In talking about Blake Bortles’ struggles, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s The Monday Morning Quarterback(MMQB) may have actually shed light on a much bigger issue the Jaguars are currently experiencing.
Breer’s section on the Jaguars, which you can read in full here, was titled ‘Fixing Bortles’. The majority of the section was devoted to discussing Bortles’ struggles with mechanics this season, including quotes like this:
Early in training camp, Bortles quickly recognized his bad habits had resurfaced, something he conceded to those close to him may have come because he wasn’t as intensely focused on them as he had been the year before. (“I can’t believe I’m throwing that way again,” he’d say.) An effort to fix it on the fly led to fatigue, and Bortles hasn’t been able to get in front of the problem. So a couple weeks ago, I’m told, Bortles started a routine of working on mechanics in front of a mirror for an hour each Monday. Additionally, as he explained to the media this week, he flew his mechanics coach Adam Dedeaux (who works for Tom House, and helped Bortles rework his motion in 2015) to Florida for a couple days of work.
We’ve known about Dedeaux coming in for a few days now, as Bortles acknowledged it earlier in the week. However, this is the first I’ve seen someone talk about Bortles himself working on the mechanics outside of practice. Obviously, those efforts haven’t been very fruitful. But being self-aware and able to self-diagnose his problems has always been one of Bortles’ strengths, and it’s good to see he is taking some action to try and remedy things.
After discussing Bortles and his struggles, Breer quickly shifted to another topic surrounding the Jaguars, one that would explain a lot of their issues this season.
And it’s not like Bortles is the only issue. Keeping the team together might be a bigger one. The staff has had a harder time getting the latest wave of rookies and free-agent additions to buy into Gus Bradley’s program, which has contributed to the discipline problems everyone saw in losses to Oakland and Tennessee. When the Jags take the field in Kansas City on Sunday, they’ll have had 10 days to clean that up. We’ll see if they rally behind Bradley and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
Obviously, there is no way to actually confirm this, other than someone with the team coming out and directly saying it. However, a lot of the actions and attitudes we have seen from some players this season would support this being true. If it is true, that would pretty much be the final nail in the Gus Bradley coffin. Losing games is one thing, losing the locker room is another.
I’ve written before that Shad Khan should make a coaching change now to prevent further fracturing down the road. If this report from Breer is true, Khan should be hitting the panic button. This latest crop of rookies is thought to be a major building block of the team going forward. If those players aren’t buying in now, the Jaguars need to make a change, before they lose their players’ confidence permanently.