Most quarterbacks entering their fourth season as full-time starters are coming into their own as players. Blake Bortles is a notable exception.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone believes the young pivot needs to rebuild his game from the ground up after experiencing severe regression in 2016.
“We have to go back and build his foundation from the beginning,” Marrone told Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union last week. “We told him (in January) we wanted him to make sure his arm was ready to go because there will be an increase in reps, which will help him. I’ve been with Drew (Brees) in New Orleans and obviously he’s a Hall of Fame-type quarterback and that’s the way we approached it with him and with the team. You start with the foundation and you look to see how fast they can work through the foundation.”
The former No. 3 pick threw two fewer interceptions in 2016 compared to 2015 (down to 16 from 18), but he also had 12 fewer passing touchdowns (down to 23 from 35) and managed over 500 fewer passing yards despite making 19 more attempts.
His play on the field was arguably even worse than those numbers suggest. The 24-year-old was wildly inaccurate and consistently made poor decisions as the mechanical issues that plagued him earlier in his career came back with a vengeance.
The team has yet to exercise the fifth-year option on Bortles’ rookie contract, worth roughly $18 million.
The Jaguars have until May 2 to decide, but between his inconsistency and the value of the option, the team appears uncertain how to proceed with a quarterback who Marrone believes needs considerable work to regain his form.
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