After an embarrassing preseason performance, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the Jaguars have problems at quarterback and beyond.
Blake Bortles is bad.
Let’s get that out of the way. It’s a shame that we’re watching the public collapse of a player who set franchise records for touchdown passes and passing yards in 2015, but we’re at the point where it’s not even about Bortles failing to progress, it’s about his unprecedented regression. There’s no reason to continue starting Bortles at this point and, outside of some monumental turnaround over the next two weeks, he won’t be starting in week 1. It will probably be Chad Henne and that milquetoast reality deserves it’s own depressing monologue post.
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With that in mind, let’s push aside how awful some of Bortles’ throws were last night and look at the down and distance of each of his passes:
- 1st and 10 at JAX 25 (complete, 4 yards)
- 3rd and 3 at JAX 32 (complete, 1st down)
- 2nd and 11 at JAX 35 (complete, 2 yards)
- 3rd and 9 at JAX 37 (incomplete, missed big play)
- 2nd and 11 at JAX 9 (incomplete, awful drop by Marcedes)
- 3rd and 11 at JAX 9 (complete, but could have been INT)
- 2nd and 11 at JAX 29 (complete)
- 3rd and 3 at JAX 37 (incomplete, awful throw)
- 2nd and 12 at JAX 10 (complete, easy read)
- 1st and 10 at JAX 27 (incomplete)
- 3rd and 8 at JAX 29 (incomplete, but DPI)
- 1st and 10 at JAX 41 (complete)
- 2nd and 10 at TB 47 (sacked)
- 3rd and 17 at JAX 46 (complete, well short of 1st down)
That’s three attempts on first down and almost all of the other passes were in disadvantageous passing situations (2nd or 3rd and long). This isn’t to defend Bortles (he had Allen Robinson open and should have had a few big plays), but it highlights two huge problems the Jaguars have – offensive line and running back.
Leonard Fournette should be good, but no running back is going to excel when they have to break tackles in the backfield. Not addressing the offensive line more in the offseason was just as egregious an error as not adding a QB.
The Jaguars can’t run the ball and that’s supposed to be their plan heading into 2017.
Sure, Chad Henne might make a throw or two that Bortles can’t right now, but he’ll eventually be what he’s always been – a terrible quarterback.
We can talk about the defense and their lackluster performance as well, but for now let’s follow this train of thought:
The Jaguars problem goes beyond who is actually at quarterback and in reality goes past the players on the roster. The problem is at the top, where the decision makers felt comfortable moving into the 2017 regular season with no viable option at quarterback.
We’ve heard rumors about trades (for A.J. McCarron, who is also a bad quarterback), but the fact that they went through all 7 rounds and free agency without signing or picking someone is a catastrophic failure.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Bortles, the unquestioned starter heading into training camp, is cut before the start of the regular season. If that happens, heads need to roll in the front office if they don’t trade or sign another quarterback who can compete for the starting job.