<
>

AFC South Q&A: Will Blake Bortles ever become an elite quarterback?

play
Ad Pro Test Clip 46 - March 2017 (1:16)

Ad Pro Test Clip 46 - March 2017 (1:16)

Today's question: Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles made huge strides in his second season, setting franchise records for attempts, completions, passing yards (4,428) and passing touchdowns (35). However, he also threw 18 interceptions and has 35 in two seasons. Is that just who he is and will that keep him from becoming an elite (or at least very good) quarterback?

Tania Ganguli, Houston Texans reporter: It doesn't have to be who he is. And that stat alone isn't necessarily an indicator of a quarterback's success. Don't forget, Peyton Manning threw at least 15 interceptions in each of his first five seasons. Despite that, he had records of 13-3, 10-6 and 10-6 in three of those seasons, so it's about more than the turnovers. Two things are more concerning, and they're likely linked. Bortles' completion percentage is among the worst in the league and he gets sacked way too much. Those two factors are holding back the Jaguars' offense more than the turnovers.

Paul Kuharsky, Tennessee Titans reporter: Bortles is never going to be a "clean" quarterback in terms of interceptions. What makes him good is that he can connect on some risky throws. He can improve his choices and be more prudent as he picks his spots to take his risks, but I think if the Jaguars were to ask him to really cut down on the picks, they'd lose a lot of the best things about him. I think he can qualify as a very good quarterback who still throws interceptions. And the interception rate will come down. But if you're looking for a quarterback who is rarely going to turn the ball over, he's not your guy.

Mike Wells, Indianapolis Colts reporter: I think last year's interception total (18) is more telling than the 17 he threw as a rookie because he was pressed into action sooner than expected his first year (I still remember how excited Jags fans were when he debuted in the second half against Indy). This might be looked at as a bad comparison because Bortles didn't enter the NFL with the same type of hype, but the Colts' Andrew Luck went from throwing 18 interceptions his rookie season to throwing only nine in his second season. Next season will be more telling for Bortles because the Jaguars have two talented running backs in T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory to go with their passing game. Bortles can't be responsible for the Jaguars losing games due to his turnover problems. If so, the folks in Jacksonville have every reason to be concerned that maybe he isn't a franchise quarterback.