We like Blake Bortles. He’s a good guy, is active in the community, and works hard.
Maybe that’s what makes it so hard to acknowledge that it’s time to put him on the bench.
The beleaguered Jags quarterback turned in yet another dreadful performance on Sunday in a 24-21 loss against the division-rival Houston Texans. On the very first drive, Bortles threw an ugly interception and drew a loud chorus of boos. At many points during Sunday’s game – and almost every home game this season – the crowd screamed out in collective disbelief as they watched Bortles pass up open players and open lanes.
While Bortles’ final stat lines rarely indicate a problem, anyone watching the games can see it. With each game, Bortles looks shakier. His throws are routinely too short. He locks into receivers, missing open opportunities and often making comically predictable errors. His basic mechanics look way off, even to fans who have no football-playing experience. Unlike many problems with the team this year, coaching isn’t to blame for any of this.
He’s getting worse each game in what was supposed to be his breakout season.
The team needs to stop the bleeding, and needs to do so right now. Bortles isn’t gaining anything from staying out there and taking his lumps; if anything, it seems to be making the situation worse. Making him suffer through a full season of playing like this may only end up making these issues permanent, or at the very least it may permanently ruin his confidence.
What Blake needs right now is a chance to regroup. Right now, he’s a young quarterback dealing with insane expectations and constant media criticism (whoops…) as he tries to figure out what’s gone wrong. It’s unrealistic to expect him to turn this season around with the pressure he’s facing right now, and each mistake only digs him further into the hole. This is time better spent training or seeing a sports psychologist.
To leave him out there to be beat up on and embarrassed is to do a huge disservice to a man who is hopefully still the long-term answer for the Jaguars at quarterback.
Chad Henne is no savior, let’s be clear about that. Benching Bortles would almost certainly mean the team is throwing in the towel on this season. While the season is certainly not yet over, a 2-7 start is not something this team is going to recover from.
It would be much better to just go with Henne for the rest of the year and let Bortles come back next year, hopefully with the kinks worked out.
Yes, it sucks that another season will be wasted, but that seems likely to be the case now either way. Let’s not permanently ruin our quarterback in the process.
- Bortles has thrown the most pick-sixes in football since the year he entered the league.
- His best throw of the day, a TD pass to Allen Robinson, was a sad reminder of the 1-2 punch we expected those two to be when the season began.
- Sen’Derrick Marks spoke out after the game about being offended by a lack of playing time, further pointing to the coaching staff having lost the locker room.
Next week, the Jaguars travel to Detroit to take on the Lions.