For the seventh time in the past eight years, the Jacksonville Jaguars had a losing record, going 5-11 in 2015. However, quarterback Blake Bortles put up a big sophomore campaign, throwing for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns.
But there is still work to be done, according to Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who spoke with John Oehser of the team's official website this week at the Reese's Senior Bowl:
We’re comfortable with Blake Bortles. We’re going to accelerate his development. One of the things you want to be careful of is saying, ‘It’s Year Three and it’s his second year in the system … let’s do more.' Well, let’s get better in some of the things we’re doing. Let’s make sure we’re not clouding the situation for him. Let’s make sure he’s functioning at a faster, clearer level.
While Bortles attained career highs in passing yards and touchdowns, he also led the league in interceptions with 18.
His coaching staff isn't wasting any time in further developing the signal-caller either. Olson picked out four unnamed quarterbacks around the league for Bortles to contact and find out what they do during the offseason.
"We structure every hour of his day during the season seven days a week, but what about the offseason? What are those guys doing in the offseason?," Olson asked. "We said, ‘Ask these guys if they could do it all over again when they were 23 and they were going into their third season? What advice would they give you as far as your preparation?’ That’s the key."
In an offseason that looks like it will be filled with tweaks, Bortles will be lucky enough to come back for the 2016 season to a familiar sight. Jacksonville has built a solid group of young receivers who will be ready to catch whatever an adjusted Bortles has to throw at them.
Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, the team's two-leading receivers, are 22 and 24 years old, respectively. Add 27-year-old tight end Julius Thomas, who will look to put together a full season in Jacksonville, and Bortles looks like he'll have a number of reliable hands for the foreseeable future.
If Olson's development of Bortles does indeed work out and the young quarterback finds a way to further build off of his solid second season in the league, the Jaguars could be making some noise sooner rather than later in the AFC.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.
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