Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson is excited to be working with Blake Bortles.
This is evidenced by comments he made to John Oehser, via the team website, regarding the team’s situation at the most critical position in the NFL:
“You need to make sure [the offense] is tailored to fit the quarterback if you believe it’s your guy, if it’s not a turnstile,” Olson said early this week. “We don’t have a turnstile thing going on at quarterback right now.”
He’s not wrong.
Take a look at the stats put up by Bortles in just his second year in the league, compared to those of his first:
Check out the second-year leap for Blake Bortles:
2014: 2,908 yards, 11 TD, 17 INT
2015: 4,428 yards, 35 TD, 18 INT pic.twitter.com/E9StvMT7NA
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) January 26, 2016
Obviously, Olson and the Jags want to see those interception totals come down. Once that happens and the team starts winning the turnover battle on a regular basis this franchise is going to be highly competitive.
Needless to say, this isn’t something their too concerned about. Turning the ball over through the air is a rite of passage for NFL quarterbacks. Mistakes sting, but they also prompt learning.
Olson believes it’s time for Bortles to take the next step in his third year:
“We’re comfortable with Blake Bortles. We’re going to accelerate his development.”
The Jaguars have pieces in place to cultivate a fearsome offense, and the scariest part for the rest of the league is that all the key players are extremely young. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns — both second-year players — put together a phenomenal season together catching passes from Bortles, combining for 144 catches, 2,431 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Rookie running back T.J. Yeldon also showed promise, and don’t forget about tight end Julius Thomas.
Opposing general managers must just loathe David Caldwell, who must be commended for what he’s done with Jacksonville’s roster.
Now it’s time for the team to take the next step, and that starts with Bortles.
Olson expressed disappointment with Bortles in the number of sacks he’s taken this year, and he has put the young man on a mission for the offseason which, if heeded, should be the launching pad for another leap in production next season. He gave Bortles the names of four veteran quarterbacks to contact and discuss offseason preparation with, among other things:
“We structure every hour of his day during the season seven days a week, but what about the offseason? What are those guys doing in the offseason? We said, ‘Ask these guys if they could do it all over again when they were 23 and they were going into their third season? What advice would they give you as far as your preparation?’ That’s the key.”
The sky is the limit for Bortles. If he can cut out distractions and live for football, it sure looks like he can become one of the league’s elite superstars at the quarterback position. This proves difficult for some, but so far he’s done nothing to indicate he won’t leap at this chance to take his game to the next level.