Blake Bortles is the future.
back in 2011, the Jacksonville Jaguars fortunately didn’t draft Jake Locker, the recently retired Tennessee Titans quarterback who fizzled out after just a few years in the league. While that 2011 draft saw the team pick up the horrendous Blaine Gabbert, the Jags have now moved on and are firmly behind Blake Bortles at quarterback.
Blake Bortles looked like the best thing to happen to the Jaguars offense since Justin Blackmon’s rookie season when he was under center in 2014. Unfortunately, the numbers simply don’t support that.
In fact, when you look at their first seasons as the primary starter (2012 and 2014, respectively) you see that Locker and Bortles aren’t that far apart. That should be concerning.
Locker completed 56.4% of his passes, Bortles completed 58.9%. Locker had a TD percentage of 3.2%, Bortles had a TD percentage of 2.3%. Locker threw interceptions on 3.5% of throws, Bortles through picks on 3.6% of throws. Locker averaged 6.9 yards per attempt, Botles averaged 6.1 yards per attempt. With just 197.8 yards per game, Locker was underwhelming. With 207.7 yards per game, Bortles was welcomed as a near-savior. Both quarterbacks are mobile and Locker averaged 7.1 yards per attempt to Bortles’ 7.5 yards per rushing attempt.
I draw these comparisons purely because it is important to keep what Bortles did in 2014 in some frame of reference. Not just to measure GM Dave Caldwell’s job performance, but also because Bortles is the future of the Jaguars franchise and is expected to make strides in 2015. It’s true that he wasn’t supposed to play in 2014, but Jake Locker didn’t really play his first season (2011) and still flopped in his second year.
I firmly believe in Blake Bortles and I know he has inspired better offensive play in his 14 starts than some quarterbacks have done over their careers. That said, his numbers simply aren’t very impressive at this point. We’re still waiting to see if his impressive physical attributes can translate into impressive offensive outings on a consistent basis. We’re still waiting if he can derive wins from his athleticism and poise.
He’s got the skills, but can he deliver? Personally, I would hate to see him become Jake Locker 2.0 and fizzle out after just a few years.
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