Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was the worst starting quarterback in the NFL last season by most statistical measures. He had the lowest passer rating (69.5) and the lowest total QBR (21.9) of any starting QB in the NFL.
There’s obviously more to it than just statistics, especially for a rookie quarterback who needed time to develop coming out of college, but Bortles clearly needs to improve by a noticeable margin in his sophomore season.
As far as advanced metrics, Pro Football Focus has a similar opinion of Blake Bortles. In 2014, Bortles received the the lowest overall grade of all QBs playing 25% of their team’s snaps (-38.9) and the lowest pass grade (-42.5).
In a recent article, PFF broke down how each quarterback performs under pressure and in a clean pocket. According to PFF, Bortles was under pressure on 32.5% of his drop backs, just below the NFL average of 33.4%. It’s interesting to see Bortles wasn’t under pressure more than average, considering he was sacked a league-leading 55 times.
Consequently, Bortles had a (-6.8) grade under pressure, 5th worst among quarterbacks, and he had a (-30.4) grade with no pressure, the worst grade by a comfortable margin.
So what does it all mean? Well, Bortles wasn’t really very good in 2014 as a rookie. Obviously Bortles can improve, but it’s clear he needs to work on the cerebral part of the game. Bortles thrived last season when he made plays outside of the pocket and worked outside the structure of the play, but that only gets you so far.
One thing to hang hope on his how well Bortles played in the preseason. In his short appearances, Bortles had the 5th best overall grade among QBs in the preseason. He showed the ability to play within the pocket and his mechanics were solid.
Hopefully Bortles looks a little more like preseason 2014 Blake in 2015.
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