The Jacksonville Jaguars are frustrated with Blake Bortles.
The fourth-year quarterback struggled for the second time in as many preseason games Thursday, finishing 8-of-13 for 65 yards in a 12-8 home loss to Tampa Bay. Bortles played four drives with the first-team offense, and Jacksonville punted each time.
It was so bad that Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone said that the starting quarterback position is now “up for grabs.”
“(They’re frustrated) because of the throws that he missed,” NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He missed two just in the second quarter to Allen Robinson. One’s a go-route and he under-throws it – and the last thing you can do on that throw is under-throw it. You might overthrow it, but you never under-throw it. And then he missed Allen Robinson on a skinny post. He’s got a clean pocket, he’s got good vision, (but) he’s bouncing the ball off the turf. There’s good reason to be frustrated. They got a good set of wide receivers and they can’t get the ball down the field to them.”
Bortles has shown minimal improvement in three seasons, completing between 58.6 and 58.9 percent of its passes each year.
“Mechanically, he’s not good,” Baldinger said. “He’s got a long wind-up, he’s got a long motion, and he’s just not accurate. At some point, you either can throw the ball through the tire, or you can’t. Either you can hit a moving target or you can’t. You’re not going to take Blake Bortles to the state fair and win the big teddy bear. He’s just not going to pop balloons for you – and that’s what you got to do in this business. It hasn’t changed.”
Bortles threw for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2015, but those numbers were a tad misleading.
“He’s had stretches where (it was) comeback time (or) mop-up duty, (and) he’s put up some decent numbers two years ago,” Baldinger said. “But in this business, if you can’t hit a moving target and throw with anticipation, you’re going to struggle – and he has struggled in that department.”
In 2016, Bortles threw for 3,905 yards and 23 touchdowns – not to mention 16 interceptions. Bortles was the No. 1 reason that Allen Robinson went from 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 to 883 yards and six touchdowns in 2016.
“You can’t hide that. You can’t run from it. The film’s not going to lie,” Baldinger said. “You think Allen Robinson isn’t frustrated right now? He’s out there trying to fight for a contract and all that kind of stuff, and he’s got a guy that can’t get him the ball. There’s nobody in the stands last night. (Bortles has) got to play better. Everybody knows it – and he knows it, so maybe he’s putting more pressure on himself than he needs to. Some guys really press when they get like that, but ultimately, this is his fourth year, and he’s had a long time to kind of show what he can do. He’s not their only problem. They’ve got other issues on that team. But it starts with the quarterback. And that was not a great performance last night.”