“I am the captain of my destiny, I do not abandon the ship in hard times. But, I do have sense enough not to go down with the ship” - Cesare Pavese
The quote above very well reflects the thoughts of many Jacksonville Jaguars fans, with regards to the team’s current quarterback situation. After coming off a dreadful season in 2016, Blake Bortles has had a very up-and-down beginning to training camp. Everyone knows about the practice with five interceptions, but there have been other struggles as well, mainly with accuracy.
This isn't a new problem with Bortles. It’s something he's struggled with for his entire career.
However, it is a bit of a red flag, as the accuracy issues last year were placed on bad mechanics. Bortles spent the offseason refining his mechanics, yet the accuracy issues continue to show up each practice, along with bad decision-making.
Marcedes Lewis yells "Dammit" as Bortles overthrows him on a corner route in the end zone. pic.twitter.com/VvqICt4xHL— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 1, 2017
"What is Blake on?" - Doug Marrone lmao— Dilla (@E_Dilla) July 31, 2017
Now, that’s not to say Bortles has been completely awful and shown nothing good, because that’s simply not the case. He has shown some nice things in each practice, with the exception of Saturday night’s interception-laden practice.
However, given his history and the fact that these bad tendencies are still lingering into his fourth year, there has to be some real concern with the quarterback position going into this season and beyond. Chad Henne is a career backup who is not having a good camp at all. Brandon Allen has shown some real flashes these first few practices, but he’s a sixth-round pick who to this point has to yet to establish himself as a true contender for the starting job in the eyes the coaching staff(s).
Let me be clear: I am not suggesting fully abandoning the Bortles ship. I do not think bringing in another quarterback and automatically anointing him the starter while kicking Bortles to the curb is what’s best for anyone. Jumping overboard and abandoning the vessel we are currently on that is struggling to maintain course may not be the best approach.
I do think, however, that having another ship on standby that is seaworthy would be ideal.
If there was a quarterback with plenty of NFL experience, who has excelled in offenses similar to the one the Jaguars want to run, who has scored 72 touchdowns to just 30 interceptions, who has started a Super Bowl, and who would not require giving up assets in a trade...
There is, you say? Who could it be?
We all know the elephant in the room is Colin Kaepernick, but I’m not interested in discussing anything outside of what he would give from opening kickoff to closing whistle. I’m going to completely ignore the political aspect of things here and just look at things from a football perspective.
In my opinion, Kapernick represents a perfect situation for the Jaguars. As mentioned before, he has plenty of starting experience in the league, including the playoffs and Super Bowl. He thrives in the offensive style the Jaguars want to use, making smart, accurate throws to supplement a ground attack (which is also something he could contribute to).
Given the fact that he’s still currently unsigned, you could also bring him in under the agreement that he is competing for the starting job, and that’s really what makes this an ideal situation to me.
He’s also young, just 29 years old.
As mentioned before, by advocating for the Jaguars to sign Kaepernick, I am not completely abandoning ship on Bortles. Ideally, you would have the two compete for the starting gig.
If Kaepernick wins, it was a wise decision to bring him in. If Bortles wins, you now have a much more serviceable backup than Chad Henne, should Bortles get injured or continue to struggle.
If Kaepernick earns the starting nod, you just put yourself into the playoffs via the easiest division in football, and solved your quarterback issue for the next few years. If Bortles keeps his job, then you shouldn’t be too far out from being able to nab a top prospect at the quarterback position in next year’s draft.
Here’s the bottom line: Kaepernick, at the very least, gives you a legitimate backup to Bortles. It also brings the possibility that you would then have a quality starter under center, commanding a team that most around the NFL agree can compete for the playoffs now if the quarterback play is decent. Signing Kaepernick won’t cost you any draft picks and the Jaguars just added a big chunk of change to an already hefty cap space with Branden Albert’s retirement.
Let’s not abandon the Bortles ship yet. Let’s just make sure we have a lifeboat handy in the event that we need to.