The Jacksonville Jaguars have been the butt a lot of jokes for a while, but most of that stopped last year when the team took the New England Patriots to the brink in the AFC Championship game. The Jaguars kind of game out of nowhere, led by their suffocating defense, but some of their success was due to quarterback Blake Bortles’ play during key times. Speaking of Bortles, most of the criticism towards the Jaguars as a whole shifted directly to the Jaguars quarterback, some of it deserved though a lot of it just way over the top.
Thankfully as we know, Bortles isn’t bothered by the criticism.
“There’s times when I deserve it,” Bortles said when asked about criticism towards him directly. “And I don’t have a problem admitting that I didn’t play good. And I don’t have a problem with people critiquing me when I don’t play good. It’s just never really bothered me. I love going to work every day. I love playing football, and the locker room, so why let something affect me that I have no control over?”
A lot of professional athletes are hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism, deserved or not, so it’s refreshing to see one who truly doesn’t seem to care. And honestly, he shouldn’t care. It’s hard to shut out all that noise when it’s so constant, and with Bortles it’s been very constant, but the ability to completely shut that out is something that deserves to be acknowledged.
Bortles improved from his dreadful 2016 season in 2017, but he was still a notch below average overall in my opinion. That being said, he did seem to get better down the line and was able to morph more into a true game manager by limiting his turnovers and picking up yards with his legs.
For the 2018 season, I honestly have no idea what to expect from him. Personally I think if he can just be consistently bang-average, that’s great for the Jacksonville Jaguars and anything above that is a bonus. They’re still first and foremost a defensive powerhouse that wants to grind you out of games. If Bortles can improve on his 2017 season, mostly becoming more consistent, his skill-set fits into that kind of game plan.