While the rest of the draft community was debating who the top quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft was, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell always knew who he preferred – UCF quarterback Blake Bortles. Ultimately, most of the draft analysts agreed with Caldwell, but the prevailing thought with Bortles was he would need time to work on his mechanics and learn how to run a pro-style offense.
During his short stints in the preseason, Bortles showed unprecedented improvement in several areas, including his mechanics. He was making quick decisions, throwing into tight windows, and his lower body mechanics were significantly better than they were in his college days. As one would expect however, Bortles’ mechanics started to deteriorate as the season wore on and it reflected in his play and his statistics.
Whether it was the amount of information planning for his next opponent or the wear-and-tear of a long season riddled with a historic amount of sacks, Bortles started to regress.
Noted tape watcher and all around football guru Greg Cosell agrees, and he thinks Bortles should start over with learning the basics.
Newly hired offensive coordinator Greg Olson is known for his work in improving quarterbacks, so his presence should help Bortles hone his skills. In a year everyone is trying to forget, Olson actually did help improve Blaine Gabbert‘s mechanics, even though there were some problems even a wizard couldn’t fix.
Most importantly, Greg Olson supposedly believes in Bortles. That was clearly an issue in 2012 when the Jaguars were interviewing coaches – they wanted to hire someone who believed in Blaine Gabbert, and that certainly was a tough sell considering how poorly he was playing.
This is a big offseason for Bortles in so many respects. His improvement is key not only for his career, but for the job safety of every coach on the staff. Another bottom-dweller season with a top 5 draft pick is not going to be acceptable year 3 into a rebuild. Bortles needs to get better, and he’s going to have to start with the basics.