The Jacksonville Jaguars offense went from explosive and putting up points in 2015 to struggling to sustain drives and getting first downs in 2016. We’re not going to rehash what all went wrong, which was many things, but a big key to the Jaguars offense in 2017 will be the improvement of quarterback Blake Bortles.
The big story all offseason of Bortles has been his mechanics and throwing motion, many thinking that is what contributed to a lot of his turnover issues, but new quarterback coach Scott Milanovich thinks a big part of it is Bortles is just too aggressive.
“It’s decision-making, it’s knowing the offense, there are plenty of things that go into it,” Milanovich told First Coast News. “It’s protecting him, most of all it’s decision-making. A competitive guy like Blake needs to understand when it’s time to be too aggressive, when you have to be aggressive in a game, when sometimes it’s better to just check it down and punt the ball. I think that comes with experience, I think he’s still a young guy in the NFL."
I’ve brought this topic up before, even joking that Bortles mechanics were a “red herring”, but the biggest drawback for Bortles is he is turnover prone. The issue stems more so from decision making than throwing mechanics, and some of that decision making issue as Milanovich says is that Bortles can be too aggressive.
It’s a bit of a double edged sword, because you don’t want to beat aggressiveness out of your quarterback and have them always looking for that check down, but you have to find that balance. I brought this up last season, and even in 2015, that at times it feels like Bortles presses a lot. He knew the limitations of the Jaguars offense and felt like he had to carry it. So, with that kind of mentality, he’d almost get in a mode where he felt like they had to score on every drive, perhaps on every down. It was almost combination of aggressiveness and impatience, leading to a lot of bad decisions because you’re not taking everything in.
Mechanics are always going to be an issue for Bortles, regardless of how much he works on them during the offseason, but the real measure of how much Bortles will be lies in his decision making. The problem with that is, we won’t really know where that is until we’re into the regular season.