Blake Bortles and the ‘Dead Arm’ Situation


Blake Bortles has hit the news again recently for the recounting of the “dead arm” he had at the end of the 2014 NFL season.

His issues with arm deterioration after his final collegiate season, the NFL Draft process, and the 2014 NFL offseason and season were well noted after the Jaguars sputtered to 3-13 in Bortles’ first year starting. Now that we’re in a bit of a dead time for the NFL, this issue is being dredged up again. It’s a good thing to keep in mind, too, as the Jaguars’ young signal caller will be facing a full season in which the team relies on him.

It is expected of Bortles to be able to make throws for all 16 games of this season.

Calling the problem a “dead arm” is in reference to general manager Dave Caldwell’s comment on Bortles being on the injury report toward the end of the season. Keeping an eye on the injury report for the 2015 season may be a key indicator to how well Bortles is faring as the season goes on.

While I believe that it is important to note the “dead arm” situation again, it’s important to not place too much emphasis on it. Blake Bortles had a rough rookie season and arm deterioration is an important part of that, but at the end of the day it isn’t the whole story. As the season went on, Bortles actually managed to make less mistakes than his early outings. As the season wore on, he learned to compete better within his capacity. Those are positive things and should be more important for his development than anything else.

It’s important to have a quarterback who is physically up to the task of competing in the NFL, but it is more important to have a quarterback who can compete smartly in the NFL. Bortles was learning to do that through his rough rookie season regardless of his arm situation. His steps forward most likely won’t be based on a fresh arm, but instead on whether he can identify opportunities for success, taking advantage of what the defense gives him.

Bringing Blake Bortles to Jacksonville is the defining moment of Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley. If he continues to have arm issues throughout his career (which probably won’t happen, but we’ll keep an eye out) then he may not have a chance to show his development. Then we’ll start worrying about the “dead arm” situation more.

For now, it’s something that should be firmly placed in the past.

Next: Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson Make a Promising Duo

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