Blake Bortles‘ mistakes were tolerable so long as he was making big plays and outpacing his turnovers. Now, he’s an anchor around the Jacksonville Jaguars’ collective neck.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars made Blake Bortles the third overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft they had hoped he could sit and learn and be brought on slowly. His big arm and prototypical size had everyone thinking Ben Roethlisberger immediately, but he certainly wasn’t going to be taking the Jags to the playoffs in year one.
Instead of waiting to play, the Jags forced Bortles into action, replacing an inept Chad Henne in his rookie season. The play was poor, but he was a rookie, right?
Then 2015 rolled around and all of the flash Bortles displayed in his rookie season seemed to come to the surface. Big throw after big throw had us all looking the other way as heoutpaced the league in interceptions through most of the season. The pick-six almost joined the long bombs to Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns as a signature weapon in his repertoire. So long as those bombs connected, though, we’d let him occasionally give the opposing team six points.
After all, he’d just get better in year three, right?
After nine games at the helm and an abysmal 2-7 record, Bortles has looked anything but improved. He’s actually regressed, setting a pace to finish among the worst in the NFL.
The mistakes he’s made – including Week 10’s pick-six that turned out to be a key score that made the Houston Texans victors – have hung like an anchor around the team’s collective neck. The surprisingly stout play of the defense at the start of the season just couldn’t do enough as Bortles literally fumbled opportunities away.
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The fumbles (four) and interceptions (11) are too much for the 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars to overcome. He can’t match his big negative plays with big positive plays. The defense can’t stay on the field all game.
Instead of being hailed as a savior in his third season with the Jaguars, Bortles has become a sour note. The opinion has turned on him. He’s no longer a developing, promising quarterback; he’s a broken prospect.
Until his play improves, I fear the Jags simply aren’t going to overcome. There’s too much going against them due to mistakes at the game’s most important position and the rest of the team just isn’t good enough to compensate.