Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has one last training camp as the de facto starter to prove he is ‘the guy’ in Jacksonville.
This is the season that Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles must prove himself. He either is or is not the quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars moving forward. The talking heads are still putting the Jags at the bottom of their conference with another losing season. There are many reasons why this needs to be “his” season.
First, a long term contract is on the line. Next, the Jaguars have added some much needed talent. Also, his receiving corps is highly talented. Finally, the culture of the team has changed. Players will be held accountable, including the quarterback.
A long term contract is about more than just money
Blake Bortles enters his fourth year. He could be offered his second NFL contract after this season. He won’t be offered a contract if he fails to perform this season. That means he will become a free agent and will need to find a new team. He will have to compete for a starting job and will probably be a back up. This is quite a let down for a high draft choice both monetarily and professionally. Bortles is unlikely to find a team as patient with him as the Jaguars have been.
The Jaguars added offensive talent
The Jaguars added some valuable players to improve the offense. It is up to Bortles to take advantage of this additional talent.
To start, they added veteran left tackle Brandon Albert and a high draft choice, Cam Robinson, to shore up the offensive line. In addition, they drafted a potential franchise running back in Leonard Fournette. A wide receiver with speed, Dede Westbrook, was added to open the field even more from the wide receiver position.
The offensive line was weak and the running game was anemic in 2016, those should be fixed and will give Bortles even fewer excuses.
The receivers are a strong position group
The strongest unit on the team is the receiver corps. This unit is one of the best in the NFL. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns had great seasons in 2015. Marqise Lee had a positive season in 2016. The team added Dede Westbrook, a speedster, to a strong unit. The strength and growth of this talented unit depends on the play of the quarterback.
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Team culture has changed
Tom Coughlin proved his value in the NFL. He made the expansion Jaguars a top team in the 1990s and coached the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories. Doug Marrone was successful at both Syracuse University and with the Buffalo Bills. He turned losing programs into winners. In addition, both men are old school and believe in accountability. Players will be responsible for their play on the field.
It’s up to Bortles
The new talent and more aggressive style will mean nothing if Bortles doesn’t step it up. The NFL is a quarterback driven league. It is virtually impossible to be competitive without a franchise quarterback.
Bortles has many positive qualities. First, he has the size and strength to be a success. Next, he is more than willing to work on his mechanics. Also, he stood in front of the media last season and took responsibility for his poor play. If he can return to his 2015 form, this much improved team can be a winner once again.