Blake Bortles on Critics Ripping His Play: 'It'll Probably Never Stop'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 07:  Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up in the bench area in the second half of the AFC Wild Card Round game against the Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field on January 7, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Blake Bortles brushed aside his critics in advance of Sunday's AFC Divisional Round game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"It'll probably never stop," the fourth-year quarterback said Wednesday, per ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco. "There's people that think LeBron James sucks, so if that happens I'm sure there will be a lot of people that always think I suck."

DiRocco noted Bortles wasn't directly comparing himself to James. The signal-caller was highlighting that not even one of the best basketball players in NBA history is immune to criticism.

DiRocco proceeded to list a number of the critiques Bortles faced from fellow NFL players this season, much of which came from inside the AFC South. Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard, Houston Texans defender Jadeveon Clowney and Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey all took shots at Bortles throughout the season.

It didn't stop within the division, as Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas and New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Cameron Jordan all weighed in on Bortles, suggesting he is not a good quarterback and far from the reason the Jaguars won the AFC South in 2017.

The Central Florida product flashed his potential at times with 3,687 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and a career-low 13 interceptions in 2017, but the criticism has been justified as of late.

He threw a combined five interceptions in two losses to end the regular season against the Titans and San Francisco 49ers, erasing the Jaguars' chances at a first-round bye. He also completed 12 of 23 passes for a measly 87 yards in a 10-3 wild-card win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Bortles had just 95 passing yards, zero touchdowns and an interception in his Week 5 matchup against the Steelers, but the Jaguars still won in decisive fashion, 30-9. The defense intercepted Ben Roethlisberger five times and returned two for touchdowns, while running back Leonard Fournette amassed 181 yards and two scores on the ground.

Even if Bortles struggles again, Jacksonville will look to repeat that formula of a strong defense and rushing attack in the postseason and earn a spot in the AFC Championship Game.

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