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Blake Bortles says off season has given him time to heal up

Roy Cummings

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File photo by Icon Sportswire

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles played through a lot of pain during the 2016 season. He struggled with a separated shoulder from early October on and says the tendinitis in his wrist that developed late in the season proved to be even more of a hindrance than the shoulder issue.

Time off has done Bortles a world of good.

Prior to teeing off at his second annual charity golf tournament in Jacksonville over the weekend, Bortles said he has completely recovered from the shoulder and wrist issues that bothered him a year ago and will be full healthy when the Jags offseason workouts begin April 10.

“Everything’s good,’’ Bortles told reporters. “Good to go.’’

Good thing. Though Jags general manager David Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone have both said Bortles is their quarterback (at least for now), the man who’s really calling the shots in Jacksonville, new executive vice president Tom Coughlin, has adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

And well he should. Bortles took a big step backward in his development last year, his mechanics falling apart more and more with each passing week. How much of that was health related is hard to know but know this: Bortles has been to the doctor and sought a cure for what ailed him.

Bortles has spent the last few weeks in California working with noted quarterback doctors Tom House and Adam Dedeaux, and he says the work he’s put in there has allowed him to repair the mechanics of his delivery and refine his throwing motion.

“I feel really good as far as where I’m at mechanically, and how the ball’s coming out and how it’s spinning and all that,’’ Bortles said. “I think it’s been good. I’m going to head back out (this) week for another two weeks or whatever and then I’ll be back in [Jacksonville].’’

Bortles hasn’t been working alone while working with House and Dedeaux. Jags wide receiver Marqise Lee has taken part in the workouts as well and Bortles expects to start working with fellow Jags wideouts Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson again before offseason work begins, too.

When he does return, of course, Bortles will be working with a new quarterbacks coach, Scott Milanovich, and it will be the first time in his career that he’s worked with a quarterback’s coach who actually played in the NFL. Bortles says that change should help him get back on track, too.

“I think it’s huge,’’ Bortles said of working with a former pro. “He’s been around a lot of football, he’s coached a lot of football, he’s won at every level and he’s a guy that played the position, which is unique.

“There’s not a whole lot of quarterback coaches in the NFL that have played (in the league), so I think that’s there’s a unique aspect (to playing the position) that he has and he that he will bring to the table.’’

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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