Blake Bortles Is Jaguars QB of the Future, Shad Khan Says

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2018

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 31:  Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass under pressure from Karl Klug #97 of the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Titans defeated the Jaguars 15-10.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

As Blake Bortles prepares to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars into their first playoff appearance in a decade, owner Shad Khan made it clear his quarterback is here to stay.

"Maybe we're not the biggest idiot on the football block," Khan said Thursday, per Mark Long of the Associated Press. "When his option was picked up, it was like, 'What are these guys smoking?'"

Bortles threw for 3,687 yards and 21 touchdowns against 13 interceptions during the regular season, leading the Jags to a 10-6 record and their first division title since 1999.

The level of Bortles' contribution is a matter of debate. While he set a career low in interceptions in 2017, his interception rate was on par with his 2016 campaign and ranked 22nd among qualifying quarterbacks. His picks largely went down because he attempted 102 fewer passes in 2017 compared to 2016 thanks to the Jags not trailing as often.

A throttling defense and the addition of running back Leonard Fournette were the root cause of that improvement. Football Outsiders' DVOA metric ranked the Jaguars as the best defense in football, and they allowed an NFL-best 169.9 passing yards per game.

Fournette also became the team's first 1,000-yard rusher since Maurice Jones-Drew in 2011. Add those factors up, and it's fair to say the Jaguars' surrounding talent improved—but perhaps not Bortles himself.

Either way, one 10-win season appears to have Khan ready to keep Bortles around for the foreseeable future. 

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