Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles didn't have the best day of practice to begin 2014 training camp, but it wasn't necessarily a bad day either. Bortles was picked off once in practice, but it didn't really draw much criticism from the coaching staff because he decided to take a risk and fit a pass into a tight window, which pleased head coach Gus Bradley.
"There’s kind of a trait I think that a lot of quarterbacks have that – that short term memory, having amnesia, and not thinking about or dwelling on the previous play, good or bad," Bortles said after practice when asked if his mindset was to play without fear. "Being able to move on and get the next play rolling."
Not that Gus Bradley was pleased with Bortles turning the ball over, but more so that the first day of training camp wasn't too big for him and instead of going into a shell and being careful, he was still able to go out there and take some risks passing the football.
Some of the hiccups in Bortles game in practice stems from the work he's doing with his feet. The Jaguars coaching staff decided to essentially tear down Bortles mechanics and build them back up, from the ground up.
"A lot," Bortles said with a grin when asked what he's working on mechanically. "Stuff that’s just basic things that I wasn’t really doing are the things that I’m working on. Stepping and throwing at your target, getting lined up and throwing to where the receiver’s going to be and not where he’s breaking."
"A bunch of stuff like that and little tweaks here and there that I’m still continuing to work on. I think July was good for me to be able to work on some of that stuff and try to improve as much as possible."
As I mentioned in my camp report, it's clear Bortles is still working through some of the mechanical changes and they are not quite second nature yet. One thing that is second nature to him however is his awareness in the pocket, which is part of what lets him play "without fear". Even knowing that he can't get hit in practice, you can still see him sliding in the pocket and moving to the throwing platform he'd need to move to in a live game with a real pass rush.