Avoiding a Gabbert: Jaguars Need to Turn Offense Over to Bortles
A day after the Jaguars displayed one of the worst offensive efforts ever given in franchise history, the most important question remains. Is Blake Bortles really a franchise-type QB in the NFL?
The statistical comparisons to players such as Peyton Manning with the high amount of interceptions are getting old and meaningless.
Over the past six weeks, Bortles has done little to show any type of improvement. In fact, he has only shown regression.
The visions continue in my head of Blaine Gabbert. A young, inexperienced college quarterback who was thrust into the starting lineup due to the lack of any true talent at the position. Gabbert was thrown into a system that he was not comfortable with and did not have much experience with.
Don’t get me wrong, Bortles has much better mechanics and raw tools compared to Gabbert, but his season is getting more comparable to Gabbert’s than anyone else because of his errant plays and lack of movement down the field.
This is in no way saying that Bortles is the next Gabbert, but the Jaguars will need to start manufacturing an offense that is built around Bortles or they stand the chance of completely removing any confidence that the rookie initially had.
Bortles played with confidence and poise in his first two games in the NFL. The Jaguars did not win, but they also were still riding out Toby Gerhart as the starting running back. They now have a speed back that defenses are game-planning for in Denard Robinson.
Against the Colts and the Chargers, Bortles was not an all-star, but he was able to move the ball down the field. Since then, his stats are nothing short of inflated due to garbage time in the fourth quarter and defenses playing rather relaxed coverage.
Perhaps it was just the lack of video to study on Bortles at that time, but it’s hard to argue that the Jaguars were allowing him to take command of the offense. Bortles needs to get that command back and the Jaguars need to allow him to do so.
Inaccurate throws and poor decision making will improve with time, but there is no reason to think that Bortles is incapable of winning right now.
On Sunday, the Jaguars had every possibility to beat the unquestioned leader in the AFC South, but the offense looked as dead as it ever has.
Watching Bortles was tough. No, he did not get three full seconds in the pocket, and no he didn’t get any help from his running game, but at what point does a third overall pick make a play that an average quarterback does not?
If the Jaguars were looking for just a game-manager, then they should have kept Chad Henne in and continued to let Bortles sit and learn behind him.
Bortles has a heck of a skill set, but the play-calling in Jacksonville by Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch has been highly questionable as of late.
At this point, defensive coordinators are licking their chops to play the Jaguars because their game plan doesn’t seem to change much each week, and unfortunately, many fans sitting on their couches were able to tell what was coming from the Jaguars yesterday.
At 1-10, the Jaguars have absolutely nothing to lose with only five games remaining on their schedule. Let the young, talented rookie quarterback have his say on what he’s comfortable doing and build around that. Let him have more control over his offense.
The Jaguars have an identity on defense, so now it’s up to the offense to give this team a fighting chance come 2015.
The Jaguars currently hold the number one pick in the 2015 NFL draft. If the Jaguars end up having the first pick, Caldwell will have possessed the second, third and first overall picks in his first three seasons as the Jaguars GM.