The third overall selection in the 2014 draft is face to face with the end of his career as a Jacksonville Jaguar.
Tom Coughlin has a reputation of being cutthroat and impatient; something that does not bode well with Blake Bortles. With Bortles fighting against management, media and time itself; he only has his mediocre arm to inflate his stats.
Bortles is now on the chopping block as rumors swirl that he is closer to being cut than starting. Chad Henne is the definition of mediocre but continues to impress over the inconsistent, inaccurate and inept Bortles. The team is now considering to cut him. His $19 million fifth year option is not guaranteed outside of an injury and Jacksonville could only have to eat his $3 million salary.
Henne and Bortles are in a tight quarterback race, but it is not looking good for the latter. In his two preseason games, he has led the team to three points in six drives averaging 3.5 yards a play.
Earlier in the offseason, Jacksonville picked up his option, originally cementing the idea that Bortles had one more year to prove his worth. He showed plenty of rookie mistakes his freshman campaign, but the mistakes have continued with little progress ever growing.
His sophomore year looked great at first glance, passing the eye test with ease as he almost hit 4,500 passing yards with 35 touchdown throws. So what that he threw 18 interceptions. He’ll get better.
But he hasn’t. And cutting beneath the surface of his sophomore year, the box score clearly lies about his game to game performance. The Jags had as many wins as double digit losses. Having the second-worst defense didn’t help, but there is a simple fact about Bortles. He’s the King of garbage time. The Prince of padding stats.
Football is a mental sport. In the process of a blowout, it’s only fair that defenses take a step back and not go their usual 100%. Defenses play in prevent mode, not attack mode. 36 games into his career and he absolutely dominates the fourth quarter. 36% of his passing yards come in the final frame but with only 11 wins to his name. His opening quarter numbers are pretty egregious with just four passing touchdowns through 37 games.
He has nine career touchdowns while leading and 47 while trailing, through 37 games. Bortles is constantly playing catch up but he never actually catches up. He has just five fourth-quarter comebacks to his name.
After an abysmal third season, watching the Jaguars fall through the floor despite only winning five games the year prior, questions flew. He leads the league in turnovers over the last three years despite a flurry of strong weapons. The Jacksonville receiving corps ranks among the league-best in terms of pure talent and ceiling potential, while their defense is filling their holes with potential stars.
Bortles’ career epitomizes the struggles the 2014 first round quarterbacks have faced. Bortles, the first quarterback taken, continues to walk the thin line of starting and unemployed. Manziel followed at pick No. 22 and immediately found the NFL exit. Bridgewater was the last man taken in the first round, and while he has led a team to the postseason in a thriller against Seattle, his brutal offseason injury has derailed his career.
Then there’s Derek Carr. The second round pick turned Raider prodigy continues to light up NFL turfs compared to the previous three. Only if Jacksonville took David’s brother instead of the hyper athletic Bortles.
Jacksonville hates to waste their talent with an open division at their disposal. Chad Henne acts more as a game manager but with limited turnovers and a growing defense, they could be more competitive. They could also look at tanking in order to find a new quarterback prospect.
Bortles’ career is over in Jacksonville, whether it happens before kickoff or after they miss the playoffs for the tenth straight year. It comes down to the next two preseason games to determine the length of his stay in “The River City.”