Jaguars QB Blake Bortles: “I put myself in this position”
By David Levin
While meeting with the media for the first time since the Jaguars benched him in favor of Cody Kessler, quarterback Blake Bortles addressed the decision by the organization.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles admitted things have been a bit different this week after the team promoted backup Cody Kessler to the starting position. After 72 consecutive games under center as a starter, the fifth-year pro will watch from the sidelines, at the ready if the team needs him to step in.
Bortles and the Jaguars have suffered through seven straight losses. On Monday, head coach Doug Marrone announced that his offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had been fired and that Bortles would be benched when the team faces Indianapolis this weekend at TIAA Bank Field.
It was Bortles who was quick to say he understands the reasons for the change.
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"“I put myself in this position,” said Bortles. “I didn’t play good enough. I didn’t win football games. I couldn’t find a way to get it done.“When that happens, it’s a business. Everybody understands that. I don’t think there’s anything personal involved. As a quarterback, your main job obviously is to win football games. If you don’t do that, your time is going to come.”"
For some of the fans and local and national media, the move to replace No. 5 in the lineup came a bit late and should have been addressed even after last season’s run to the AFC Title game. The decision by management to extend their first-round pick in the 2014 with a three-year, $54-million contract seemed like a quick reaction to the team’s success in 2017.
Bortles has been anything but the signal caller he was last year, havign thrown 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. While injuries have played a part in Jacksonville’s 3-8 record, all fingers have pointed at the quarterback position and its lack of productivity.
He added this week has been “different” on many fronts, but still wants to contribute in the success of the organization.
"“Obviously tough and not what you want to go through as a quarterback – to not only have the offensive coordinator get fired and obviously lose your job as the starting quarterback,” Bortles said. “It’s difficult.”"
Last week’s 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills may have been the last time we see Bortles on the field in 2018. A decision will have to be made about his future, one that includes the team cutting him, trading him or keeping him on the roster in 2019, but there will be competition for the starting job.
Kessler now has a chance to prove he can light a fire under the offense and hopefully lead the team to multiple victories in the final five weeks of the season. The former Cleveland Browns part-time starter saw action in the Jaguars 20-7 loss to Houston in Week 7.
Hackett is the third offensive coordinator to be fired in-season while Bortles have been the starter in Jacksonville. When asked about the relationship between player and coach, Bortles said he owed his mentor a lot in teaching him about the game.
Now, Scott Milanovich becomes the signal caller and someone both Kessler and Bortles will work with extensively to prepare for the final five games of the season.