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Blake Bortles can’t win in preseason and that’s fine

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars-Training Camp Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest focus of the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday night preseason opener against the New England Patriots is going to be quarterback Blake Bortles, regardless of how you feel about him. It’s also regardless of how important you think preseason performances are (they’re not, really) for guys like Bortles, it’s going to be broken down every which way.

The problem is, Blake Bortles won’t be able to win in the preseason, no matter what he does.

What I mean by this is, no matter how Bortles performs Thursday or the rest of the preseason, it doesn’t really matter but people will make it matter to validate their opinion of Bortles for the 2017 season.

If he plays well in the preseason, the people who don’t think he’s very good will argue he’s supposed to play well, it’s the preseason. The reality is, that is true. At this stage in Bortles career, even with a “new” offensive coordinator, he should look good in the preseason and at the bare minimum, mediocre and not bad. That is the baseline you want to see in the preseason for starting quarterbacks.

That doesn’t mean he hasn’t improved, though.

Conversely if Bortles plays poorly, it will be used to show that he actually sucks and is bad. The other side will then use the “it’s just preseason” line and they’ll both be right. If a starting quarterback has a poor preseason at this stage in their career, overall, it’s worrisome and kind of a red flag. It also depends on what’s poor about it, too. Did he throw a couple of interceptions because he was taking shots deep and the receiver just couldn’t come down with it, or was it because he got baited into a bad decision and was picked off?

There’s a lot of nuance to what goes in the preseason, because everything is so vanilla and you’re not actually game planning. In one sense it’s so simple that the quarterback should look good, it’s geared for them in a way. On the flip-side because it’s so vanilla, there’s not much variance and the defense knows it so it’s easier to defend.

If he’s good, he’s supposed to be. It’s just preseason.

If he’s bad, see he sucks. But, it’s also just the preseason.

What I’m really trying to say is; you shouldn’t make too much out of the preseason, tonight especially, one way or the other. If Bortles is consistently good in the preseason, that’s good. It doesn’t necessarily mean everything is great and he’s fixed, but you would rather him look good than not. If he struggles during the whole preseason, which would be surprising, that would be kind of worrying, but not to the extreme degree.

They’re glorified live practices. Don’t make too much out of it.