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Jaguars QB Bortles- “Feels good to not get benched this week”

Florida Football Insiders

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Through it all he’s kept his sense of humor. Oh, and Blake Bortles improved his play dramatically in the last year. That’s why instead of the drama of preseason 2017, where he had been benched and was headed out of North Florida, Bortles is “riding high” with confidence and a contract extension.

The Jaguars signal caller met with the media after Wednesday’s workout and covered several subjects, including a humorous response to a question about being replaced for preseason game three last year:

“It feels good to not get benched this week,” Bortles quipped back at a reporter asking about this time last preseason.

And while he’s joking, it was no joke that newly elevated permanent head coach Doug Marrone had decided that veteran Chad Henne was going to get the legitimate shot to take over Jacksonville’s leader. Ultimately, Henne wasn’t very effective in that third preseason game, soon after Bortles got the chance to be back with the first team, and the Jags 2017 successes started soon after that.

“What happens at this level is: if you don’t play good, they’re gonna find somebody that can play,” Bortles continued Wednesday. “I think whatever I can do to help us as an offense move the ball. Pick up yards, pick up first downs, score touchdowns, pick up points and most importantly, take care of it and not turn it over. As long as I’m able to do that for our offense, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

The Jags are clearly in “good shape” to get this season underway. They have a talented core of players on both sides of the ball with names like Leonard Fournette, Marqise Lee, Calais Campbell, Telvin Smith and Jalen Ramsey to help them win games. And most importantly, they have changed the mentality from almost a decade of futility to an “air of confidence” starting this year.

Importantly, for Bortles and the team, they know that last year’s success doesn’t equate to 2018.

You still must put in the work, on and off the field, and most importantly, execute on game days like they did last year.

However, for the returning players from 2017, they knew what they all went through in July/August last year and as Bortles relayed, “I think it allows guys to understand that if what we did last year is hard, it worked, we had a good year….that seems to be the recipe here.”

A recipe that doesn’t include benching Bortles in preseason, as a 2018 ingredient.

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