The main story most everyone will be paying attention to for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2015 preseason will be the development of second-year quarterback Blake Bortles.
Bortles had a rough rookie season, to put it lightly, but in reality that should have always been expected. The Jaguars were a team without a lot of experienced offensive talent and it was clear the plan for him was to sit out most of the season, but as we know plans always change.
Bortles had some cringe worthy moments last year, a lot in fact, but somehow it still feels like there is promise there. I guess he had enough "Wow!" plays sprinkled in that it gives hope for his future. Not to mention the fact that the organization has added pieces around him to help him out, as well as overhauling a wholly ineffective offensive staff that did him no real favors.
The biggest area that could have an impact on how well Bortles does is the offensive line, which could potentially have three new starters on opening day. There’s a battle at the center position, which could have some bearing on how Blake does, after all the center-quarterback relationship is important.
"Yeah, different butt sizes is something you’ve got to get used to, so we ‘ll figure it out," Bortles joked on Monday when he met with the media and was asked what was technically different when working with different centers.
On a serious note though, there’s a lot of change going on with Bortles and most of that was his own doing.
Bortles spent a lot of the offseason working with throwing guru Tom House, which could help straighten out some of the mechanical issues that plagued Bortles last year while he was under duress. He’s also spent a lot of the offseason working out locally with his receivers and even had a "passing camp" in California with the majority of them, including new prized free agent signing Julius Thomas.
Training camp and the preseason for Bortles will be continuing to work with his young receivers and the new signings and getting used to his new offensive line, however many there may be. He’ll need to learn a new offense as well, but at least offensive coordinator Greg Olson has a bit of a reputation molding his offense around the parts he has, rather than forcing a square peg in a round hole like coordinators of the past in Jacksonville.
When you’re at training camp, pay attention to the work of Bortles. Does he look comfortable in running the offense? Does his throwing motion look more natural, more compact?
With Bortles natural athletic ability, even just getting the passing offense to a "functional" level his season will mean a huge step for the offense.