Just as the clock was ticking this time last year on then-Jaguars coach Gus Bradley and offensive coordinator Greg Olson, it is ticking now on Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles.
And Bortles knows it.
Though the Jaguars passed on the opportunity to add another quarterback to compete with him during the draft, Bortles said Tuesday he has a short time to prove he’s worth keeping long term.
“I think this is by far the most important month of my career,’’ Bortles told ESPN’s Mike DiRocco following the team’s first day of OTAs. “And then the following month will be just as important and so on and so forth.’’
It’s clear that Bortles understands that he could easily be part of the housecleaning in Jacksonville if he can’t regain the form that once made him one of the hottest quarterback prospects in the game.
That was in 2015, a year after the Jaguars grabbed him with the third overall pick in the draft, when Bortles set single-season franchise records for passing yards (4,428) and passing touchdowns (35).
Bortles struggled miserably last year, though. He regressed mechanically in virtually every way and wound up throwing just 23 touchdowns against 16 interceptions while completing 58.9-percent of his passes for 3,905 yards.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell have repeatedly expressed their faith in Bortles but their new boss, Tom Coughlin, doesn’t seem so sure.
Since taking over as the Jaguars vice president of football operations earlier this year Coughlin has clearly taken a wait-and-see approach to the situation, which Bortles admits he understands.
Though Bortles spent several weeks attempting to correct his mechanical flaws during a stay at the 3DQB facility in California earlier this offseason, he says he still has a lot to prove.
“Obviously, I believe I can do it,’’ Bortles said. “I believe I can do it at this level and do it well and I know that hasn’t always been the case. But that doesn’t mean I’ve lost confidence in myself.
“It is important for those guys to have . . . that belief in their quarterback, that everything’s going to get done properly and balls are going to be delivered to the right place and that you’re going to get them in the right play and all that. That’s a never-ending battle of earning those guys’ trust and respect.’’