has been a preseason superstar and it's clear that he's well on his way to be..."/> has been a preseason superstar and it's clear that he's well on his way to be..."/>

Can Blake Bortles keep up his stellar play?


Blake Bortles has been a preseason superstar and it’s clear that he’s well on his way to being somebody special in the NFL.

2015 was supposed to be the year he entered the league as the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Instead, we got to see him take his lumps during a rookie campaign that saw him taken down again and again and making mistake after mistake.

Personally, I’m glad we saw that Blake Bortles in year one, because now we know just how much better he is and we can see a clear upward trajectory in his play.

His skills have improved, his mental understanding of the game has improved, and he looks like he could really carry this team now. Last year he showed sparks. This year he showed he can sustain a fire.

But for how long?

A big part of the early offseason focus in 2015 was that Blake Bortles was nursing a depleted arm through the end of the 2014 season. This dead arm was attributed to the previous college season, NFL draft build up, and continual use through the subsequent rookie camps, OTAs, training camp, preseason, and regular season.

All that work can take a toll on a young body.

Will it happen again?

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With an improved, tighter throwing motion the hope is that Bortles won’t have to face that problem in 2015 and beyond. It should limit the wear and tear on his body as he keeps throwing balls through the season. If Bortles lapses into old bad habits, then he may have a problem.

That lapse into old habits is what should be most concerning as we watch an improved Blake Bortles through the season.

Old habits are easy to lapse into and if they are bad (like many of Bortles’ were) then it could make a rough second year for the quarterback. There’s no guarantee that this happens, but it is definitely something to keep in mind through the 2015 season.

What I will be looking for most isn’t a lazy throwing motion through the season, however. I’ll be looking to see if Bortles is able to keep his mental game focused through the entire year.

One of the most impressive things about Bortles’ preseason performance was that he didn’t throw a single interception. Of his 60 attempts, not one was picked off. Many of his interceptions last year seemed to be mental errors, lapses when going through his progressions, or latching onto a target and trying to force it in.

That doesn’t seem to be happening anymore.

If he can stay focused and keep his mental game tight like his throwing motion, then he’ll be well on his way to maintaining the strong showing he has put up this preseason.

In my mind, Bortles has taken such a big step forward that even if he lapses a little we won’t get 2014 Bortles all over again. The potential to keep up his stellar play is there. He just needs to work on it week in and week out.

Next: Would you want Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, or Derek Carr leading your team?

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