Blake Bortles was taken in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft and Derek Carr followed well afterward in the second round. The two most productive QBs from that draft face off in Week 7.
Quarterback battles aren’t really battles. Both players lead their respective offenses and don’t interact directly on the field.
And yet we are drawn to comparing those men in “battles” at the hardest position in sports on any given Sunday. In Week 7 there may be no more intriguing pairing than Blake Bortles and Derek Carr of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, respectively.
To this point, Bortles has been the erratic, big-play quarterback that teams love to gamble on because of his raw ability. Carr, in contrast, has been the definition of consistent, making great throws and keeping the ball safe, giving his team a fighting chance in any game.
Carr has won more games than Bortles, boasting a 14-24 record to Bortles’ 10-24. He’s putting it all together this season, leading the Raiders to a 4-2 record at this point, compared to just 2-3 for Bortles.
Bortles is completing 61.1 percent of his passes, a career high – a mark that Carr finished 2015 with. Carr is completing 66.5 percent of his passes, proving his consistency as he establishes a new career high.
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Carr also leads in yards per attempt, averaging 7.1 (a career high) en route to 1608 yards. In comparison, Bortles is gaining 6.0 yards per attempt en route to 1321 yards. They are separated by just four yards per game (268 for Carr compared to 264 for Bortles).
All those attempts have also led to some production and mistakes. Bortles had eight touchdowns to seven interceptions compared to Carr’s 12 touchdowns and just three picks. It’s almost ridiculous to think Carr won’t keep it safe in Week 7 against the Jags’ secondary.
On the whole, the statistical advantage clearly falls to Carr. He has taken the next step forward in his development while Bortles is struggling to match his sophomore production. Most importantly, Carr’s ability to keep the ball safe stands out.
Anything can happen in any NFL game, though. Both Blake Bortles and Derek Carr have the ability to break a game wide open and dominate. Will the less-complete Bortles put it together for a game, keep the ball safe, and still go big? Or will Carr’s consistency be enough to take it to the Jags defense and win the game?
The different approaches in offense and the way the two quarterbacks play the game will be on full display on Sunday. For those of us who have followed both careers to this point this game will be an exciting one to watch and could yield insight into the futures of both franchises.