There were a lot of good questions, but unfortunately I can’t answer them all.
@ESPNdirocco: It’s not fair to compare Blake Bortles, or any quarterback, to what you saw in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady is the GOAT and Matt Ryan has been one of the league’s better quarterbacks throughout his career. But yes, it is pretty clear that good quarterback play is a prerequisite to making the playoffs -- except in the case of the Houston Texans -- and Bortles wasn’t good in 2016.
You shouldn’t give up on Bortles yet. He’s only in his fourth season and you don’t throw for more than 4,000 yards and 35 touchdown passes like he did in 2015 by accident. He has the ability to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL if he cleans up his mechanics, cuts down on interceptions, becomes more accurate and makes quicker and better decisions, and he’s working on that in California for more than two months with his throwing coach.
Bortles is never going to be a polished, mechanical perfectionist like Brady or Peyton Manning, but he can be a productive player who can win games. The good thing is he’s willing to put in the work to get better. That’s something to feel optimistic about.
@ESPNdirocco: Don’t be surprised if Luke Joeckel is back with the Jaguars in 2017. I know from conversations I’ve had with people inside the building that the Jaguars had an interest in re-signing Joeckel to a one-year deal.
Joeckel really has no leverage to land a big deal elsewhere. He’s coming off a major knee injury and has little tape of his time at guard to show other teams. He’s established himself as an average left tackle and there’s not exactly a lot of money being thrown at average left tackles. He likes it in Jacksonville and the Jaguars know his capabilities, so his best option may be signing a one-year deal with the hope of winning a starting job inside and turning that into a bigger contract in 2018.
@ESPNdirocco any chance they go after Eric berry in FA?— 2017WS Champs ⚾️🔥💯 (@cmccullough101) February 10, 2017
@ESPNdirocco: The Jaguars better go after Eric Berry if he hits the free market. In fact, he should be their top target along with guard Kevin Zeitler. Adding Berry to a secondary that already includes Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Colvin and Tashaun Gipson (and possibly Prince Amukamara) would make the Jaguars’ defense significantly better. The Jaguars have to deal with Andrew Luck and Marcus Mariota twice annually, and to make a run in the playoffs (that’s the plan, anyway) they’d have to go through Ben Roethlisberger and Brady at some point.
Berry is a big-time playmaker, and that’s something the Jaguars lack. Berry had twice as many interceptions last season (four) as Johnathan Cyprien has had in his four-year career (two), and has 14 interceptions, five defensive touchdowns and 51 pass breakups in seven seasons.