Jaguars reflect on another disappointing season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Andrew Luck’s 1-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left gave the Indianapolis Colts a 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars during Sunday’s season finale. It was a play that was very representative of the Jaguars 2016 season, close but not good enough. At one point Jacksonville had a 17-0 lead, only to end up with another loss.

After winning five games in 2015 the Jaguars managed only three in 2016. There is tons of blame to be passed around for why the Jaguars failed to live up to the expectations that were placed upon them entering this year. A lot of it will be placed on the right shoulder of Blake Bortles.

The Jaguars quarterback regressed significantly in his third season. In 2016 he threw for 3,905 yards, 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, compared to 4,428 yards, 35 TD’s and 18 INT’s in 2015.

“There’s a lot of guys in tough situations but we all went through it and went through it together,” said Bortles during Monday’s locker clean out. “I’ve said it before but I think that will make us stronger. I think that a couple years down the road from now, when things have turned around and are going a different direction, I think guys will have a different kind of desire because of the things they’ve been through this year and these past couple of seasons.”

Bortles plans to spend a good portion of his off-season working out at 3DQB academy in California. Last off-season Bortles spent more time in Jacksonville to work with his wide receivers. This time around Bortles says that he plans for his pass catchers to meet him in California.

Bortles won’t have to go very far to catch up with California native Marqise Lee. The Jaguars wide receiver was one of the few offensive bright spots and had his most productive year as a pro.

“I always knew I was able to do it, I just had to get out there and do it,” said Lee whose 63 catches for 851 yards and three touchdowns were all career highs. “I kept telling you guys I was able to do it and I just went out there and did it. Now that I feel like Blake [Bortles] and the team has a little bit more trust in me, next year we will go and get it done with me and them.”

The biggest reason for Lee’s breakout season is because he was finally healthy for the first time during this three year career. Jaguars offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum began this season battling his way back from an ACL injury. Beachum is a prideful guy and would never admit how much pain he played in during the 2016 season. He started at left tackle in 15 of the Jaguars 16 games and feels that the team is closer to competing than their record would indicate.

“It is not a bad team, we don’t suck,” said Beachum. “It would be different if we sucked and we just rolled the ball out and we sucked every week. We have been in every single game. We had a chance to win every single game. Some have been, maybe one or two games, where I feel like we didn’t come to play and got blown out, but I think we have been in every single game and have a chance to win a number of games. We have to find a way to find that little edge and have that mindset to really close games out. When you have a chance to roll a team, roll them and don’t give them any help.”