Blake Bortles one of the most improved players of 2015
Blake Bortles was bad as a rookie. Really bad. Historically bad.
In 2014, Bortles completed 58.9% of his passes, averaged 6.12 yards per pass attempt, threw only 11 touchdowns to his 17 interceptions, and had a league-worst 25.2 QBR according to ESPN. While QBR might ultimately be a stupid statistic, it was representative of just how bad Bortles was statistically.
With those numbers in mind, it’s not shocking that Bortles is amongst the most improved players in 2015 after setting multiple franchise records. Sam Monson listed him in the top 10 improved players of this past season:
"Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville JaguarsThe only quarterback ranked lower than Derek Carr as a rookie was Bortles, who notched the worst single-season cumulative grade PFF has ever seen in a first-year starter. The Jaguars always knew he was raw and not ready to start in his first year, but their faith in his upside was rewarded this season with a performance that saw him finish the season graded in the top 15. Bortles, who had 35 touchdown passes, still has issues with his game, but the leap from Year 1 to 2 was gigantic."
Derek Carr and Cam Newton are the only other quarterbacks on the list so Bortles is in good company. In 2015, Bortles more than tripled his touchdowns (35), threw for 1,500 more yards (4,428), added over a yard to his attempt average (7.31), and almost doubled his QBR (46.4). While his interception total stayed essentially the same (18), he did so in 16 games rather than the 13 in 2014.
It’s worth mentioning that Bortles compiled a majority of his numbers while playing from behind thanks to the atrocious play of the defense most games. Oddly enough, the Jaguars lost when Bortles was at his best. Blake threw for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 5 and he threw for 5 touchdowns in a shootout loss to Marcus Mariota and the Titans.
Odds are that Bortles won’t have the same gaudy numbers in 2016, but it’ll be because the Jaguars are a better overall team and won’t need Bortles to put them on his shoulders. For now, the numbers speak for themselves and Bortles is certainly one of the most improved players of 2015.