The Jaguars wrapped up their 2017 training camp today, a day prior to the annual team scrimmage at EverBank Field. You can attend the event by registering here.
The team’s final practice before the scrimmage had it’s moments of excitement and physicality, but as usual, the performance of quarterback Blake Bortles was the center of attention. How did Bortles, and the rest of the team, look out there today?
Bortles doesn’t finish strong
My initial thought of Bortles’ performance today was that it was up and down, but after re-watching footage of Bortles from throughout the day, I can’t say today was a good day for the quarterback.
He had his share of nice throws, including on this short play action pass to Marcedes Lewis in the corner of the endzone:
Bortles also connected with tight end Alex Ellis on a roll out pass in red zone in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Bortles hit Ellis in stride as he made his way to the back corner of the end zone.
However, Bortles threw two interceptions in 11v11’s, and both were bad throws. The first pick came on a pass to Allen Robinson, which was thrown a bit behind the receiver, as seen by his upper body twist back to the ball. The ball was batted into the air and free safety Tashaun Gipson grabbed the ball out of the air:
Tashaun Gipson intercepts Blake Bortles on a tipped pass. Bad throw led to Bortles first pick since Saturday. pic.twitter.com/3itH03161l— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 3, 2017
He later under-threw a pass outside to Allen Robinson in red-zone drills that was intercepted by Tyler Patmon. Bortles wasn’t the only QB with interception issues today, as backup Chad Henne immediately followed Bortles’ first pick with a pick, and Brandon Allen threw his first and only interception all camp at the end of the day.
All camp, Bortles has been accurate on slants and short routes inside, but as camp went on, Bortles old throwing motion starting appearing. Watch his windup on these couple of throws:
These plays all ended positively, so as of now we shouldn’t be overly concerned. However, after an offseason full of grooming his mechanics and technical work on his throwing motion, which was clearly improved to start camp, these mechanics reappearing are certainly something to remember going forward.
Bortles’ inconsistency is cause for concern. He has flashed during camp, as his accuracy as improved in short-to-mid level throws and his ability to step into his pocket has gotten better. But, he is still having troubles with his decision making and ball placement in certain areas.
For Bortles to have truly “impressed” me during camp, he would have had to nearly completely eliminate his poor decision making in his practices and display consistent accuracy on most parts of the field. While there were flashes, the consistency wasn’t there, and there are still things for the quarterback to work on going forward. I, as well as every Jaguars fan, am anxious to see how he performs against the New England Patriots next week in the Jaguars first preseason game.
Leonard Fournette has another good day
The rookie running back looks ready to lead the Jaguars run-heavy offense already, and he hasn’t even played in a preseason game.
Almost every day of camp, Fournette broke out on at least one long run that got the crowd excited. Today was no different, as he received a hand-off to the right side and turned what looked like a dead play for no gain into a touchdown on a backside cut move:
The play above wasn’t Fournette’s only touchdown of the day. In red-zone drills, Fournette took a hand-off on the one yard line and dove over the offensive and defensive line for a touchdown.
Jaguars fans hate to remember the last time the Jaguars heavily pursued running the ball on the goal-line...
But have no fear, Fournette certainly seems capable of scoring in goal-line situations. His camp was impressive all around.
Tinker out, and Jaguars might have his replacement on the roster
As I wrote this article, Mike Kaye of First Coast News broke the news that long snapper Carson Tinker will miss the 2017 season due to a torn ACL. He went down in a non-contact drill on Wednesday.
Tinker is a fan favorite, so it hurts to see him go down. The Jaguars signed Matt Overton to compete at the long snapper position, but the team may have a replacement already on the roster in undrafted tight end Caleb Bluiett.
After Tinker’s injury, fullback Tommy Bohanon and Bluiett both “tried out” at long snapper, and while Bohanon had a poor snap or two from what I saw, Bluiett seemed comfortable and continued to take LS snaps.
He brings experience, at least from his days at the University of Texas. Along with playing tight end, defensive end, defensive tackle, middle linebacker, outside linebacker, and on kick returns and coverage, Bluiett spent some time long snapping for the Longhorns.
Bluiett dropped a couple passes during camp and I didn’t project him to make the final roster, but considering Tinker’s injury and Bluiett’s experience at the position, he very well could be the Jaguars long snapper going into 2017.
One could say that Caleb Bluiett didn’t “Bluiett” when he was given his opportunity.
I’m sorry, that was a bad joke.
UPDATE: After doing some research on Overton, it looks like he has the résumé to win the job. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2013 while playing for the Indianapolis Colts. However, if there is any competition for the long snapper position, Bluiett will likely receive a chance.
- Considering the Jaguars entered camp with little proven cornerback depth, they may have found a gem in cornerback Tyler Patmon. The former Dallas Cowboy has one career INT and seven career defended passes, and he intercepted several passes throughout all of Jaguars training camp, including one today off of Blake Bortles.
- Myles Jack has gotten better every day. He needed to work on getting off of blocks and defending the run heading into this year, and he displayed the ability to do both on this play against Fournette:
Myles Jack getting physical with Leonard Fournette. Lowers his head and Fournette goes down pic.twitter.com/RrFpuVg0RN— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 3, 2017
- The Jaguars ran a “fullback dive” play several times during the end of team drills. The run game is back, baby!
Play of the day
In case you missed it above, here’s Leonard Fournette breaking free on the backside of a hand-off that would have been an easy touchdown in a game:
Fournette with a beautiful cut back. Open field! pic.twitter.com/JTnPGbyDmc— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 3, 2017
I won’t be at the scrimmage tomorrow night, as I’m going on a mini-vacation to Pittsburgh for the weekend, but I’ll be attending and covering the Jaguars during their joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on August 14th and 15th.