Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles insisted his arm was fine after Tuesday’s joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There had been questions about Bortles’ arm “tiredness” after he was pulled from practice on Sunday due to at the time was called a pitch count, but later clarified as head coach Doug Marrone feeling like he needed a rest.
“Yeah. My arm is fine,” Bortles told reporters after practice. “It feels good. I’ll be alright.”
Bortles has been throwing the ball a lot more than usual during this offseason, which had been planned from the beginning when Marrone took over as the head coach. Marrone indicated the team wanted to “rebuild” Bortles from the ground up and he’d need to get ready to throw a lot of passes after the offseason, and he’s done just that.
“No, it’s not even close,” Bortles said when asked about comparing the reps to previous offseasons. “I’ve taken more reps in this camp than probably the last three years all combined.”
I think at this point, most of us know the “tired arm” was just Marrone looking for something to give a reason for pulling Bortles out of practice rather than just flat out saying he benched him, as Bortles seemed to not really miss any time the past two practices. Plus, it would be a massive point of concern if the team’s starting quarterback had a tired arm after just the first preseason game. In reality, that would be a much bigger story than Bortles simply being pulled for poor play.
Ultimately though, Bortles seems to think the increased reps have helped him more than hurt him.
“Yes, I think so. We’re still making mistakes, and we’ve had thousands of reps,” Bortles replied when asked if the increased reps have helped him. “Imagine if we only had 500 it would be probably way worse. I think the only way to eliminate those mistakes is continue to do it and continue to do it and continue to correct it in meetings until it’s beaten in your head that you know how to do it.”
We still don’t know how much the increased reps have really helped translate to real game situations, as Bortles only attempted five passes in last Thursday’s preseason game against the New England Patriots. Hopefully on Thursday against the Bucs he throws it more than five times, but you also want to find that balance of not playing too much in the early preseason games, especially with how injuries have started to pile up.