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Jaguars repeat commitment to QB Blake Bortles….for now

Roy Cummings



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Since he entered the league four years ago, no NFL quarterback has turned the ball over more often than Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.

The third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Bortles has thrown 51 interceptions and fumbled the ball away 12 times for a total of 63 giveaways during that span.

That’s a ridiculous number and it may soon prove to be enough to seal his fate in Jacksonville, but GM Dave Caldwell admits the same number is what’s making it hard for the Jags to quit on Bortles.

“Over the last two years Blake has accounted for (63) touchdowns (58 passing, five running), and there are only four quarterbacks in the league who have produced more these last two years,’’ Caldwell said Thursday here at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I mean, obviously Blake has got to cut down on the turnovers. We all know that. But until we can account for those 63 touchdowns, he’s going to continue to be our quarterback.’’

Caldwell’s comments came a day after coach Doug Marrone said from the same podium here in Indianapolis that “I see Blake as our quarterback,’’ which is a pretty strong statement.

Bortles shouldn’t rest easy just yet, though.

Tom Coughlin, the Jags new vice president of football operations, hasn’t spoken been anywhere near as emphatic as Caldwell and Marrone have been and Caldwell admits the Jags still have a very big decision to make regarding Bortles.

The Jags have until May to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option on Bortles’ rookie contract, and it seems as if they plan to use every last minute of the time they have allotted to them to make that decision.

“We have OTAs, minicamp, a lot of things between now and then to see where he’s at,’’ Caldwell said of picking up the option on Bortles. “So I don’t think any decision will be made om that until closer to May.’’

Bortles obviously won’t be able to cut down on his turnovers during that time but there are some ways in which he can give the Jaguars an indication that he has the ability to do that.

The first, Caldwell said, is to at least express a greater willingness to throw the ball away and give up on plays that simply aren’t there. The other, Marrone, said is to fix his mechanics.

“When you talk to Blake, he will acknowledge his mechanics got loose during the year and we were able to pick up on that at the end of the year and improve on that through individual (work) and things of that nature,’’ Marrone said.

“But we have to get better around him, too. The success of the quarterback, obviously he controls a lot of that. But we need to get better around him – better in the protection, better in the running game. All those things will help him.’’

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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