In a crucial season for Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, a decrease in passing touchdowns in 2017 would not necessarily mean a disappointing season.
Blake Bortles is coming into the 2017 season knowing it is a make or break year for him. For Bortles to prolong his tenure as starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he must perform well, and much better than he did in 2016.
So while it is well established that Bortles is playing for his job this season, one major stat category may take a hit in 2017, and that might turn out to be just fine.
In an underwhelming season in 2016, Blake Bortles still managed to throw 23 touchdowns. That is not an explosive number per se, but a good output nonetheless. But Bortles may not get as many opportunities to match that number this season, and the reason is the offensive philosophy put into place by the team.
The Jaguars are determined to take the workload off of Bortles in 2017, and really rely on the running game to drive the offense. Head coach Doug Marrone wants to play old school, smashmouth football, and wear down defenses.
With Bortles’ struggles with decision making, look for the passing game to be refined, and expect Bortles to have a lot more short to intermediate routes to work with, complementing the run game. With this scheme on offense, Bortles will seemingly have less opportunities to make big plays with his arm, which in turn could lead to fewer touchdown passes in 2017.
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But this simplified passing game shouldn’t be viewed as a negative by any means. With a running game that should be powerful with the addition of Leonard Fournette, this opens up the field for Jaguars receivers to get open. Bortles will have his opportunities to find his first or second read, and deliver accurate passes to keep the chains moving, while also reducing the chances of making the crucial mistakes that he has been prone to make.
Blake Bortles has to be successful for his team this season. With an offense predicated on a ground and pound approach, passing touchdowns may not tell the whole story on whether Bortles comes up big for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017.