Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was thrown to the wolves much like former Houston Texans quarterback David Carr. Why does Carr get a pass when Bortles doesn’t?
Coming out of college, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was breathlessly compared to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. After three seasons, an 11-34 record, and 140 sacks, the comparison has begun to shift to former Houston Texans quarterback David Carr.
While Bortles’ sacks are often brought up in conversation about why he struggles as a young quarterback, the comparison to Carr (not to be confused with his young brother and current Oakland Raiders sensation, Derek Carr) is not always talked about. But over at /r/jaguars, Reddit user /u/MisterFrear is hoping to change that.
In a post titled “I question why is David Carr given a pass when Bortles isn’t, and the future of Bortles” /u/MisterFrear dives in depth to make a connection between the two quarterbacks that were thrown to the wolves. Here at B&T and FanSided, the fan’s opinion is supreme and it’s worth exploring the comparison more in depth. We’ll take the original post bit by bit here and dive in.
/u/MisterFrear begins with the assumption that most people believe Carr could have been a good quarterback if not for the sacks he took as the first starting quarterback of the Houston franchise. This, at least in the mind of this writer, is agreeable. What happened to Carr (being sacked 249 times in his Texans tenure) is a shame and was downright dangerous for the young quarterback.
"So what about Bortles, then? Bortles has played in and started more games than Carr has and has the same amount of sacks. Bortles is also the most-sacked player in the league since he entered in 2014, beating even Russell Wilson.Adding (sic) Russell Wilson to the aforementioned list is even more telling, because despite having been playing for 2 years longer and having been sacked 65 more times, Russell Wilson still only averages 2.6 sacks per game. That’s just stupid. No QB can be expected to succeed under those conditions, and although Russell Wilson and Warren Moon have been to superbowls despite it, the top 10 list for those players sacked most in their first 3 years isn’t exactly great. You can argue Ryan Tannehill and absolutely Randall Cunningham, but in general the top of the list isn’t somewhere winners are generally found."
Here is where a little bit of disagreement begins to show. While it is shocking that Bortles has been sacked as often as Carr was in his first three seasons (second-most all-time behind Randall Cunningham), the breakdown of the top-10 most sacked quarterbacks in their first three years needs further examination. The top-10 list of most sacked quarterbacks is actually surprisingly successful. For those wishing to save a click, here is what that list looks like (sacks in parenthesis):
- Randall Cunningham (146)
- Blake Bortles (140)
- David Carr (140)
- Ryan Tannehill (139)
- Warren Moon (134)
- Tony Banks (132)
- Jake Plummer (128)
- Ken O’Brien (124)
- Jeff George (120)
- Russell Wilson (119)
Of those in the top 10, it is easy to argue that Cunningham, Moon, and Wilson all had successful careers. Taking Tannehill into account because of his recent successful season (and /u/MisterFrear’s assertion that he could be argued as good), that’s easily 40 percent of most-sacked quarterbacks in their first three years doing well. I would also argue that Jake Plummer, who cut his career short voluntarily, was a tremendous quarterback and found success before hanging up his cleats to play handball in the backwoods of Idaho (true story). He was good enough that Jon Gruden came calling in person to get him to quarterback the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Plummer famously led the Denver Broncos to the AFC Championship game in 2005, one year before retiring. Ken O’Brien is also worth noting for his 11-5 record in his first season as a full time starter in 1985 when he led the league with 96.2 quarterback rating and his two Pro Bowl selections during his 11-year career despite being overshadowed by his legendary 1983 draft peers like Dan Marino and John Elway.
Counting Plummer and O’Brien the list of most-sacked quarterbacks is incredibly impressive. If throwing a quarterback to the wolves and having the wolves take complete advantage turns out a successful quarterback 60 percent of the time, it sounds like a pretty decent risk. Even if a 60/40 shot isn’t a general manager’s or head coach’s cup of tea, it’s hard to look at the results of that top-10 group and see any clear indication that being sacked often actually produces terrible quarterbacks. Even the top-five leans three/two in favor of better quarterbacks.