I fear the use of this word is innacurate. I fear what happened this past Sunday at TIAA Bank field was, in fact, nothing more than another stone in the path to a true watershed moment. Why the concern? When Jack Del Rio was fired the hope was the Jaguars were moving upward from Jack’s management of a team grounded in .500 production. Then came the pedigree of Gus Bradley with his “everything is awesome” approach to coaching. Finally, and validated by the 2017 season, was the success surely to be achieved by the reintroduction of Tom Coughlin into the leadership hierarchy.
Yet, here we are. Staring down the barrel of another offensive rebuild, stepping over the corpses of draft and free agent decisions that failed to produce playmakers at wide receiver or quarterback.
The phrase “watershed moment” has two historically popular meanings. First, originating in the 19th century, it references an “epochal moment”. Something that designates a significant change either for good or bad. This understanding is most popular in the UK. On our side of the pond it refers to something that has future ramifications. An event whose impact requires reflection in light of a catalyst down the road.
The question: Will the failure of Blake Bortles against the Steelers satisfy either one of these definitions?
The past does not offer comfort. A specter looms large over this franchise. The 2007 season came back as the 2017 season, bringing with it a glorious playoff victory over the Steelers, followed by a gut wrenching loss to the Patriots. We are left to wonder if the seeds have been planted that will produce a 10 year harvest of misery, or if somehow this fan base will get the leadership it deserves.
One could argue 2007 was a watershed moment for the worse, with 2017 being its mirror. Time will tell whether November 18, 2018 was just another day.
Note: Thanks to Phillip Heilman for all the videos.
Full disclosure: I have a Blake Bortles jersey and a Blake Bortles can sleeve. For far too long I have leaned on the hope the team’s investment would pay off. This weekend’s game, for me, was like watching Byron Leftwich fail to impress during a preseason game in Green Bay during 2007 season. It was against the Packers that I decided David Garrard was the best fit for this franchise.
Big Cat Country’s Jon Kurkland tweeted out this truth.
On 11/19/18, the local media finally gave up on Blake Bortles and this front office.— ✡Burnt Out Couch✡ (@BCBCouch) November 19, 2018
There is nothing Blake can do moving forward that will change my mind, and this is why.
Thanks to some nice camera angles from CBS Sports, the viewing audience was able to see receivers getting open and Bortles simply not making the plays. On more than one occasion I outwardly asked what Blake was seeing. Even without those shots you can see a quarterback with zero pocket presence, limiting the potential of offensive success.
You will not enjoy these.
Man, really good awareness by WR DJ Chark to go to the first-down marker while remaining an open target for QB Blake Bortles, who fired over his head anyway. #Jaguars not tacking on at least 3 points before half after Church’s INT was pitiful. pic.twitter.com/iqRes6ZiY3— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) November 19, 2018
How does #Jaguars QB Blake Bortles not throw a quick slant to WR Donte Moncrief at the top of the screen?— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) November 19, 2018
How does he take a sack to move out of field goal range up 16-6?
This was his worst play Sunday. pic.twitter.com/KZoJxBldx7
Looks like QB Blake Bortles didn’t trust his protection here. Not sure he had to step up as quickly as he did on his first sack. Wouldn’t have hurt for LG Andrew Norwell to block someone. #Jaguars pic.twitter.com/4Tn5cCXfsJ— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) November 19, 2018
If I had to pick the one moment during the game in which I gave up on Blake it was from the second video above. My wife was convinced the Jaguars failure to get at least one touchdown in the first half would come back to haunt them. In hindsight she was correct. I, on the other hand, was more than happy to get any points. Blake taking the sack here negated the turnover. While the three points would not have negated the four point loss (assuming a common outcome), it would have kept momentum. Completing the pass might have led to a touchdown drive.
You’ve heard it over and over again. A 5th year starting quarterback, taken top 5 in round 1 of the NFL draft, has to perform in this situation.
This is not going to be a popular opinion, but this debate about whether fans can boo and if players should be calling out “fake fans” is a complete red herring. It comes across as a childish “You can’t tell me what to do!” from both sides. The fan thinks the financial and emotional commitment affords them the right to express their disatisfaction however they see fit. The players contend that booing is a sign the fan is giving up on the players and the team.
Booing is all about emotions. Players need to understand that, which seems hard to do when on a six game losing streak. The player/fan experience is one of a shared experience, and focuses the attention on something that is not constructive.
I am not telling fans not to boo, nor am I telling players to not criticize fans for booing. I just wish both sides would see this as a coping mechanism. Frankly it’s positive. It shows apathy has not set in.
Team finances are going to be talked about a lot for the rest of the season. It’s a damning fact for the front office, or whomever has been making personnel decisions.
Dead cap numbers 2019. We're kinda screwed pic.twitter.com/nxTIzmc7Q2— Ocho Fisho (@OchoFisho) November 19, 2018
The argument to keep Blake because of the cap hit makes no sense to me. This is like keeping a car you are upside down in spite of the fact it continually breaks down. If the fans know Bortles is a big part of the problem, the players know it. How do you keep players, or get top quality free agents, with Bortles as your quarterback?
Extending this to the fans, who wants to renew their tickets if Bortles is on the roster next year? Yesterday I spoke with 9 friends who are present season ticket holders, and while post-game was an emotional time, they did say spending the money to watch a Bortles led Jaguars team in 2019 was not worth the investment.
Will you renew/purchase season tickets if Bortles is still the starting QB in 2019?
This poll is closed
No. I will not financially support a Bortles led Jaguars team.
No, but I will also need the removal of at least Caldwell. Maybe Coughlin too.
Starting? I’m not buying tickets unless he is completely off the roster.
Yes. I support the team, not the players. There are still players beyond Blake that deserve my support.
Yes, as long as they bring in someone to replace him, draft or free agency.
I was going to say something about Jalen Ramsey, trade rumors, and the fan base all bent about his “you’re going to miss me” tweet but if yesterday’s performance by the FSU alum has not convinced you he’s worth all the money he wants, then I cannot help you.
Had anyone, ANYONE, been there to help Myles Jack stop Ben the Jaguars win this game. How a man of Myles’ size manages to take down Ben shows the man’s heart and athleticism.
Bad break for #Jaguars LB Myles Jack, who made a nice play to get into position to keep QB Ben Roethlisberger out of the end zone.— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) November 19, 2018
Jack’s reaction at the end is a tough watch. pic.twitter.com/TrhKfTVSWr
This tweet makes me sad.
I am not going to miss Blake.— Fullford (@iambwf) November 18, 2018
Internet for the power of good. Highlighting how talent brings joy. Yes, I’m a big Queen fan.
Sculpting Freddie Mercury pic.twitter.com/Xxb0iwqlK0— Interesting As F**k (@INTERESTlNGVIDS) November 9, 2018
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!
Take a moment to look around at what you have. Tell your child(ren) how much you love them. Tell your spouse how much you love them. Tell your parents how much you love them. Tell your friends how much you love them. Tell someone you disagree with politically, religiously, etc., how much you love them.
If you have nothing to be thankful for, or you think you have nothing to be thankful for, reach out to someone. Heck, seek out someone in our extended Big Cat Country family and let them know you’re hurting. That you need help. That you’re alone. That you’re hurting.
Football is a wonderful way to share in something greater than our own selves. Football is better with community, through the winning and the losing. Shared joy. Shared grief.