Inaccurate. Poor mechanics. Bad decision-making. These are just some of the ways you heard Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles described last year. The offense was supposed to be the strength of this team, carrying a young, ragtag defense made up of playmakers unfamiliar with one another.
Instead, Bortles regressed hard — back to his rookie year, or maybe even before then. And that’s nowhere more evident than when you look at his passing chart from 2016.
Matt Harmon of NFL.com was gracious enough to chart the top 10 most aggressive quarterbacks last year — or “percentage of passes thrown into tight windows” — and found Bortles was the second-most aggressive quarterback last year.
He was also one of the least effective.
Throwing into tight windows isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford also made the list. But Bortles’ lack of consistently solid play mixed with his bad decision-making, poor throwing mechanics, and high-variance nature led to a lot of poor stretches during games last year.
In his article, Harmon writes the following about Bortles:
2. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (24.4 percent of his passes)
Bortles coming in with the second-highest percentage of passes thrown into tight windows represents a failure on his part to read defenses and progress in the mental side of the game. Consistently forcing passes when they just aren't there presented a "live by the sword, die by the sword" proposition for the Jaguars quarterback, which played out on both ends of the spectrum in his last two seasons. He threw six interceptions on his attempts in tight coverage this year, which was tied for third-most. Bortles will almost certainly face competition for his starting job this offseason, and he is no lock to retain it if he can't progress past these issues.
I love that way of describing Bortles — “live by the sword, die by the sword”. It perfectly encapsulates the high risk, high reward nature of the Jaguars quarterback. NFL teams traditionally go as their quarterback goes, but there was a heightened sense of that truth in Jacksonville last year. Whether it was sailing passes over Marqise Lee’s head against the Baltimore Ravens or failing to connect with receivers against the Houston Texans, several losses last year fall squarely on his shoulders.
But the opposite was also true. His mistake-free performance against the Tennessee Titans at home led to the most convincing win of the year. And his ability to put together a decent final eight minutes against the Chicago Bears led to a win as well.
You can read the full article on the top 10 most aggressive quarterbacks from 2016 here.