After one of the worst stretches in his career the past four games, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles must become the leader of this team.
What better way for the Jacksonville Jaguars to get the second half of the 2018 season off on the right foot than to see their quarterback lead this team to a win over the Indianapolis Colts. While having Blake Bortles, the fifth-year quarterback, engineer the victory would silence some critics, seeing him become the leader of this football team would speak volumes about where this team is headed.
Seeing Bortles and the Jaguars lose on the road to Indianapolis this coming Sunday would extinguish any hope of Jacksonville showing the rest of the football world they can be the dominant team everyone thought they would be going into the 2018 season.
Jacksonville is a 3.5-point underdog on the road.
Bortles met with the media on Wednesday morning at TIAA Bank Field ahead of the team’s practice. He said the bye week allowed players to re-energize and refocus on the game and to get much needed rest. Now, with a change in how the team is conducting the day-to-day routine of football, the focus is now back on winning and erasing the past four weeks.
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"“I think we had some good meetings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that honed everything in and got everyone thinking the right way and together on the thought process going into that break and then obviously, like you said, the break, giving guys some time off to go recover and reload and get ready to go in the second half of the season and get rolling,” he explained."
Bortles has thrown for 2,021 yards this season with 10 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He has taken a beating the past month because of poor offensive line play and the lack of a consistent running game. With everyone back after the week off, hopefully, the time away from the game means things will be different starting this weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"“For whatever reason, things weren’t going the way we wanted them to, and we weren’t playing the way we wanted to, and we were messing up,” said Bortles.“We were making mistakes that we don’t make during the week that we shouldn’t be making, and we weren’t playing at a level as an offense that we believe we can play at on a consistent basis.”"
The return of Leonard Fournette this week (as he is expected to play on Sunday) should give the offense a shot in the arm. But Bortles himself must prove to be the leader of this offense.
That means more pocket awareness, fewer turnovers and putting this team in position to score touchdowns, not just field goals.
Adding Fournette back to the game plan will help.
"“He is our guy, and he has been out for seven weeks now or whatever it has been. I know everyone is fired up to have him back in the lineup. I know I am excited to watch him run. I know guys are excited to block for him and see him go,” Bortles said."