Blake Bortles in sink-or-swim mode

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Jadeveon Clowney
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Jadeveon Clowney /

After a disappointing season, Blake Bortles a needs to find a way to be productive in 2017 or he might not be back as the quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With all the pressure in the world on his shoulder, Jacksonville Jaguars Blake Bortles is entering an odd season. After a rough rookie season, Bortles excelled in 2015 and looked to be fulfilling the potential the Jaguars saw in him when they took him with the 3rd overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Things worsened dramatically in 2016 as the team faltered to a 3-13 finish and Bortles at times looked like the worst quarterback in the league.

Somewhat curiously, the Jaguars opted to pick up the former UCF star’s 5th-year option. This wasn’t exactly an endorsement of Bortles since the money isn’t guaranteed outside of injury, but it was still an interesting move.

Fifth-year option aside, it’s fairly clear that Bortles needs to show he’s a viable NFL starter in 2017, otherwise he won’t be on the Jaguars come 2018.

Brad Gagnon over at Bleacher Report agrees, as he listed Bortles in his column of young NFL players in danger of flaming out of the league.

"The 25-year-old has won just 11 times in three NFL seasons. And yes, it’s a team sport. But his sub-60 completion percentage, 6.6 yards-per-attempt average and sub-80 passer rating are evidence that Bortles hasn’t delivered.He surely has the ability—he was lights-out at Central Florida and was a top-three pick for a reason—and it’s not to late. He received praise on his corrected mechanics from new Jags executive vice president Tom Coughlin on NFL Network and is working with quarterback guru Tom House, according to Josh Ciganek of Florida Football Insiders. He’ll face less proverbial (and probably actual) pressure with Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Leonard Fournette in the backfield, and he told reporters that he’s been focusing on limiting his “stupid” turnovers.But it’s extremely discouraging that most of his rate-based numbers plummeted in 2016. He could still bounce back, and he could be a late bloomer like Terry Bradshaw or Eli Manning, but in this impatient league Bortles is running out of time."

Eli Manning has been a recently propped up comparison for Bortles, one that is considerably more appropriate given the emergence of Tom Coughlin back in Jacksonville.

The younger Manning brother struggled with turnovers early in his career and somewhat does to this day. The big difference between him and Bortles is that Eli found ways to win in his first few seasons, while Bortles has limped to a horrific win-loss record over his first 3 seasons.

That’s not all on Bortles the Jacksonville defense has been awful for the last 5+ seasons and the weapons around him have only recently been upgraded to that of a competent NFL offense. Bortles was also “gifted” with the tutelage of the worst head coach in the history of the NFL for his first three years.

Most of those excuses are gone now however and Bortles truly does need to swim, otherwise he will sink.