After the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about something that I never thought I would be thinking about halfway through this Jaguars season. Is Blake Bortles really unsalvageable? I have thought that he is for a while now.
I have said over and over again that at the very least I would have brought in competition for the starting quarterback spot here in Jacksonville since February. When the team opened up the competition for the starting job between Blake and Chad Henne heading into week three of the preseason I said, and this is a pretty close quote to what I actually said on air I’m sure, “Blake Bortles would never take another snap at quarterback if I was making the decision. Once you have opened up the competition between he and Chad you have already made your decision about whether or not he can be your quarterback.” I have said that I don’t think Blake can be the guy to lead this franchise to where they want to go.
Blake has been good the last two weeks though. Even the most ardent Bortles hater needs to be willing to admit that. If you want to question whether he will be next week or bring up the Rams, Steelers and Titans games this season…I think that’s fair, but he has been good the last two weeks. Now, two weeks isn’t nearly enough to get me to change my mind about whether Blake is the future, but it is enough for me to consider the idea that I might be wrong.
A comparison came to mind for me today and I wanted to dive deeper into it than I could on Twitter this morning where thoughts can be lost in translation.
The comparison is between Blake Bortles and Alex Smith. This morning I tweeted, “Here is how far I have come on Bortles…I’ve gone from cutting him in the preseason to being open to the idea that he may be Alex Smith…”
Allow me to further explain what I mean. Alex Smith was the number one pick in the NFL Draft to a bad 49ers team. Smith wasn’t surrounded by a lot of talent and questions about whether he could ever be a successful quarterback started being asked after a couple of years.
Now, before we get to where Alex Smith is at right now in his career let’s freeze it through the same 54 games that Blake Bortles has played. Here are a few key stats: Smith was 19-31 as a starter with a 57.1 completion percentage and a 51 to 53 touchdown to interception ratio. Bortles is 16-37 as a starter with a 58.9 completion percentage and a 79 to 56 touchdown to interception ratio.
This is when Smith’s career took a big positive turn. Jim Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco. The 49ers built one of the best defenses in football and paired it with a strong running game led by Frank Gore. Smith proceeded to go 19-5-1 over the next two seasons as their starting quarterback throwing for 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and completing 67% of his passes. Smith was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs where he is 47-23 as a starter and has spent the majority of his time there surrounded by a solid running game and a good to great defense.
I know there were people asking if Alex Smith should even be allowed to be a starter anymore before his career took that big positive turn when he was finally surrounded by a good football team.
We are getting our first look at Blake Bortles with a good football team around him. Two games, not even eight games is enough of a sample size to know if Blake will make that same sort of turn that Smith did, but the thought is now in my head. That thought was not there two months ago. I’m open to it. That’s all I’m trying to say is that I’m open to it.
I’ve been steadfast in saying that I want Blake to prove me wrong, and I think he might could maybe possibly be doing just that. I’m not sold yet, but I was hardly even open to the idea of Blake possibly being a serviceable quarterback two months ago. Now I am at least willing to consider it.