A couple of disclaimers before I get into what Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles actually said during his media availability today. 1. We all know that what Blake has to say right now has nothing to do with how well he is going to throw the ball in September. If you’re reaction to everything Blake right now is that nothing matters, you don’t have to read any more of this…but you probably will anyway. 2. Blake has always handled this part of being a professional quarterback well. Blake is honest and has been since he got to Jacksonville. Facing the music and answering difficult questions candidly has never been an issue with Blake. He clearly gets that part of the job, but hasn’t made it any easier on himself with his on-field play.
It is not surprising that the first few minutes of Blake’s media availability today was spent talking about his time in California and the offseason work he has been doing to improve his mechanics. In the middle of that line of questioning Blake was asked if he feels closer to the way he did going into the 2015 season when he threw for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns. Blake responded, “I would say similar to 2015, definitely nothing like last year. It’s a little different. It’s something that I feel better about and I think it just helps me be a more efficient quarterback and passer.”
News flash: Bortles thinks the plan that he and the team had for him last offseason wasn’t a good one. I’m not going to debate whether the plan was any good. The results speak for themselves, but I do want to provide a word of warning here.
This year’s plan being different from last year’s plan doesn’t mean that the 2017 plan will be a successful one. Sending Blake out to California seems like a reasonable thing to do. All of us, including Blake, know that his mechanics need to improve. Having Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone’s influence will likely be a positive thing considering that Marrone is replacing one of the worst head coaches in NFL history. There are reasons to want to feel optimistic, but those feelings have preceded some sad, stark realities for nearly the last decade in Jacksonville. This is, after all, the offseason. A time where hope abounds.
I don’t remember anyone saying a word about how bad last offseason’s plan was until the 2016 season was slammed off the rails by errant pass after errant pass by Bortles. We don’t know how good or bad the team’s offseason plan has been this year. That will be judged by how good or bad the team plays.
I like what I heard from Blake today, but I usually like what I hear from Blake. Which takes us back to point number one way up at the top of this article. Talk is cheap, even if it is honest and compelling talk.