Jacksonville Jaguars: “Blake Bortles is our quarterback”


Blake Bortles isn’t going anywhere anytime soon with the Jacksonville Jaguars reiterating their commitment to the young quarterback.

Blake Bortles, Blake Bortles, Blake Bortles.

A year ago the name Blake Bortles was one of the hottest in the NFL. He had just shattered Jacksonville Jaguars passing records, was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL, and looked capable of making the step to the big leagues.

But that was after 2015. 2016 was a completely different story.

Just a year later and the confidence in Bortles across the league has evaporated. There were few balanced opinions with many going from calling Bortles a budding superstar to labeling him a flameout or bust. There is seemingly little middle ground in the popular opinion.

That middle ground must exist, though. With reports that Bortles may be salvageable as a starting quarterback it isn’t surprising to see the narrative already beginning to shift. The new regime certainly factors in as well.

Elevating Doug Marrone from assistant head coach/offensive line coach to head coach was a strong indicator that the Jags aren’t yet ready to move on from Bortles as their quarterback. New executive vice president Tom Coughlin confirmed that by assertively saying, “Blake Bortles is our quarterback.” After a year of struggle, that isn’t what some fans wanted to hear. It isn’t enough of a departure from what is perceived as a failed season.

Yet Bortles will be that rallying point for the Jaguars on offense. Without his success it is clear that wide receivers Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee can’t carry the team. Without Bortles succeeding, the running game suffers. Just like any other team, quarterback play is critical.

Affirming the team’s position in support of Bortles may not be popular, but it does provide a starting point for the Jaguars as they head into the offseason. They know where they need to build around, they know how to continue to build the roster around the quarterback, and they can focus on improving his strengths and mitigating his weaknesses.

It isn’t all about development, though.

By confirming that Bortles is the quarterback early, Coughlin and Marrone are putting responsibility on the quarterback. Coughlin in particular brings a new level of accountability to the Jaguars and he will demand excellence from his quarterback. No longer will it be about simply getting better or seeing progress, Bortles has to deliver for the Jaguars. Coughlin wants wins and Bortles has to deliver them.

Accountability is crucial on NFL teams. There was far too little of it under former head coach Gus Bradley and the new regime is already telling us all where to look if things don’t shape up. One year in support of Bortles (which will be his fourth season as starter) will give everyone a look as to whether he actually is capable of being a starter in the NFL. If he doesn’t show it, look to Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell to find someone who will.

Next: Tom Coughlin makes clear objectives for the Jaguars

Blake Bortles is our quarterback, for now. It’s on him to prove that he can be our quarterback beyond 2017 because this team’s new culture is all about winning and Bortles hasn’t done enough of it to this point.