Blake Bortles had a rough rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014.
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It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the third overall selection.
It was more like being trapped between a rock and a hard place.
Only instead of rocks and hard places he was trapped between 280 pound defensive linemen and the turf.
As can be expected for a rookie QB who is sacked pretty much constantly, Bortles did not do well. He struggled. He floundered. And, in the end, he failed to make a positive impact through the final part of the season.
But just how bad was Bortles’s season? ESPN and Pro Football Focus recently tracked how far teams were from the Super Bowl and the last place Jaguars had a highlight on their rookie signal caller. Per Kevin Seifert from ESPN:
"Many rookie quarterbacks struggle, but Blake Bortles‘ rookie season was historically bad. His 21.9 QBR was the third worst for a rookie since 2006. He completed 58.9 percent of his passes (28th in the NFL) and threw just 11 touchdown passes against 17 interceptions. The quality of the Jaguars’ supporting cast left much to be desired, but Bortles still faces a steep improvement curve to fulfill the Jaguars’ hopes. As the No. 3 pick in the draft, he earned a hefty $13.3 million in 2014."
Most of us already knew that the interceptions were bad and the completion percentage left a lot to be desired (especially in the latter half of the season) but to see that Bortles was the third worst rookie since 2006 really does put his first campaign in the NFL in perspective. It wasn’t just a lack of yards in the latter half of the season. It wasn’t just the interception to touchdown ratio. It was a whole bunch of factors that combined to highlight how poor Bortles’s first campaign was.
Nearly historically terrible.
I’m incredibly high on Bortles because of what he inspired from an offense that looked downtrodden, miserable, and flat out unimpressive before he got on the field. But as Seifert points out, he faces some steep improvement if we Jags fans are to be excited about him moving forward. Hopefully Greg Olson can play to his strengths.