Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles believe that criticisms come with the territory playing professional football.
“It’ll probably never stop,” Bortles said. “There’s people that think LeBron James sucks, so if that happens I’m sure there will be a lot of people that always think I suck.”
While it’s the right attitude to have, the 25-year-old is not exactly at the top of the echelons of NFL players, which means he’s not untouchable and some of the criticisms appear to be valid.
Bortles has yet to replicate his breakout 2015 season, which made analysts and even several NFL players shaking their head in disappointment. In 2016, however, he regressed as his yards-per-attempt average has dropped were down to just 6.1 from 7.3 and scoring also plummeted to 18.3 per game.
However, he came back strong after a paltry pre-season last year. Bortles is making huge strides into becoming a dangerous weapon.
For one, he has a better passing rate compared to Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco or Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, for instance, after completing 60% of his passes despite the absence of their top receiver. He also had more touchdown passes compared to Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and Eli Manning of the New York Giants. For the whole season, he only recorded a total of 13 interceptions.
In Week 3, he passed for 244 yards along with four touchdowns as the Jaguars gave the Ravens an old-school beat down on a score of 44-7. In Week 7, he shattered the franchise record by passing for a total of 282 yards in the first half alone. By the end of the game, he already threw a total of 330 yards and 11 rushing yards.
More importantly, the Jaguars, led by the resurrection of Bortles, made it to the playoffs and will play the Steelers on Sunday.