Blake Bortles is the closest thing the Jacksonville Jaguars have had to a franchise quarterback since the early days of the franchise, when Mark Brunell was beating the unbeatable in the NFL playoffs. He rebounded from a worrisome rookie season finishing only behind Tom Brady for the most touchdown passes in the NFL. He did lead the NFL in interceptions however, but that's something Bortles is working to improve on headed into his third NFL season.
One of those things he needs to do is take that proverbial "next step" and to aid in that he's reaching out to some of the top veteran quarterbacks in the NFL, such as his Week 1 opponent Aaron Rodgers and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer.
"I bounced ideas off of them and asked them, ‘What would you do differently?'" Bortles told Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. "Aaron was awesome. One of the things he said was, ‘Don't try and score 21 points every time you have the ball.' That's what I've had to learn."
It's funny that that was the advice Rodgers gave Bortles, because it's one thing I said he needs to learn to get over. He doesn't need to win the game for the team or score a touchdown on every play. Quite a few of his interceptions last season weren't really from bad reads but trying to do too much and force a play where there wasn't one. Now, you don't want him to lose his big play mentality, because that's a big part of his game, but you want him to pick and choose his spots.
Bortles already has more starts under his belt at 24 than Rodgers and Palmer did before they were 25, but both sat for at least their rookie seasons in the NFL. That game experience is invaluable at this stage of his career and it proved to be helpful last season, with Bortles sudden flip in stats. Now that he's entering the second year in Greg Olson's offensive system and two years in the NFL overall, we should see his efficiency above all else start to increase.
If the Jaguars are going to finally breakthrough with a winning record, a lot of it is going to go the way of Bortles.