The Jacksonville Jaguars took some heat this offseason for the decision to ignore quarterback in the draft and throw weight behind Blake Bortles.
Bortles, who threw for 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last year while completing just 58.9 percent of his passes, had clear mechanical problems and looked like a replaceable asset as the franchise moved into a new era with Tom Coughlin.
Instead, the front office picked up Bortles’ fifth-year option and now head coach Doug Marrone has praised Bortles’ improvement from a mechanical standpoint, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com:
There are certain things, as far as his elbow and his arm, that are much improved. I think there are still other things we’re still working on as well as everyone else at this stage. … If we’re throwing 100 footballs to 150 — if we throw 150 he’ll be better. If we throw 200 he’ll be better – 250, he’ll be better. What we’re doing now is trying to build him up and build the arm strength and all the other things along with all of our quarterbacks to get there. The more he throws the better he’ll be.
Of course, what else would Marrone say about the top quarterback on his depth chart?
At the least, it’s good to hear someone say what has been painfully obvious with Bortles. He’s still a project, though one with upside if the team can properly groom him and keep him in a quality environment.
As we’ve touched on in the past, the team picking up Bortles’ option has to do both with its effective cost and his perceived upside. Fixing these mechanicial problems will go a long way toward making the Jaguars look smart.