TAMPA – Since he first came into the NFL four years ago, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has watched three different coordinators try their hand at orchestrating the Jacksonville offense.
The latest to take a shot at it, of course, is Nathaniel Hackett, who was the second of three quarterbacks coaches Bortles had before he was promoted to coordinator for the second half of last season.
It’s up to Hackett to salvage what’s left of the quarterback who once held so much promise, and the fact Bortles is working in a scheme he’s got some familiarity with is one reason Hackett believes he can succeed.
“Whenever you have coaches change, that’s something that’s always difficult for any quarterback, but it’s especially difficult for a young quarterback,’’ Hackett said.
“You see it across the league. The guys that have the best chance are the guys that stay in the same system and they’re comfortable in because when it gets crazy out there, they know understand what to do to get themselves out of trouble.
“And I think that’s the thing with Blake. It’s just a matter of giving him the confidence because he has all the ability. It’s just a matter of now, believing in everything that we’re asking him to do and getting him that comfort level.’’
Bortles obviously didn’t look very comfortable through the early portion of the preseason. He struggled so much that he temporarily lost his starter’s job to Chad Henne.
He’s been given that job back since, but it was more a matter of Henne failing to hold on to it than Bortles taking it from him. Still, Hackett believes Bortles is back on the right track.
Like coach Doug Marrone, he says he’s seen improvements in his mechanics and execution. Now, Hackett said, it’s a matter of developing a high level of trust in the coach who’s calling the shots.
“For me, it’s about supporting him,’’ Hackett said. “As long as he trusts me and knows I’m there to help him get better, that I’m there to protect him and put him in the best position possible, that’s the biggest thing, because there’s always going to be outside noise.
“My whole life being involved in this, profession you never want to get too high or too low and for him it’s just a matter of getting the confidence and knowing he’s done a lot of good things and that he can continue to do that.’’