Blake Bortles Should Have A Career Year In 2017

Over the past three NFL seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made Blake Bortles the focal point of their offense. This is because the organization wanted to give Bortles as many opportunities as possible to prove to the public that drafting him with the third pick in the 2014 draft was the right decision. Due to this, the team would design game plans that allow him the opportunity to demonstrate how he is capable of making all the throws necessary to win games. However, this strategy has backfired on the team because Bortles is very inaccurate on passes thrown over ten yards. According to ESPN, over the past two seasons, Bortles has a completion percentage of 35.5 and 46.9 on throws from 11-20 yards in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The inaccuracy on passes thrown over ten yards can be attributed to being under pressure in the pocket. For instance, against the Ravens, there were a couple plays where Bortles had to hold the ball for an extended period of time until his primary receiver got ten to fifteen yards down field usually running a dig route. By the time that the receiver reached his destination, Bortles was already feeling pressure from the opposing team as a defender was only a few feet away from him. Due to this, he was often forced to throw the ball off his back foot or in the process of sidestepping a defender which altered his passes. As a result of this, the offense was unable to keep the ball for extended periods of time during most games, which forces defense having to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest. In fact, according to team rankings, the offense was only on the field for 29 minutes and 9 seconds, which means that the defense is on the field for 30 minutes and 51 seconds. Eventually, the defense ran out of energy and couldn’t stop the other team from scoring.

Gifs of Bortles under pressure

However, their is a reason to believe that the Jaguars will no longer feature Bortles as the focal point of their offense because the team drafted Leonard Fournette with the fourth pick this year. As a result, the team will once again feature their first round pick as a focal point of their offense because they want to give him as many opportunities as possible to prove to the public that he was the right pick. Therefore i expect the Jaguars to implement an offensive system centered around the running game and the play-action passing game. For instance, during the first two downs of a series, Blake Bortles would hand the ball off to Leonard Fournette in an attempt to force the opposing team to stack the box and set up a manageable third down. If the strategy were successful, the Jaguars would call a play action pass where Bortles would fake the handoff and go in the opposite direction to throw the ball to the flat or the crossing route fifteen yards down field. This type of system would give Bortles a few extra seconds to throw the ball without pressure because most of the defense would be paying attention to Fournette. As a result of this, he should cut down on his interceptions and increase his touchdown passes along with yards thrown, which should lead to a career year for him.

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