The Jacksonville Jaguars are deep into their summer workouts and OTAs and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett seems to be pretty happy with where Blake Bortles is at so far. We haven’t heard much out of OTAs, which typically is a good thing. We haven’t heard about multiple turnover days or about Bortles just completely missing guys throwing against air, so at this point quiet is good.
“Blake is right on track. I think you are always going to want more from Blake. He is the quarterback; you are always going want him to push him more,” Hackett said on Wednesday following mandatory practice. ”But I think his ability to understand what we are trying to do is increasing dramatically. The other day, a play we planned for a specific front – all of a sudden you get something different – and he checks completely out of it.”
Bortles is entering his second season with Hackett as the full-time offensive coordinator, so he should be very familiar with the playbook and the offense, meaning he can get back up to speed much quicker than in the past. Situations like Hackett described are a positive going forward and areas they can continue to push Bortles.
“I think those are the things that you want to keep pushing him on. [You say], ‘Hey, this is why we want this play,” Hackett continued. ”All of a sudden it is not a great look – OK, let’s do something else.’ The more you can put him in those situations and he can start adjusting, it is really good to see. It is just his understanding, so now he can just go out there and play and it’s not a panic mode of, ‘Oh gosh!’ Especially when you are dealing with Coach [Todd] Wash’s defense. They have a lot of good guys, and they are bringing people from everywhere. It is not a ‘Oh gosh, where are they coming from?!’ It is really trying to dissect it and see if he can figure it out. It is a different challenge at practice for him. It is not about learning a new play. It is about, ‘How can I make this play better?’ I think those are the good things about where Blake is going, but you are always going to want more from him. He is the quarterback of an NFL football team. You are always going to want to push him and try to find ways to get him better.”
The “Oh gosh” moments as Hackett put it seemed to be less and less as the 2017 season went on and Bortles really stepped it up in the postseason. If he can continue that trend in 2018, the Jaguars offense should be that much better, simply for the fact that it will be a lot more consistent.