Blake Bortles looks ready to make that jump


Aug 28, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) prepares to throw the ball during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Like most NFL rookie quarterbacks picked as high as No. 3 overall, Blake Bortles struggled as a rookie last year. It certainly didn’t help that the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive gave up 71 sacks, 55 on Bortles. But Bortles himself knows there is plenty he could have done much better last year.

So to get better, he sought out quarterback guru Tom House this offseason to tighten some things up. And so far, the results of that look so good as Bortles has had himself quite the preseason. It was in game three, the final dress rehearsal, that Bortles displayed that he was ready to make that big jump in year two.

Bortles impressed Friday night against the Detroit Lions with the extremely accurate lasers he threw. He also looked much more comfortable reading defenses and going through his progressions. He even showed the speed and quickness necessary to extend plays and to run for first-downs.

Bortles combined all those elements to lead the Jaguars to a conversion rate of 83.3% on third down Friday tonight. The Jaguars never saw that kind of success out of Bortles or anyone on third down last year. He was 20-29 for 245 yards and one touchdown along with four carries for 38 yards.

Bortles is expected to be helped majorly by receiver Allen Hurns and running back T.J. Yeldon. Tight ends Julius Thomas and Marcedes Lewis will also be featured prominently in the offense. If left tackle Luke Joekel can do his part on a much improved offensive line, Bortles should have a good year.

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