For weeks, the narrative has been that Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is "handcuffing" rookie Blake Bortles. Whether it's because Fisch is scared, or because Bortles has a more limited skill set than we know, or something else, that's been the popular opinion.
I think I was in that camp, but there were good reasons to doubt that Bortles was being asked to do less. In some games, the running game didn't allow it. Or the offensive line wasn't blocking long enough. Or something.
But yesterday against the Indianapolis Colts, it was painfully obvious that Bortles was handcuffed.
According to Pro Football Focus, 21 of Bortles' 24 pass attempts aimed at a receiver were thrown nine yards or shorter. That's awful.
I'm not frustrated that Bortles has just one game where he's thrown more touchdowns than interceptions. I'm not upset that he made a bad throw on the opening drive and Vontae Davis intercepted it. I don't care that this team is 1-10. These aren't the things that are most aggravating about this team.
What's most aggravating is that for whatever reason, Bortles is throwing three passes that travel more than nine yards in an NFL regular season game.
"It was hard," Bortles said after the loss. "The defense played really well. They stood up when we put them in some bad situations, and they got some turnovers, so that was good. I thought they did a really good job and obviously we weren’t able to capitalize on it."
Does same of the blame lie on the offensive line? Maybe a little. They allowed three pressures, two hits, and one sack. What about the receivers? They weren't bad, but there were times where their inability to get separation hurt. How about Bortles himself? He's been struggling and the turnovers and misreads have to factor into his confidence somehow.
But no one on the offensive line is calling a screen to Toby Gerhart on third-and-12. The receivers aren't setting up third-and-long on the reg with those garbage running playcalls.
And Bortles damn sure isn't calling 21 of 24 passes to go nine yards or shorter.