Thumbs-up for Jaguars QB Blake Bortles

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A quick observation of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and how he has played in preparation for the season opener Sept. 13 against the Carolina Panthers.

It would be hard to have a better preseason than what Bortles has had through three games. His "official" numbers are impressive enough, especially his completion percentage (39-of-60, 65 percent), but they’re even better when you add in seven drops and take away one spike to stop the clock: 46-of-59, 78 percent.

That’s a significant improvement from his rookie season, in which he completed only 58.9 percent of his passes.

Why has Bortles looked so much better? His improved mechanics -- he shortened his windup, lengthened his follow-through and cleaned up some footwork -- have improved his accuracy. He’s hitting receivers in stride on crossing routes, fitting throws into small windows and putting balls where they’re going to be catches by his receivers or incompletions.

Bortles has said several times that he likes new coordinator Greg Olson’s offense because it fits the team’s personnel. That has allowed him to be more comfortable, both on the field and in the meeting room, and his performance reflects it.

What he did against Detroit on Friday is proof. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and one touchdown. Now, consider he had one drop and a spike and threw two passes away. He also scrambled for three first downs on his four carries for 38 yards.

"I think Blake is playing with a lot of good poise right now," coach Gus Bradley said. "He looks to me like he’s very well-prepared [and] he understands what he needs to do."

Another factor that can’t be overlooked: The offensive line has performed much better in pass protection. The Jaguars gave up an NFL-high 71 sacks in 2014, and Bortles was sacked 55 times. He has been sacked just twice this preseason.