The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have all the pieces in place to finally make a run at the postseason, especially if Blake Bortles plays well. The team is sick and tired of being below average, something Bortles communicated recently, but whether mediocrity can be conquered will boil down to turnovers.
On this note, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone has an ultimatum for Bortles, who has thrown 51 interceptions in 45 career games.
Marrone to Bortles: "If you continue to turn the ball over, you won't be our QB. Everything else we can work on but that's non-negotiable." https://t.co/OB6lBGvZCy
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 15, 2017
Bortles threw the third-most passes in the NFL last year, but that won’t be happening again, according to Marrone. In fact, when asked recently what the ideal number of passes per game Bortles will attempt, Marrone said, “zero.”
It wasn’t a dig against Bortles so much as a direct look into how Marrone wants to win games — running the ball and playing outstanding defense. And they now have players that can help in a big way. Jacksonville drafted a couple of big-time offensive studs that should help lighten his load significantly in Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson.
Of course, the Jaguars also have some outstanding receivers that can win regularly against top defenses — Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, not to mention Marqise Lee. Bortles will have plenty of chances to throw, as long as he’s not turning the ball over regularly.
If Bortles can’t stop throwing interceptions, then Marrone won’t hesitate to turn to veteran Chad Henne. He’s not the sexiest option behind center, and he also has a history of turnovers. In this sense, it really does all fall on Bortles to play well this year. If that doesn’t happen, then the Jaguars will almost certainly fail to climb out of the cellar in the AFC South.