Mark Long of the Associated Press reports. After Bortles floundered through the first 11 games of the season, Kessler was handed the No. 1 gig beginning in Week 13 but hasn't provided much of a lift to the Jacksonville offense. Though he's only tossed one interception over his four starts, Kessler has struggled to move the chains, completing just 63.4 of his throws for a lowly 5.5 yards per attempt. A shoulder injury contributed to Kessler's demise in the Week 16 win over the Dolphins, resulting in his brief removal from the contest before he returned and was pulled again for performance reasons. Expect coach Doug Marrone to provide clarity later Wednesday on whether it's Kessler or Bortles that receives the final starting assignment of 2018, though neither signal-caller appears to be a great candidate to enter 2019 atop the depth chart.
Kessler completed 12 of 17 passes for 106 yards during Sunday's 17-7 win over the Dolphins. He also rushed once for two yards and lost one fumble. Kessler briefly left the field in the second quarter after suffering a shoulder contusion, but he was able to return for the start of the second half. Despite managing to retake the field, Kessler was then quickly benched for Blake Bortles due to continued sloppy play. The 25-year-old's most egregious mistake of the day came during the first half, when he simply lost hold of the football without a defender anywhere near him, resulting in a turnover. However, repeatedly missing open receivers and simple passes are what ultimately resulted in Kessler being benched. It remains to be seen whether Kessler or Bortles will start under center Week 17.
Kessler will start the second half of Sunday's game against the Dolphins after exiting with a right shoulder contusion late in the second quarter, John Reid of The Florida Times-Union reports. Kessler got hurt after being driven hard into the ground by Dolphins pass rusher Robert Quinn. Blake Bortles replaced him for two plays, but Kessler appears set to return to the contest and play through the shoulder issue.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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