Blake Bortles took his first regular season snaps in a blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts in 2014. Chad Henne looked completely inept and Bortles came in to prove that the offense could actually move the ball more than five yards.
Those first few drives to his career showed what kind of player we could all expect from Bortles. From 0-30 at halftime to 17-44 at the end of the game, we learned a lot about Blake Bortles.
His first drives ended like this:
- Punt, Bortles went 1/6 for 21 yards
- Field Goal, Bortles went 1/3 for 26 yards
- Interception, Bortles went 2/5 for 13 yards
- Touchdown, Bortles went 3/3 for 82 yards and the touchdown
- Interception, Bortles went 2/4 for 21 yards
- Touchdown, Bortles went 5/5 for 57 yards and the touchdown
Already down by multiple scores when he entered the game, Bortles could go for bust whenever he wanted. This whole second half was garbage time and the Colts knew it. Bortles knew it, the coaching staff knew it. This was a test drive for the Jaguars’ new quarterback and even though the game was already out of hand, it showed us what we now know about Bortles.
Blake Bortles is a risk taker. He’s a gunslinger. He makes mistakes, he makes big plays, and he isn’t afraid to keep attacking.
During 2015 Jaguars training camp, it isn’t shocking to hear that Bortles is continuing to do the same things. Gus Bradley praised him for it, saying, “He’ll make some mistakes, but he’ll come back. I think he threw an interception off a tipped ball and he came back and completed a pass the next play and went for it again.”
That’s what we have come to expect from Bortles. He’s not afraid to take a risk and if it pays off then it looks great. If it doesn’t, he comes right back out there and takes more risks.
Bradley talked about how he needs to take more intelligent risks and learn where he can find success. He spoke about how important it is to learn your strengths.
Being a gunslinger isn’t necessarily a strength. It’s a style of play. But with it comes a need to be fearless. Bortles must prove that he can continually bounce back from a bad throw or a bad decision.
So far, it’s clear that he’s that kind of guy. It’s clear that he’ll take risks and he’ll bounce back if they yield a negative return. It’s been clear since he first took the field in that game against the Indianapolis Colts but it’s still being reinforced.
As great as it would be to hear about Bortles making every throw in practice and being Peyton Manning, we may have to respect the kind of player that he already is and learn to live with the inevitable ups and downs that come with it. Hopefully he’ll make more intelligent risks and lead a gunslinging career more in line with that of Brett Favre and less in line with that of Jay Cutler.
We’ll see what he puts on the field in 2015.
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