Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles never lost the support of his teammates

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Blake Bortles
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Blake Bortles /

Blake Bortles has continuously had to weather the harshness of national media, but has never lost the support of those who matter most.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are playing against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday. Despite leading his team to the precipice of the promised land, it’s no secret that quarterback Blake Bortles has faced a sea of brutal criticism this season, even through the team’s current playoff run.

Bortles has been nothing but genuine and sincere in any and all press conferences in his time in Jacksonville, but has still faced the brunt force of many unkind media voices within the league. Now Bortles has certainly played with inconsistency at times with the Jaguars, and has had sub-par performances no doubt, but there seem to be personal vendettas from national media members, and even fellow NFL players, waiting with bated breath to attack the fourth-year quarterback at the sight of even the slightest sign of struggle.

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But despite the heat Bortles has constantly faced, and a telling sign of why the Jaguars are still playing, is the unwavering support from the other 52 guys in the locker room this season.

Teammates have been in Bortles’ corner all year long, and have vocally taken exception to any negative remarks about their quarterback. Bortles has been unfairly picked apart numerous times, and his comrades are not having it. That was clear even as recent as this week. After the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, in which Bortles was a key component, Malik Jackson sounded off on Tennessee Titans’ defensive end Jurrell Casey.

Right before the playoffs started, Casey notably stated that Bortles would “choke” in the postseason. Jackson hasn’t taken kindly to that, and would like to know what Casey thinks now, “while you sit at home and watch us next week”.

That is just one example of a season full of Jaguars teammates coming to the aid of their offensive leader. Bortles has never let outside talk be a hindrance to how he plays, and has always taken unflattering remarks in stride. But having the collective backing of the other guys within the locker room shows the close-knit bond between this team, and has been a driving force behind Jacksonville’s ongoing success.

Through it all, Blake Bortles is one of just four quarterbacks left playing in the 2017 season. Media can write whatever they choose, but a fact is a fact. Bortles’ supporting cast knew he could get the team this far, and have candidly expressed they have no doubt he can take them even further.  And that’s the only chatter that matters.