He almost did it. Quarterback Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars were up by 10 points in the fourth quarter with nine minutes remaining against the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium, but then Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does and led his team to a 24-20 victory.
Jacksonville led the whole game, but I was never confident they would pull out the win until Myles Jack made the huge strip and fumble recovery in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars were then positioned on their own 40 yard line up by 10, early in the fourth quarter, and then they stopped attacking.
All afternoon the Patriots had stacked the box, forcing Bortles to make plays and he did, but when the box was still stacked late in the game, Doug Marrone and the coaching staff lost their creativity and pounded the ball up the middle. The screens and unique running plays vanished in most of the second half, and it looked evident that the Jaguars coaching did not trust Bortles.
This is understandable. His decision making has been questionable throughout his career, his throwing motion looks off, but this player had an incredible postseason. He played mistake free football, and made huge plays when he was called upon. However, this is likely the best Blake Bortles we will see, so what should the Jaguars do going forward?
With all of the young talent in Jacksonville, the Jaguars will be contending for the playoffs for the next several years barring massive injuries, but they need to decide if Bortles has the talent to bring them their first championship.
In my opinion, he has the ability to be a great game manager and could help Jacksonville make several more playoff appearances, but he is not the kind of quarterback that will march you down the field in a big-time game when your team needs a touchdown. He came close against the Patriots, yet it just wasn’t enough.
I do believe Jacksonville should bring Bortles back for next season even though his value will never be higher, but they must bring in more competition for him through the draft. A solid rookie quarterback will push Bortles to continue to improve, and if the Jaguars hit on their rookie quarterback than maybe he will win them their first Super Bowl.
The quarterback class of this year’s draft is very deep, so they will have the opportunity to take a quarterback who can change a franchise late in the first round. I do not think there are many cons to this idea especially with how talented the Jaguars are across other positions. Maybe they do this, maybe Jacksonville won’t, but they need a quarterback that can step up late in games and not be a liability.