Blake Bortles needs good mechanic — or therapist — to salvage career

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles needs help to salvage his career.

Two words in the English language best describe the spiraling freefall of Blake Bortles' career. Brace yourselves:

Tony Romo.


Perhaps that's not as low as you can go, but it's close to the end of days for an aspiring franchise quarterback who has regressed to the point of becoming Internet fodder for what — or who — comes next.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of six NFL franchises deemed to have "medium interest" in Romo should he bounce out of Dallas next season now that Dak Prescott is firmly entrenched as the go-to quarterback.


That's what we all said about Bortles when he first came to Jacksonville as the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. It looked like the perfect fit. He didn't have to travel far from Orlando to Jacksonville, after establishing an marquee résumé at Oviedo High and UCF.

There was so much to love in the hometown-good-makes-good scenario.

"We're looking for guys who are really competitive, reliable, tough and smart," Jags coach Gus Bradley said the day after the draft, during a meet-and-greet in Jacksonville.

As the clock ticks to nearly three years later, Bortles still has that competitive fire. But he's become as reliable as a 1980 AMC Pacer.

A clunker. He has 57 turnovers in 40 career games. He has thrown multiple interceptions in four of 10 games this season. His mechanics are awful, to the point where he admits he will seek help in the offseason.

The support system offers little help. Bortles has been sacked 21 times this season and 127 times in a three-year span. The team is also working on its second offensive coordinator this season, Nathaniel Hackett, after Greg Olson got bounced in late October.

Oh, and Bortles' shoulder is a bit jacked up going into Sunday's game against Buffalo.

"I don't know that he's taken a step back," Bradley said, addressing reporters in a conference call earlier this week. ". . . In some of the categories we look at, he's improved."


Whatevs, dude.

Bradley must be drinking the Happy Kool-Aid, which he will likely need in massive doses to survive another horrific season. Nice guy, but bottom line is 14-44 in nearly four seasons. Unacceptable. Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan should stop giving Bradley hall passes and show him out the door.

As for Bortles, things are more complicated. He still has some wiggle room to set things straight. Maybe all he really needs is a good therapist and a couch. There seems to be more going on with his head than his arm right now.

Not that mechanics are an easy fix. A photo from a few weeks ago shows Bortles holding the ball behind him at waist level, his palm on the tip of the football.

"He does not make routine NFL throws," former NFL quarterback Phil Simms said recently. "He is very inaccurate throwing the ball. He's got one of the longest motions throwing the football. … I don't really think Blake Bortles is a good enough thrower to be an NFL quarterback. … He's just not a natural thrower of the football."

So where to go from here? Bortles and the Jags should have a year to sort out the relationship and see if it's best to part ways after his contract expires in 2017. He will be due a base salary of about $3.2 million next season, a deep discount for an NFL QB.


But that's just it. At just 24, Bortles is having a mid-life career crisis in the NFL, and big money — and job security — is no guarantee. And the fact is that nobody can predict whether he is fixable.

Franchise or failure? The pocket is collapsing on Blake Bortles. Best to hold on tight. The ball first, followed by his career. Read George Diaz's blog at