CBS sports Bart Scott has said that quarterback Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars is a “Coach Killer” and that the Jags would be 6-5 if they had gone with Chad Henne at quarterback this season. First, let’s go back and look at Henne’s record as a starter with the Miami Dolphins and the Jags and ask why he thinks he’d have a winning record this year. He certainly has never done anything to make that case.
But also, we need to look at the Jags organization as a whole. This is a franchise that has made mistake after mistake in the first round. Some of these mistakes were just rotten luck, such as Justin Blackmon, who was a super talent at wide receiver. He had issues with his actions off the field in college that maybe should have been a red flag, but he was so good he was probably worth the risk. No, we are talking about bone-headed picks such as Matt Jones in the first round at wide receiver even though he had been a quarterback in college. We are talking about passing on Amari Cooper the season after drafting Bortles with the #3 pick to draft Dante Fowler, a defensive end.
Not even bringing up picks like Luke Joeckel, Tyson Alualu, Quentin Groves, Blaine Gabbert, etc, let’s just look at Fowler. I don’t watch a lot of Jaguars games, but I did watch a good bit of the game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Bortles and the offense took the opening kickoff, drove the ball down the field and scored a touchdown to go up 7-0. The defense then got a three-and-out and Bortles and the offense took the ball over again.
On third down, Bortles hit a wide open Allen Hurns with a pretty pass on a wheel route that would have not only converted but would have gone for huge yards and likely set the Jags up to go up 14-0. But Hurns dropped the ball. So put Amari Cooper in that situation. What do you think happens then? It’s likely 14-0 Jacksonville and that game goes into an entirely different direction.
Has Bortles been bad? Absolutely. Has he been a huge disappointment after a promising second season? You bet. But is it all his fault? Not by a long shot. The Jags defense has been decent at times, but during that game I do not recall the announcers once mentioning Fowler’s name. I don’t recall them mentioning Alualu’s name either. They held Buffalo to 25 yards rushing in the first half, then gave up 75 yards on the first play of the second half to Lesean McCoy. That’s not Bortles fault. The dropped passes are not Bortles fault. And, the fact that the team’s best running back during that opening drive pulled a hamstring and could not return is not Bortles fault.
If you had Amari Cooper on the Jaguars instead of the Raiders it is entirely plausible that you could swap Bortles for Derek Carr right now. Do you think Dak Prescott would be doing what he’s doing without the best offensive line in the game, the best rookie running back in the game, and one of the best receiving corps in the game? Prescott has been great, no doubt, but really, so has Carson Wentz, yet the Eagles have lost six of eight.
Does Bortles need to step up his game. Of course. But is it time for Jacksonville to pull the plug on him? I would say to them, look down south at Ryan Tannehill before you do that. The Dolphins appeared to be going nowhere for the fifth straight year with Tannehill at quarterback and now they have won six in a row.
What the Jags need to do is take the #3 or #4 pick in next year’s draft and get Bortles a weapon. Go get a wide receiver for him to throw to that will catch the ball and do something with it. Go get him some offensive linemen in free agency or trades that will give him some time to get the ball to a deep threat. Then if he still stinks, then go another way.