JACKSONVILLE – This was a tough one, particularly for the quarterback.
When that's the case in the NFL, it's difficult to talk about much else. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles struggled in a 19-17 loss to Baltimore Sunday and he has struggled throughout much of the first three games of the season. There are other reasons the Jaguars are 0-3, but that's a big one.
We won't make this O-Zone Late Night all-Bortles-all-the-time, but it probably won't be far off.
Let's get to it …
Adam from Lynbrook, NY:
Blake has regressed.
John: It has looked that way at times early in the season, and it looked that way early Sunday. It looked that way again late Sunday, too. The much-discussed elongation in his motion indeed seems pronounced – more so than last season, anyway. He also is struggling in the pocket, with accuracy and with decision-making. Those are difficult struggles for a team to overcome. Bortles overall has struggled far more early this season than was expected and it has hurt this team's chances to win. It's an issue. If it doesn't get fixed, the Jaguars are going to struggle a lot this season.
Gabe from Washington, D.C.:
Malik Jackson pressure. Jalen Ramsey tip! Tashaun Gipson interception!!!! I love EVERYTHING!!!
John: This pretty much summed up the in-box for a fleeting, glorious moment Sunday afternoon …
Gabe from Washington, DC:
I hate everything. Football is stupid.
John: … and this took over seconds later.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
That's right: let's continue to run when it so obviously ineffective. Terrible play calling in the wake of great play after great play by the defense. This offense should be so much more effective. This is infuriating.
John: That indeed was the most frustrating part of the Jaguars' loss to the Ravens Sunday – that the offense had three opportunities inside Ravens territory in the fourth quarter and produced … three points. When you watched the fourth quarter on Sunday you got the feeling the Jaguars had taken control of the game. The defense was forcing turnovers and the momentum clearly had shifted. The entire stadium felt it and both teams felt it. The Jaguars in many ways played well enough to win that game, particularly defensively. But part of winning is taking advantage of opportunities and turning them into points. The Jaguars failed to do that and because they failed to do that, they're 0-3.
Eric from St. Augustine, FL:
If Blake can't stop throwing picks, he can't keep playing in the NFL.
John: My first thought was that this was a bit extreme, and that perhaps it's early to say that. My second thought was that you know what? You're right. It's Bortles' third season and he's on pace for 32 interceptions. Even if you take away the one on the final drive – because final-drive interceptions happen a lot – he's on pace for 27. Thirty-two is way too many. Twenty-seven is way too many. Bortles mentioned in his post-game speech the issue of being careless. I'll have to re-watch the game to see if Bortles indeed was careless or if Bortles was being too hard on himself – something he has a tendency to do at times. Either way, the interceptions have to get reduced. Teams are too even in the NFL. Turnovers – particularly as many as Bortles has had this season – kill.
Shawn from A Mean Row in Section 124:
I for one am (Forrest Gump voice) "gonna do some fannin!" Tell me how did it work out for me? (Pregame email)
John: This was the much-anticipated first email of the game, and it kinda, sorta broke the rules by being the much-anticipated first email of the "pre-game." As far as the fannin' goes … hey, considering the Jaguars were 0-2 entering the game and are now 0-3 … well, fan on to your heart's content, Shawn. Fan on.
Brian from Section 238 :
These receivers are open. Blake hasn't been making the throws that a third year "franchise quarterback" should. Thoughts?
John: I think there have been some times this season the receivers haven't been as open as perhaps would be ideal. I think there have been too many times when Bortles hasn't made the throws a third-year franchise quarterback should.
John from Clearwater, FL:
What is going on with Bortles? Every pass comes out wobbly and like he's struggling just to get it out. He looks like a rookie.
John: What's going on with Bortles is a serious question. It's one he appeared to be struggling with after Sunday's game. I've always admired not only Bortles' willingness to publicly self-assess but his willingness to be utterly honest with himself. He handles adversity very well, and teammates respect him for it. I've always believed that to be one of his best attributes as a quarterback. He was up front and honest after the Baltimore game and took as blame as he could. He gets it. He knows he needs to play better. He's obviously frustrated and upset by it. As for whether he'll improve from this … time will tell.