The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Blake Bortles problem (no, the sky is not falling)


After on bad practice Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles‘ polarization arises again.

Just before the weekend Blake Bortles was on the rise. The starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars had looked sharp to open training camp after months of offseason work.

Effectively in do-or-die mode as he enters his final contract year, Bortles has little internal pressure on the depth chart to force him to get better. An aging Chad Henne is not a threat to take his starting snaps and Brandon Allen – a compelling third option – is still nearly a complete unknown. Both players sat behind Bortles despite all the struggles in 2016. Should Bortles falter again, both Henne and Allen are there to be serviceable and little more.

After a bad practice in front of fans, in which Bortles through five interceptions, the calls to replace Bortles quickly came back out. Steven Ruiz of For the Win immediately called for giving Colin Kaepernick a look after the practice (which isn’t a bad idea, considering all quarterback options), among others.

But one practice is just one practice. Immediately jumping all over one quarterback for one bad night simply because it happened is not the way forward for a franchise. After three years with Bortles it would be much better to see him throw zero interceptions through training camp but that is far from a realistic expectation.

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Further, we’ve seen Bortles look impressive before the regular season and had it all collapse. Before 2016, Bortles looked highly impressive in the preseason but he fell apart when things all came together. The point being, it doesn’t matter until the games start to matter.

Training camp is training camp. It’s there for players to grow and become better. Calling for any player’s job after a poor night of practice would destabilize any franchise, regardless of it being a quarterback or other premiere position.

At this point, it’s too early to declare the sky is falling. Bortles has to get better but it isn’t the end of the world if he isn’t a perfect player. The Jags struggled through the season with him last season, they can get through another if they have to.

As Kevin Patra of said, “We aren’t going to make a huge hullabaloo out of one blown practice by Bortles. But after an offseason of positivity, his disastrous day is noteworthy.”