The decision to keep Blake Bortles and make him the centerpiece of this offense has been a curious one.
When Tom Coughlin was hired as the new Executive Vice President of Football Operations in early 2017, he had the means and the method to move on from Bortles. After all, his rookie contract was nearly up and it wasn’t nearly as detrimental to the cap situation here. You’ve got the fourth overall pick in a draft that boasted Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Why forge ahead with Bortles who was coming off an awful 2016 season that was the worst of any of his non-rookie seasons?
According to Yahoo Sports and Charles Robinson, Coughlin was persuaded by newly hired head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell.
Would you believe if someone told you Tom Coughlin was persuaded into making Blake Bortles the face of the #DUUUVAL offense? @CharlesRobinson tells a story that'll blow your mind— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) October 23, 2018
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Here’s how Robinson describes the story:
“Coming back to August 2017, I know someone on the Patriots staff. And the Patriots and Jaguars had joint practice that summer. Coming out of joint practice I talk to this Patriots staffer I know. And he’s known Tom Coughlin for a long time and respected him. And I ask him: ‘What is Tom going to do with Blake Bortles?’ And he said to me, ‘You know, it’s the craziest thing. I thought we were going to talk to Tom about Blake Bortles and he was going to kill the guy. What’s nuts is we basically spent this entire practice listening to Tom back Blake.’ He was like, ‘I think Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone have talked Tom into Blake Bortles being the potential identity of this offense. And the Patriots were just, like, stunned.’ They were like, ‘Leonard Fournette is the identity of that team. And if he’s not on that team they have a big problem offensively.’ And that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now.”
To recap... according to Charles Robinson who spoke with a Patriots staffer who spoke with Coughlin, Marrone and Caldwell likely persuaded the Executive Vice President of Football Operations to hitch his wagon to Bortles and that’s the reason we’re in the mess that we are this season on the offensive side of the ball.