Both were first-round picks in the NFL Draft (Roethlisberger in 2004, Bortles in 2014), both played for mid-tier college programs (Roethlisberger at Miami, Ohio, Bortles at Central Florida), and both are physically imposing (Roethlisberger at 6 feet, 5 inches and 240 pounds, Bortles at 6-5, 246).
In fact, Roethlisberger in 2014 called Bortles “a young me.”
But Roethlisberger has guided the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles, while the Jaguars are 8-26 with Bortles including an 0-2 start this season. Perhaps that is why outside linebacker Terrell Suggs – whose Ravens defense will be tasked with limiting Bortles and the rest of the Jacksonville offense on Sunday – put a stop to the comparisons after Thursday’s practice.
“No, that guy is special,” Suggs said with a smile, referring to Roethlisberger. “We like playing against that guy. But Blake is still a really good quarterback. He’s not in our division, so we don’t get to see him as much. He has some similarities like extending the play and making plays with his feet.”
Bortles is deceptively mobile with an ability to move in the pocket that belies his physical stature. He has been sacked 111 times in his career, including an astonishing 55 times in his rookie campaign, but Suggs said he and his teammates must be aware of Bortles, who was sacked three times while tossing two touchdowns against one interception in the Jaguars’ 22-20 win against the Ravens on Nov. 15.
“He’s definitely capable of making plays with his feet, of extending plays,” Suggs said. “He’s a really good quarterback when he’s out of the pocket. That’s definitely something we’ve got to look at and monitor and pretty much try to contain him.”
Reunion for Perriman, Bortles: Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman and Bortles, former teammates at Central Florida, will enjoy a mini-reunion of sorts.
Perriman, the organization’s first-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft who played with Bortles for two years, said the quarterback “made things very easy for me.”
“He put the ball in great locations,” Perriman recalled. “I feel like he’s a big-play quarterback. He was always looking for the big play. And his poise was crazy. No matter what happened during a game, he just stayed calm and collected. He kept his head on the next play, the next thing, the next goal.”
Bortles, arrived at Central Florida a year after Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken left to enter the 2011 draft. After a standout career there, he was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Bortles joked that his accuracy in college was aided by Perriman’s ability to outleap defenders for the football.
“We had a really good group of wide receivers my last year there at UCF that did a good job,” Bortles said. “He kind of led that group and was the stud of that group. They were fun to throw to. He was fun to throw to. He made a ton of plays, we racked up a ton of yards, and they definitely made my life way more easier than I made theirs.”
Moore happy with opportunities: As a rookie wide receiver, Chris Moore was unsure how much work he would get with the Ravens offense.
The University of Cincinnati product has played in 27.3 percent of the team’s offensive snaps through the first two games. Although Moore has caught just two balls for 22 yards, that’s more yards than Aiken and running back Terrance West (Northwestern High, Towson University), and his four targets is one more than Aiken’s.
“It’s crazy,” Moore said Wednesday. “I was even talking to Mike Wallace, and he said, ‘When you’re the fifth receiver, you don’t get that many reps. But you’ve been getting a lot. So they must trust you.’”
Moore is still upset about dropping what appeared to be a sure touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco in Sunday’s 25-20 victory at the Cleveland Browns. “That’s something that’s going to drive me crazy,” he said. “When I watch film, I watch that 20 times. I should catch those.”