Can Blake Bortles Thrive Under a New OC?


The offensive coordinator has a profound effect on how young quarterbacks develop. Stability generally yields better results as the young quarterback can develop in the same system. Not all young quarterbacks are blessed with a stable situation, however, and Blake Bortles will be thrust into instability after the Jaguars fired offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch two weeks ago.

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The firing of Fisch is well deserved. He couldn’t bring the success he had at Miami to the NFL level and he struggled to capitalize on young talent, seeing regression with Bortles as the season wore on.

But how will it affect Bortles?

Bortles was beginning to develop some chemistry with his equally-young receivers in Fisch’s system despite the obvious shortcomings of the offense under Fisch.

So, can he thrive with a new coordinator?

Obviously, the Jaguars don’t want to end up in an Alex Smith type situation, where the first overall pick was forced to work with a different offensive coordinator each year over his first four seasons in the NFL. Smith wasn’t able to thrive until Jim Harbaugh got his hands on him and turned him into a highly competent quarterback.

Will Bortles be like Smith? Will the Jaguars keep Bortles around for four seasons plus if he doesn’t make strong progress under different offensive coordinators?

But we jump ahead here.

Hopefully the next offensive coordinator the Jaguars hire will be with the team for a long time and will yield positive results for the Jaguars. The candidates the Jags have been interviewing definitely have some potential.

I have faith that Bortles has enough football acumen to be a successful quarterback. It will be best to provide stability, however, and the Jaguars need to find someone who can get Bortles making progress each and every week while also keeping the offense balanced and growing. Receivers like Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, and Marqise Lee also need to develop in this new offense along with Bortles. Luke Bowanko and Brandon Linder on the offensive line also need to grow.

The OC’s influence will go well beyond Bortles and how Bortles grows with his young peers will be critical to long-term success for the Jaguars. As Daniel Lago wrote two weeks ago, “Fisch was handed an extremely young offense with very few playmakers, but the lack of progress on that side of the ball started to stick out. He also didn’t have full support of the locker room or the staff according to reports.” So while there are new concerns with the Jags moving past Fisch, it is pretty apparent that Fisch was having a negative impact on the team.

Hopefully whoever comes next will develop an environment that Bortles and the other young players can thrive in.