Tom Coughlin tiptoes around commitment to Blake Bortles

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For the most part, the Friday Tom Coughlin process was quintessential Tom Coughlin. Direct. Candid but guarded, and candid about being guarded. On one of the first questions, however, Coughlin was asked a direct question and evaded it.

Asked whether he is committed to Blake Bortles as the team’s starting quarterback, Coughlin opted not to say “yes” or “no.” The end result was a convoluted way of saying, “Maybe.”

“There’s plenty of work for everybody to do, Blake included,” Coughlin told reporters. “To raise the game to a higher level, it takes all components as well. That’s why I mentioned the protection first of all. Being at 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. 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; I’m going to put it that way.”

That’s a way of saying that if Bortles doesn’t do the work, Coughlin and company will find someone who will. Long before the Jaguars know whether Bortles can do the work, they’ll have to decide whether to exercise the option for the fifth year of his rookie deal, which will equate to the transition tag for quarterbacks in 2017 (i.e., 11.409 percent of the 2017 salary cap).

At a 2017 cap of $165 million, that’s $18.82 million guaranteed for injury for a fifth season with Bortles. Based on Coughlin’s convoluted answer to a straightforward question, it’s hardly a slam dunk that they’ll pick up the option on or before May 3.

18 responses to “Tom Coughlin tiptoes around commitment to Blake Bortles

  1. Coughlin will do what he thinks is best for the team and not be guided by his emotions. I’m not sure if Bortles’ play last year warrants an $18.82M salary this year. However, unless they have something else already lined up I don’t see how they can cut him unless they are going to consider next year a rebuilding year. I mean, it can’t really be any worse than the disaster it was with Gus Bradley.

  2. Personally, I like Bortles but he hasn’t shown that he has gotten much better. In all fairness to him though, that offensive line is a total mess. He did throw a lot of bad INTs last year and his receivers didn’t really do him a lot of favors. Thomas was hurt all the time and the WRs dropped quite a few passes. He has averaged 17 INTs in his first three years and I think that is way too many for someone considered to be a franchise QB. On the other hand, Eli Manning averaged just about as many INTs when Coughlin was coach. I get the feeling they will pick up the option but if he plays poorly I would have to think he won’t be around in 2018. The story says the fifth-year would only be guaranteed for injury so they could just sit him and dump him at the end of the season and move on.
    If Bortles does play poorly, I doubt if teams will be beating down the door to give him nearly $19M if they cut him.

  3. I really hope Bortels plays well, if he does this is a playoff team. They need a better running game but that starts with the o-line and getting a rb at 4 is a reach IMO since the line isn’t that good at run blocking.

  4. They have taken over the Skins title for offseason champs. It’ll be more FA’s and high draft picks to go with a young team. And by Halloween, we’ll be preparing for next offseason rather than playoff race.

  5. Hardly, tiptoeing. Why would anyone be so stupid to think he’d commit to anyone on a disaster of a team? Everyone better buckle up. Prove it to him. Talk is cheap.

  6. Bortles is probably barely capable of being a top 10 QB. Keep him around until you get someone better. Worse QBs have won super bowls.

  7. This is simply awesome. Bortles can throw his little tantrums with zero solution or moxy to make other players better, or he can step up and face a real coaching staff lead by our VP

  8. Actually Bortles is one of the better QBs out there. Consider that he has been sacked 140 times in 3 years. If you think of Tom Brady, he has had only 3 seasons where he has been sacked more than 33 times. All three seasons Bortles exceeded that total. In any 3 year stretch, Brady was never sacked more than 104 times. Peyton Manning never was sacked even 30 times in any one season. Bortles almost has half of Manning’s career total. That can’t continue. That’s a lot of hits Bortles is taking. He needs an improved OL to get better.

  9. 5thorkid says:
    Feb 24, 2017 7:34 PM
    Didn’t know Coughlin was the head coach…
    Look, normally, the GM wouldn’t talk about who starts, but the QB is normally who a team is built around and the question is really asking “is Bortles that guy.” And if not, who do they market/trade/draft for. There’s also a lot of contract money in the balance right now, so it’s probably THE overriding issue for Coughlin as GM.

  10. Looks like Bortles’ days in Jax may be numbered. That wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence from Coughlin, who will be making the big personnel decisions.

  11. I’m not sure where this 18MM number is coming from, his 2017 cap hit is $6,571,983.

    Now with an extension maybe its 18MM, but this year its $6,571,983.

  12. There are very few players in pro football who have earned a carte blanche “we’re all in with this guy no matter what.” Everyone else has to earn their job every year. I don’t think Coughlin’s comments on Bortles tell us much we didn’t already know.

    Another thing that’s pretty obvious is that Bortles has both played well and played badly in the past, and both seem to be a result of OL protection and running game.

    Fix the OL and he’s good enough to win games.

  13. dejadoh – true that his o-lines haven’t been great, but that doesn’t absolve him of responsibility for taking that many sacks. Some of it is purely protection, yes. But some of it is also a lack of awareness.

    Know why guys like Peyton and Brady take so few sacks? It’s not because they always had 5 pro bowlers standing in front of them. It’s because they can read blitzes, check hot reads, know when / where to unload the ball. The quick release plays a big part in that too, and Bortles long winding motion doesn’t quite fit that mold. He holds the ball low, drops his arm, winds it back, all while staring down one receiver after failing to recognize a disguised blitz, etc. So when you take a sack like that, you can’t turn around and blame your line. Your comment is just another example of how people are so blindly dependent on out of context numbers to tell a whole story. There’s more to the game than numerical rankings.

    Jags o-line needs some work obviously, just like 25 other teams o-lines. But Bortles needs to pick it up in the film room and tighten up that release, because every defender on the field and their grandmother knows exactly where that ball is going before he’s even completed his back swing.

    Hold it high, tight loop around the ear, and build the momentum through your shoulder and transition of body weight as opposed to relying on the momentum of your arm itself. Like cardinealsfan20 said, did they not have a QB coach the last 3 years?

  14. Just like tebow, you can’t fix what’s been natural for years and years. You can make minor adjustment but not major overhauls.

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