Blake Bortles was not particularly impressive for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016 and the team may need to upgrade if they want to be contenders.
It didn’t take long for Tom Coughlin to come out and say, “Blake Bortles is our quarterback” early in his tenure as executive vice president of football operations. It was a definitive statement that both put to rest a potential quarterback controversy and also put pressure and responsibility on the young signal caller.
That doesn’t mean that Bortles will be the team’s only quarterback, however. Chad Henne, longtime backup and occasional starter, may move on this offseason and it would behoove the Jacksonville Jaguars to give Bortles a little competition in 2017. Does that actually make the team “QB-needy” though?
Bortles has great strength and athletic ability, but his release is on the slower side, leading to sacks and picks. While he did throw two fewer interceptions in 2016 (16) than he did in 2015 (18), he also threw 12 fewer touchdown passes, and his passer rating dropped by almost 10 points (88.2 to 78.8). One wonders if the decision to deviate from the plan to have him “redshirt” his rookie season ended up having negative effects. Ultimately, I feel his issues are fixable, especially with Nathaniel Hackett — whom I have a lot of respect for — working with him. But I would acquire a developmental quarterback — someone like Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly, Iowa’s C.J. Beathard or Mahomes — to have on hand, just in case Bortles proves to be a lost cause.
A young, developmental quarterback may be exactly what the Jags need in a quest to push Bortles forward. There’s no doubt that Bortles has the raw ability to be great, but he does need extra motivation to get back on track and return to the more impressive 2015 form that had Jags fans (and the rest of the NFL) excited.
Executive vice president for football operations Tom Coughlin needs the Jaguars to work. It’s possible it can be done, but if the Jags don’t show progress it may be back to the drawing board. Hopefully a new face on the sideline is all that really needs to be done.