JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This offseason no single player on the Jaguars roster has been scrutinized more than Blake Bortles. Entering his fourth year in the NFL, Bortles knows this is his last chance to prove that he is the Jaguars franchise quarterback.
The Jaguars didn’t rush to pick up the 5th year option for the former No. 3 overall draft pick. They also didn’t bring in any outside competition to compete with Bortles this offseason. That says the Jaguars front office is content entering this season with Bortles as ‘their guy’ at quarterback.
2016 Stats: 3,905 yards, 58.9 completion percentage, 23 TDs and 16 INTs
2017 Projection: Less is more will be the plan for Bortles in 2017. He averaged 39 passes per game last season. When asked how many passes he’d like for Bortles to attempt per game, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone jokingly said “zero.” While that’s not possible the Jaguars have stated over and over that they want to be physical, run first football team.
A consistent rushing game is something that Bortles has never had in Jacksonville. His 63 turnovers the last three seasons lead the NFL and the Jaguars are hoping that the less they ask him to do the better he’ll be able to take care of the football. When Bortles had a breakout season in 2015 a lot of his success came off of the play action pass. If Leonard Fournette can draw extra defenders into the box it will allow Bortles to find open receivers down the field.
Mechanics were a major issue last season so Bortles spent the majority of the offseason in California working the 3DQB group. When he returned for the start of the offseason program, Bortles was confident that his mechanics won’t slip as the season continues.
To put it simply, the Jaguars entire team could improve this season but if No. 5 doesn’t play better it won’t matter.
From the locker room:
Bortles on how he’s changed his approach this offseason:
“Two years ago, I went out there (California) and last year, I stayed here the whole time. I think it’s one of those things where it’s we have Coach Coughlin here, we have Doug Marrone here, we have Nathaniel Hackett, who we all, as an offense, are extremely comfortable and confident with. It just shows that guys are sick and tired of being below average and not being successful when we feel as though we have the ability to be a good team. We haven’t been. It’s time to make a change. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to go do something about it.”