For this week’s amateur adventures in film I wanted to take a look at the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to see what could explain the turnaround in his season and how the Jaguars managed to put up forty-five points against the visiting Houston Texans.
Blake Bortles had a terrible season last year and whilst he made the right noises about rebuilding his mechanics in the offseason, his coach did say earlier this year that the perfect game was where his quarterback didn’t throw any passes.
Clearly things went a little differently as Blake Bortles finished this game with twenty-one completions from twenty-nine attempts for three hundred and twenty-six yards and three touchdowns. He also threw no interceptions and was only sacked once when he was forced out of bounds behind the line.
The first thing to say is that Blake Bortles looks like a competent quarterback this season. Last year his mechanics got so out of whack that the ball was ending up near his waist as part of his throwing motion but Bortles looks a lot more balanced and compact now. I wouldn’t say that he is firing the ball to his receivers, but the construction of the offence is clearly better suited to him. Now it could be argued that this is because it is a simpler offence for him to execute, but given the object of the game is to win rather than for your quarterback to put up impressive stats, this is not exactly a bad thing.
The Jaguars are a running team, and a lot of Bortles throws are based on play action and running the ball. The Jaguars use plenty of two running back sets, but they also use double tight end single back formations with Bortles either under centre or standing in shotgun. The Jaguars are also not afraid to run the ball out of shotgun, and as ever, this balance makes the passing game more effective.
The Jaguars do actually have injuries at receiver but rookie receiver Keenan Cole shone in this game, and not only did he have his first hundred yard game but he finished with one hundred and eight-six receiving yards including a seventy-three yard play. Cole also had a kick-off return for a touchdown but let’s get back to the main subject of this post.
One of the main problems with Bortles last year was turnovers, but in this game not only did Bortles not throw an interception but I don’t remember him making any dangerous throws. He threw the ball away when forced out the pocket and when he missed receivers under pressure the ball it was not dangerous. Whilst he didn’t display a huge amount of mobility, he moved enough in the pocket to avoid pressure and also took hits whilst completing passes.
Overall I was pretty impressed, and whilst I don’t believe Bortles is suddenly an elite quarterback he has done well enough with this team to make you wonder what the front office will do in the offseason. There has been much talk of what the Jaguars will do at quarterback and if they might replace Bortles but if he continues to play well into the playoffs then perhaps the Jaguars will be happy to stick with what they know.
I’m not sure you would have said that before the season.