While we all have certain expectations for the Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft class, there’s also expectations for their returning veterans and starters. We’ll start that conversation with the one who will likely generate the most conversation: Blake Bortles.
Bortles had what I would classify as an “it was fine” season in 2018. He had his typical peaks and valleys with a really hot three-game stretch and a solid playoff run. The most important thing during the playoffs was that he didn’t turn the ball over and made plays when the team needed him to for the most part. Though, it was still clear he wasn’t ready for the team to be put on his back and seal the game, but that’s not something that’s really expected of him.
Bortles’ numbers in 2017 weren’t that much different than his 2016 season, but he very clearly wasn’t a total dumpster fire like he was in 2016 and really only drug the team down on a few occasions, which was a massive improvement. He seemed calmer and less in his own head, even when he’d make a crushing mistake. He still had some of the same issues of missing guys or bad ball placement and not having the benefit of the receivers making plays on 50/50 balls, but his 2017 was much better than his 2016 despite the raw numbers being pretty close and the receiver group ravaged with injuries.
For the 2018 season, I’m expecting about more of the same from the 2017 season from Bortles (numbers-wise) and really that’s all the Jaguars need right now. I’d like to see him improve enough to where teams don’t just completely disrespect the passing game and load the box like they did most of last season, but I don’t know that he will ever be the guy who can constantly punish teams for loading up and in reality for the Jaguars he doesn’t really need to. He needs to be able to do it every so often and really eviscerate teams on the play-action fake.
Also — let him run more, Nate!