Sam's Commentary

November 30, 2014 Commentary Archive

Jaguars Giants Preview: It's About Bortles

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted November 30, 2014 ===========================================================================

In the NFL, it all comes down to the quarterback. Bad teams with good quarterbacks have a chance. Good teams with bad quarterbacks usually don't. Great running backs don't take you to the Super Bowl. Walter Payton needed an historic defense to carry his bears to the championship game. Barry Sanders never got there. Quarterbacks make the difference at the highest level.

So for the Jaguars, it's all about Blake Bortles. The first round, third overall pick looks and acts the part. He's tall, he's fast enough. His arm is getting stronger and he has that 'it' factor that's not easily defined, or found when it comes to professional athletes. He likes playing the game but more importantly, he likes playing the position with all the responsibility and criticism that goes with it. Win and the QB usually gets too much credit. Lose, and he usually takes too much of the blame.

When Bortles entered the game against Indianapolis in the second half down 30-0 at home, he threw two touchdowns and two interceptions but gave fans hope. It's rumored that Shad Khan after the game in the elevator when asked how he felt said, "A lot better now. I've seen the future." And that pretty much summed up what everybody associated with the franchise was thinking. "It's going to be OK."

But in the subsequent 8 games, Bortles production has regressed. He's still capable of playing at a high level, but his production has gone backwards. How does that happen? On one hand, defensive coordinators have a bit of a sample group to look at what Bortles can do and they devise a game plan to attack that. Simple enough, and usually talented players at QB eventually overcome those changes. Sometimes.

Bortles has moved from that free and easy initial feeling when he took over into a fog of whirling defenders and a cacophony voices in his head. He wants to be aggressive, that's his nature, but he doesn't want to turn the ball over. He admitted as much this week saying he wanted to "think less" when he's out there. All quarterbacks get into this fog as their career progresses. They have the ability, they see what's happening but they have just the slightest bit of doubt creeping around in their thought process that keeps them from making the best decision at that moment.

But the good ones come out of it. And that's what we should look for with Bortles over the last five games of the year. In that span, he should peek his head out of the fog a few times and see things pretty clearly. He's not fragile either physically or mentally, so he won't melt down like some other QB's have done in this stage of their career. He won't lose confidence. Head Coach Gus Bradley and Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch have tempered their criticism of Bortles a bit this week, perhaps hoping he'll start to move out of that fog on his own.

I'm pretty confident Bortles is the right guy for the job. He has the tools and the psyche, as well as the moxie to be a QB in the NFL. He'll need some help, especially at wide receiver sometime soon. If teams are going to play eight defenders at the line of scrimmage, like both Dallas and Indy did in successive games, and play press man coverage on the WR's, it's up to the wideouts to beat that coverage and get open. But they're not and that leads to tough decisions being made by Bortles.

Look for the Giants to do much of the same today against the Jaguars. They'll try to bottle up the running game and make Bortles and wide receivers try and beat them. The Jaguars will counter with trying to run the football and rolling Bortles out of the pocket a bit, putting guys in motion and using Marcedes Lewis as a target to give receivers some space and create matchup problems for the NY secondary.

That's the chess game today. Giants coach Tom Coughlin believes that if his team can control field position and force the Jaguars into long drives, eventually his defense will do something to turn the game. Or the Jaguars will make a mistake and turn it over.

Run the football, move Bortles out of the pocket and don't turn it over, pretty simple keys for the Jaguars today.

Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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ARCHIVE of The College Weekly Report

