Blake Bortles can’t be the whole offense, no matter how multifaceted he is.
The two-headed rushing attack of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon simply hasn’t come to be this season. Injuries and poor play calling have hobbled the rebuilt rushing attack and forced even more responsibility on Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
Just how bad is it? Well, Bortles is just 56 yards away from being the Jags’ top rusher. Here’s how the top three stack up:
- Chris Ivory: 350 yards, 3.8 yards per attempt
- T.J. Yeldon: 318 yards, 3.6 yards per attempt
- Blake Bortles: 294 yards, 6.5 yards per attempt
81 of those yards came in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills, in which Bortles led the Jaguars in rushing while completing just 50 percent of his passes. He scored two touchdowns through the air but had to be the rushing attack in addition to the passing attack after Ivory stood on the sideline with injury and Yeldon made limited appearances due to injury as well.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett may be asking Bortles to run more, but he can’t be a complete substitute for the rushing attack. While he’s big, strong, and fast, he isn’t Cam Newton or Michael Vick. Rarely do running quarterbacks last long in the NFL and rarely do they have sustained success.
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Bortles doesn’t have success and his young career may be done before it even gets started if he keeps playing poorly. Being forced to run often for almost as many yards as the primary running backs will only cause further regression. He should be fixing his throwing motion and getting better at his reads, not trying to turn in to Colin Kaepernick 2.0.
Sure, it’s nice to see the young quarterback do everything in his power to help the Jags get a win. It’s nice to see him shoulder the responsibility and put the team on his back. But the running is more a symptom of offensive failure. The running backs can’t get things going so the quarterback is taking it up.
This is just another example of the sorry state of affairs for the Jags at this time. Hopefully he doesn’t finish the season as the lead rusher on the team.