The Jacksonville Jaguars lost a heartbreaker 16-14 to the rival Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The team fell to 0-6 for the second straight season and are struggling despite a much improved defense over the past two weeks. Quarterback Blake Bortles, however, continues to show promise and impress.
Bortles completed 32 of 46 passes (69%) for 336 yards, a late touchdown, and an interception. Bortles is still not playing anywhere near perfect, but he is finding ways to move the ball for the Jaguars, which was a major failing during Chad Henne’s time at quarterback. The Jaguars had their first opening drive go for a touchdown this season, capped by a one yard run from Storm Johnson. Things were looking up from that drive but everything stalled until the final quarter.
Part of the reason the stalled offense were costly mistakes. As outlined by Daniel Lago:
"There were a couple of key mistakes on offense that clearly cost the Jaguars points today. The first was a drop by Jordan Todman on an outstanding throw by Blake Bortles. Todman probably would have scored if he caught it, or the Jaguars would have had the ball in the red zone with at least a field goal attempt guaranteed. The second big mistake was Cecil Shorts’ fumble on a big gain deep in Titans’ territory late in the game."
The Jaguars will have to limit those if they want to succeed in Blake Bortles’ first year. He appears to be doing enough to put the Jaguars in a position to win but the young players around him continue to underwhelm.
The losses will likely continue to pile on despite an improved defensive effort and Bortles’ impressive play.
You can force development, but it is clear that the Jaguars need to grow and to grow quickly. If they can focus on doing the little things right (holding onto the ball, catching before running, knowing their assignments) then it looks like this team could capitalize on the weapons that are in place.