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NFL: Blake Bortles – Ready or Not?

The Jacksonville Jaguars will have a new look next year. No longer will you see Blaine Gabbert, you’re likely not to see Justin Blackmon, and in the most dramatic of changes, for the first time in nine years, you will no longer see Maurice Jones-Drew in a Jaguars uniform. The new look Jacksonville Jaguars have many new faces such as starting running back, Toby Gerhart, along with two starting caliber wide receivers in Marqise Lee out of USC and Allen Robinson out of Penn State. However, the player who will probably have the biggest impact on the success of the regime will be first round pick, quarterback Blake Bortles out of UCF.

When speaking about a high draft pick at quarterback, the first question that is always asked is if he will start immediately. There are two thoughts to this. The first would be that if he is the new face, let him learn on the job, like Peyton Manning, Drew Bledsoe, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson. The other thought is that a year or so on the bench will help the quarterback learn to be a pro, like it did for Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Steve Young, and Carson Palmer. Both alternatives have had good and bad results. I prefer to let the young guy learn for a year, it can’t hurt him. Many would say that he’s getting paid enough and if he wasn’t ready, he shouldn’t be picked that high.

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The Jaguars have come out and said that their new face of the franchise, Blake Bortles, will likely sit for a bit to start the 2014 season and Chad Henne will lead the team as their starting QB. Normally when a young guy is going to sit, it’s usually behind an older veteran that can team him he ropes, like Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck, and Kurt Warner. Henne doesn’t really fit that profile, as he is still 28 years old. I’m not so sure he’ll have the mentality of “let me help the guy who I’m just a seat warmer for.” Because of that, this situation will end one of two ways, either Henne will be great to start the year and it turns into a Drew Brees – Philip Rivers thing, or he’ll start the year badly and Bortles will be in by their week 11 bye week.

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I think that Blake Bortles will be the best QB in this year’s draft. However, he is still a bit raw. The excuse of he makes too much to sit the bench no longer applies with the new rookie salary scales. If I’m the Jaguars, I sit him and have him practically sleep with the playbook so that he knows it back and forth. The goal would be to start him in year two. By then, he should know the offense well enough to know where he should throw and where everyone should be lined up. He’ll also know where to make adjustments depending on how the defense plays him.

All in all the Jacksonville Jaguars are actually in good shape for the future. They still should sure up the offensive line a bit more and maybe grab another tight end, as Mercedes Lewis is now 30 years old. Other than that, the future on the offensive side of the ball is bright. They may not show too much consistency in 2014, but there is no longer a reason to wear a bag on your heads Jacksonville fans, because Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, Cecil Shorts, and Toby Gerhart are are here to change the atmosphere of the franchise around.

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