Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is giving GM David Caldwell’s master plan at the position a huge challenge, because he played out of his mind in the team’s first two preseason games. The Jaguars are now putting Bortles’s ability to the test by giving him first-team reps in practices, and they will also give him some first-team snaps in the team’s next preseason game. This will give us a better barometer of how good Bortles is, but he looked incredible in the previous two games and easily surpassed my expectations. I thought Bortles would need to learn on the bench, as I viewed him as a raw QB who would struggle if thrown into the fire. But Bortles has absorbed a ridiculous amount of knowledge, and I’m sure even the Jaguars are positively surprised by his quick adjustment and progress.
According to the Florida Time Union’s Ryan O’Halloran, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley stated that Bortles received about 7-8 reps with the first team at practice yesterday. That isn’t much, but it’s a nice start and could easily increase as the week goes on. Bortles took just three first-team reps on Monday, so it looks like the Jaguars plan is to take things step-by-step with the former UCF signal-caller.
Bortles already noticed the difference in speed and quality between the first and second teams, though he’ll also benefit from playing with a first-team offense around him. The real test will be how he does in his next preseason game, because another strong performance could make him the starter in the Jaguars eyes. The key is knowing whether or not he is ready, and a big game for a third time would go a long way in proving that.