Blake Bortles must perform under pressure in 2016

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles made huge strides in his sophomore season, but he’s going to have to keep getting better while under more pressure with an improved supporting cast.

Despite what some advanced metrics folks would lead you to believe, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a good quarterback. Blake Bortles was statistically awful as a rookie in 2014, but he made significant improvements in numerous aspects in 2015. He was helped by the emergence of two stud wide receivers in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, but Bortles clearly played faster and made better decisions last year.

Sure, Bortles needs to work on cutting down on the interceptions and getting his completion percentage up, but it’s hard not to be bullish on the former number 3 overall pick.

Justin Twell over at Inside the Pylon recently did a nice breakdown of what Bortles did well in 2015, and he notes an important part of the evaluation process – we haven’t seen Blake Bortles perform in too many high pressure situations:

Although a question remains: How will Bortles perform under some real pressure situations, should the Jaguars find themselves fighting for a playoff spot or even make the playoffs? A comfortable and effective offensive scheme with trustworthy players around him will give Bortles a lot of confidence to perform in those situations. However the answer is simply, only time will tell.

Bortles has had to lead game-winning drives in basically every single win in his career, so I think the small sample size there will translate well in 2016. The Jaguars will almost certainly be in the mix in the 4th quarter in more games this year than over the past 3 years, so we’ll get a much better look at how Bortles responds to carrying the load on a consistent basis.

If you want some optimism, look no further than Bortles’ clutch game-winning touchdown pass in the London game against the Bills. The Jaguars had every reason to shut it down after an embarrassing collapse (they blew a 27-3 lead), but Bortles got his offense together and led a terrific drive that culminated in a highlight play with Allen Hurns.

If this is what Bortles is going to do under pressure, then the Jaguars are in good hands.

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