The Jacksonville Jaguars were lauded for the offensive game plan against the Baltimore Ravens, in part because they blew the doors off them. Against the New York Jets the play calling was one of the biggest scapegoats, which is pretty standard after a loss where your offense is inept. The issues for the Jaguars offense however, start and end with one person, and that’s why you see such “Jekyll and Hyde” from their offensive game plans.
Simply put; You can’t effectively game plan when you have no idea what quarterback you’re going to get on a week-to-week basis.
“He’s not the only one that that happens to,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone stated when asked directly how difficult it is to game plan, especially in-game, with Bortles’ inconsistent play. Sometimes the line can go up and start getting on a roll and you start controlling the line of scrimmage real well. You feel good, you feel comfortable about what you’re doing there. “
It’s no surprise that the head coach would immediately spread the blame, but anyone who watched the game on Sunday knew at a certain point, the offense wasn’t going to get anything done because it was “one of those days” for Bortles. He appeared as if he was going to repeat the Ravens performance on Sunday, hitting on four of his first five passes, but after a big hit he went just 11-for-30 the rest of the game.
Blake Bortles missed his final 9 pass attempts in 4Q & OT— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) October 2, 2017
From 6:06 in 2Q thru OT (46 minutes of football):
8/23 passing, 59 yards, 1 INT
One of the sequences that has had the most push back from fans was when the team decided to throw the ball three straight times six-yards from the endzone. I didn’t really have an issue with the team trying to throw the ball in that situation, and in fact Marrone and Bortles noted after the game that the Jets have a tendency to run blitz in those situations. Not only that, the previous week Bortles had three touchdown passes in the redzone, including a 5-yard touchdown pass and a 4-yard touchdown pass. He hit those the previous week, so why wouldn’t you try that against a team that is just going to run blitz anyway?
It makes total sense, except for the fact that you didn’t have peak Bortles this game, you had valley Bortles and he couldn’t hit the ocean from the pier. Sure, you probably should have made that adjustment in-game after the first pass into the endzone, but it’s tough when you think you’ve got the better matchup and the Jaguars had six-foot-seven Marcedes Lewis lined up on a safety.
There are certainly issues with the Jaguars play calling and personnel packages situationally, but devising an actual game plan with a quarterback as inconsistent at Bortles has got to be a nightmare, since he’s only consistently inconsistent and you legitimately do not know what you’re getting week-to-week.
The team already very clearly game plans to rely on the quarterback as little as necessary, but when you can’t even rely on that what are you supposed to do?