The name “Blake Bortles” often elicits laughs in many circles across the league. However, when looking at his history, scheme fit, and career situation, he becomes a perfect addition as a backup quarterback for Sean McVay’s Rams.
Why Blake Bortles Is A Perfect Fit For Rams
Bortles was a first-round pick (3rd overall) selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. After a shaky rookie season where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, he hasn’t repeated the feat since. His best statistical season saw him throw 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions — numbers that most teams would love to get from their quarterback. That being said, Bortles averages 20.6 touchdowns and 15 interceptions per season. While that average is uninspiring for starting quarterbacks, these numbers are actually respectable for a backup quarterback.
In addition to a steady statistical footing, Bortles has playoff experience. For a win-now Rams organization, playoff experience from a backup quarterback is extremely helpful because it means that players have already had time to build up the mental toughness that January and February require to be successful. Also, in the only year that Bortles played in the playoffs, he was able to win two playoff games and come within a quarter of making the Super Bowl before ultimately succumbing to the New England Patriots — something to which starting quarterback Jared Goff can relate.
Additionally, for what it’s worth, the Jaguars had an 11-point lead at one point in that game and a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter — a feat that Goff was unable to achieve in his playoff matchup against the same team.
Schemes are important when it comes to setting a quarterback up for success. For example, the Baltimore Ravens didn’t use designed quarterback runs for Joe Flacco but did for Lamar Jackson because they knew that Flacco wouldn’t be nearly as productive as Jackson was.
During that run in 2017, Bortles’ offensive system was similar to McVay’s. Meaning, both teams use running the ball early to set up play-action later. The biggest difference in scheme between both teams was that McVay wanted to attack defenses and overwhelm them on the scoreboard while the 2017 Jaguars simply wanted to get a lead, minimize turnovers, and allow their second-ranked defense to suffocate the offense into submission. Basically, the Jaguars had many of the same tools in their toolbox but wanted to use those tools towards a different result.
Keeping this in mind, Bortles should be a relative shoe-in if Goff were to go down with an injury. In fact, Bortles could possibly put together his best season yet if he needed to take over for an extended period of time considering the upgrade in the offensive roster over that of Jacksonville. From the running back to the wide receivers, just about every position is better than what he had at his disposal in Jacksonville.
Weirdly enough, Bortles’ best season in terms of wins came after a preseason that saw him get benched for Chad Henne. It occurred in the second week after putting up a paltry 65 yards and failing to move the ball on several consecutive drives. Of course, Bortles won the job back before Week 1 of the regular season but the benching seemed to light a fire under him and help the Jaguars make it to their first AFC Championship game appearance since 1999.
Now, having lost his job again, there is an added chance that, should he have to replace Goff due to injury, he could be playing with the same chip on his shoulder that led him to his (brief) success in Jacksonville, helping lead the Rams to their first Super Bowl win since 1999.
Overall, between Bortles’ history of having multiple good seasons, his playoff experience, scheme fit, and the extra motivation ignited by the demotion to backup once again, Bortles and McVay should fit together like movies and popcorn.