Blake Bortles is the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars and like so many teams in the NFL, as the quarterback goes, so goes the team. With a new emphasis on the running game with the drafting of T.J. Yeldon in round two of the 2015 NFL Draft and with the defense finally looking like it could stand up to better defenses, Bortles may have a couple of supports for his second season.
When Bortles came out of UCF to join the Jaguars, he was often compared to Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. A big quarterback with a strong arm and the willingness to take on defenders, Bortles showed that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the Jaguars in a position to win. That may sound odd coming on the heels of a three win season, but Bortles (despite all of his struggles) never gave up on the Jaguars. He displayed a tenacity that helps separate the best quarterbacks in the league from the rest. That tenacity is something that drew a lot of people to Roethlisberger early in his career and it’s going to continue to draw people to Bortles.
Of course, Bortles doesn’t have the same success that Big Ben had in Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger was 13-0 as a rookie, posting some solid numbers while making every team in the NFL stare on in envy. Bortles struggled to remain in the top 32 quarterbacks of the NFL during his first season. Instead of throwing 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, he did the opposite.
Yet that tenacity, that grit is appealing. It’s something that could separate Blake Bortles from the rest of his draft class or the other young up and coming quarterbacks in the NFL.
Having a stronger defense and a running game to rely on would make a world of difference as well. Roethlisberger has had no shortage of top-caliber running backs and no shortage of stalwart defenses to help him along. It doesn’t detract from the play he has put together throughout his impressive career, but it did help him reach higher heights earlier in his career than he may have without them.
As the Jacksonville Jaguars gear up around Blake Bortles with the quarterback as their centerpiece, things may finally come together enough for the gritty young quarterback to power the Jaguars to a few more wins.
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