11-23-2014 - Jaguars Sputter vs Indy
11-23-2014 - Jagaurs vs. Colts Preview
11-22-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Teams
11-16-2014 - Muschamp Era Over: Where Now?
11-10-2014 - Jaguars Close to the Tipping Point
11-09-2014 - Jaguars Don't Get Better
11-09-2014 - Shad Khan: Making Jacksonville and the Jaguars a Winner
11-08-2014 - Jaguars Prep Cowboys on Saturday
11-06-2014 - Jaguars Arrive in London
11-06-2014 - Jaguars Make London Routine
11-06-2014 - Jaguars Focusing on Cowboys
11-05-2014 - Jaguars Road Trip: Play Anywhere, Anytime
11-02-2014 - Jaguars Mistakes Cost Them Again
10-29-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Florida Connections
10-19-2014 - Jaguars 1st Win: Beat Browns
10-19-2014 - Jaguars Browns Preview: Winnable?
10-13-2014 - Jaguars Let One Slip Away
10-12-2014 - Jaguars vs. Titans Preview
10-11-2014 - Top 20 Jaguars Personalities
10-06-2014 - Steelers Beat Jaguars But More Respectable
10-03-2014 - Simple Jaguars Solution: Play Better
10-02-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Rivalry Moments
09-29-2014 - Jaguars Lose To Chargers: Still Learning
09-27-2014 - Jaguars prep Chargers in San Diego
09-25-2014 - Bortles First Week as Starter
09-24-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Impactful Rookies
09-20-2014 - Jaguars/Colts Preview: Race to Maturity Needs to be Fast
09-14-2014 - Jaguars Lose Game, Ground
09-09-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 'Moments
09-08-2014 - Jaguars Fall to Eagles, Learn Lessons
09-06-2014 - Jaguars/Eagles: It's What's Up Front That Counts
09-06-2014 - Hotel Domestique: (Almost) Cycling Paradise
08-16-2014 - Henne Takes Control, Jags Move Forward
08-15-2014 - Keep Improving and Jaguars Have A Chance
07-12-2014 - Chasing Greatness: The Right Way
07-01-2014 - Team USA Brings Us Together: Again
06-08-2014 - A Special Day in Town
06-06-2014 - Jaguars Week 2 OTA's: More Progress
05-28-2014 - Jaguars 1st OTA: Plenty of Questions
05-17-2014 - Jaguars Rookie Camp: A Look At The Future
05-15-2014 - Jaguars "Sustainability" Seems Upward
05-12-2014 - Kaymer Wins Players: Wins Fans Too
05-08-2014 - The Players: First Round Update
05-07-2014 - Players Preview 2014
05-07-2014 - Players 2014: Who Can Win?
05-07-2014 - Players 2014: Will The Greens Be Up To Par?
05-05-2014 - Players 2014: Some Greens Still Closed
05-05-2014 - The Players : Wide Open
05-03-2014 - The Players Field Almost Set
05-03-2014 - Pre Draft Jaguars Ramblings
04-11-2014 - Jaguars Buzz is Real
04-04-2014 - Final Four Bigger in Big 'D'
03-28-2014 - Gators in Elite Eight: Want More
03-27-2014 - Gators vs. UCLA: Toughest Test Yet
03-26-2014 - Bradley Looking To Upgrade Team, Self
03-23-2014 - Gators Change Mindset, Beat Pitt
03-21-2014 - Gators "Survive and Advance"
03-20-2014 - Gators Ranking Doesn't Matter
03-19-2014 - Gators in Orlando For NCAA's
03-14-2014 - Jaguars Free Agency: Impressed, Not Surprised
03-12-2014 - Gabbert Gone
03-08-2014 - Gators Still "Chasing Greatness"
02-27-2014 - "Personal Foul" on the Dutch
02-22-2014 - NASCAR: Looking To The Past To Find The Future
02-13-2014 - Jax: An Events Town"
02-05-2014 - National Signing Day: "Mark Your Calendar!"
01-07-2014 - As Good As It Gets: FSU Wins National Championship
01-06-2014 - FSU vs. Team of Destiny
01-05-2014 - Fisher/Malzahn, FSU/Auburn Contrast in Style
01-05-2014 - FSU A Close-Knit Group
01-02-2014 - Jaguars Talking Vs. Doing:
Does Bradley's "Conviction" Mean Jaguars Wins Are On The Way?
12-29-2013 - Decisions to Make: Jaguars Need A Lot
12-23-2013 - Meester's Day
12-22-2013 - Jaguars Don't Have Enough
12-20-2013 - Jaguars: Who Wants To Be Here?
12-19-2013 - Meeter Retires: The REAL Pride of the Jaguars
12-15-2013 - Jaguars: Three Forward One Back
12-06-2013 - Jaguars Beat Texans Again: Learning How to Win
12-01-2013 - Florida/FSU: Different Directions?
11-18-2013 - Jaguars 2nd Half: "Better But Not Good"
11-14-2013 - Locker Room Culture: Off Limits?
11-10-2013 - Jaguars Victory: A Lot More Than Just One Win
11-03-2013 - Do We Worry About Blackmon?
11-02-2013 - Florida/Georgia: It's Never Easy
10-27-2013 - Jaguars in London: Fun & Frustration:Equal Parts of Both
10-26-2013 - Jacksonville's on a Global Stage
10-25-2013 - Shad Khan "Living The Dream"
10-03-2013 - Jaguars Building for the "Distant" Future
09-30-2013 - Jaguars: Not Getting Better Soon
09-23-2013 - Jaguars Results Not Unexpected
09-17-2013 - Jaguars Ups and Downs
09-10-2013 - Not What They Were Expecting
09-07-2013 - Jaguars Give Reason For Hope
08-25-2013 - "Better and Improved": The Jaguars Buzzwords
08-21-2013 - Jaguars 2013: It's Not About Winning
08-12-2013 - Jaguars Assessment: Is "Not Terrible" Fair?
08-01-2013 - Jaguars Camp: No Surprises But Not Routine
07-26-2013 - Gus Bradley's First Camp: "Slow Down!"
07-20-2013 - Big Thinking Khan Style
06-20-2013 - Its Summer, It's Hot, No Kidding!
05-31-2013 - The Ever Expanding "Season"
05-15-2013 - The Players: One Of A Kind
05-01-2013 - Tiger At The Players
05-08-2013 - Jaguars Needs: Everything
04-03-2013 - Golf in North Florida: It is & isn't all about The Players
01-30-2013 - Players Win Games

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