Blake Bortles had a rough year in his rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thrust into the starting lineup because Chad Henne couldn’t get it done, Bortles put some life in the offense but not enough to put together a solid campaign.
In 2014 he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, he led the lowest scoring offense in the NFL, and the offense stumbled to 31st overall in yardage at the end of the year. Compared to other rookies like Zach Mettenberger, Teddy Bridgewater, and Derek Carr, Bortles appeared to be floundering in 2014. There were moments of potential and flashes of brilliance, but he was still a ways away from putting it all together on the field.
As harsh as that criticism sounds, it’s sometimes important to be objective. Which is why I was shocked to see Blake Bortles ranked above six quarterbacks in a recent QB Power Ranking. Writer Erik Lambert, who I enjoy reading, put Bortles ahead of Mettenberger, Mike Glennon, Ryan Mallett, Robert Griffin III, Matt Cassel and Josh McCown. A few of those players have put together pretty decent seasons not too long ago and Mettenberger did look pretty good in his first campaign.
Here’s what Lambert had to say about Bortles:
"There is still a lot of work to do on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster before a true assessment of Blake Bortles can be made. What can be said is he looked like a rookie last season. As usual in such cases there were moments of brilliance and those that were cringe-worthy. The bottom line is he needs better protection, better weapons and more help from his defense. Period."
As a biased Jaguars fan what I love seeing about this is that Bortles is being appreciated for what he has: talent. He has the skills to make throws, he has the presence, he has the intangibles, it’s all there. Would I go so far as to say that his lack of production was solely because of his supporting cast? Probably not. Though they certainly didn’t help!
Does that really mean that Bortles is better than the six quarterbacks below him on the list, though? We’ve seen RGIII put it together before and we’ve seen Mettenberger and Glennon flash. We’ve even seen Matt Cassel excel as a passer and Josh McCown experience a slight resurgence. Honestly, though, they are all more or less in the same boat. I value numbers as proof of production and talent and Bortles’ one season doesn’t quite compare to what some of these quarterbacks have done at some point in their careers. Then again, the upside is obviously there while guys like Cassel and McCown are near their ceiling and Mallett and RGII are essentially big questions for their teams.
What do you guys think? Where would you put Bortles on this list?
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