Tom Coughlin Says Blake Bortles Must Cut Down on Turnovers Next Season

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) throws against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Tom CoughlinJacksonville Jaguars executive vice president of football operations, has never been one to mince words and didn't stray from directing criticism at quarterback Blake Bortles.

At a news conference on Friday, per ESPN's Michael DiRocco, Coughlin noted there are areas for the entire team to improve before honing in on Bortles' tendency to turn the ball over:

There's plenty of work for everybody to do, Blake included. To raise the game to a higher level, it takes all components though. ... And that's why I mentioned the protection first of all. [It also entails] people being in the right place at the right time, the timing, taking care of the football, which is paramount to that position.

There can be no way the ball is turned over to that extent, so I think he'd be the first one to say that he has a lot of work to do. But we all have a lot of work to do, so I'm going to put it that way.

Since the Jaguars made Bortles the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, he has had his share of ups and downs. The 24-year-old appeared to take steps forward in 2015 when he threw for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns, though he also led the NFL with 18 interceptions. 

Last year saw Bortles take a step back with 3,905 yards, 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, and the Jaguars' 3-13 record marked their sixth straight losing season. 

While singling out Bortles' effort, Coughlin did make sure to point out the players around him have to offer some support. 

"To improve the quarterback, I think we have to also improve the protection and all those components around him," he said.

Bortles is going to be under the most intense microscope because of his erratic play and by virtue of playing the most important position on the field. He may need help, but with Coughlin and new head coach Doug Marrone taking over, next season is an evaluation year for Bortles. 

Bortles is going into his fourth year in the league and should have shown some improvement in his play by now. The Jaguars can't afford to wait around too long for him to figure things out if they want to climb out of the hole they've been in for most of the decade.

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