Mike Garofolo was on NFL Network earlier today at Jacksonville Jaguars minicamp and came away with a lot of really, really good quotes about fourth-year quarterback from the likes of Doug Marrone, Tom Coughlin, and Dave Caldwell.
If you’re like me and can’t listen to videos at work or you just don’t have access, I’ve transcribed Garafolo’s video here. But if you can watch it, you should — it’s chock full of great information and confirms a lot of the suspicions we’ve had about the team’s realistically blunt attitude towards their mistake-prone quarterback.
Something you’ll hear from Doug Marrone, that you’ll hear from Tom Coughlin, is that they want [Blake Bortles] to go out and be a winner. A winning quarterback. What does that mean? That means they don’t care much for stats, they don’t care much for attempts — matter of fact general manager Dave Caldwell and I had a conversation the earlier today and he said, “625 attempts from last year, third in the league, I guarantee you that will not happen again. He doesn’t have to throw the ball 50 times a game. That shouldn’t be happening.”
A couple of weeks ago Marrone was asked, “What’s the ideal number of attempts you’d want to see from Bortles every game?” He replied, “Zero.” Everybody started laughing and he said, “I’m not joking. I’d love to run the ball as much as possible.”
But your quarterback factors into that. That’s part of how you run the ball effectively in this league — the quarterback makes the right calls at the line and puts you in the best possible situations or to run the play that’s called or audible into a play. That’s what Tom Coughlin loved so much about Eli Manning when he was coaching the New York Giants. That’s something Bortles has to do.
The other thing is that he has to make smart decisions. If it’s goal-to-go or second-and-goal and you’ve got another down to get in there, throw the ball away. Don’t try to force it in. They want to see him be smarter with the football there. Marrone put it flatly to me ... “If you continue to turn the ball over, you won’t be our quarterback. It’s that simple. Everything else we can work on but that is non-negotiable.”
A lot to unpack here.
First, Bortles isn’t going to average more than 39 attempts per game in 2017. It’s just not going to happen. Caldwell, who usually speaks candidly in situations like this, couldn’t have made it more clear.
Second, Marrone is going to lean on the run game. This coaching staff has more faith in a rookie running back than a fourth-year quarterback and I doubt that changes no matter what Bortles shows in training camp next month.
Third — and I think this is the biggest thing from the entire soudbite — the decision-making is what this coaching staff and front office find troubling about Bortles, not his mechanics or throwing motion. Sure, those things aren’t good, but when your coach singles out your penchant for turnovers and mistakes again and again (and even says that’s what will get Bortles benched) you take notice.
Watch the full Mike Garafolo video on NFL.com here.