It’s not often these days that star players are publicly coming out and recognizing what the Jacksonville Jaguars are doing both on and off the field.
But as a Jaguars fan myself, when it does happen… It feels good. So good, I have to write about it.
Back in May, during the first round of the NFL draft, many Jaguars fans showed up to Everbank Field to watch the draft unfold and learn who would become the newest member of the franchise. Many had hoped for an explosive playmaker on either side of the ball… someone like wide receiver Sammy Watkins out of Clemson or Jadeveon Clowney out of South Carolina.
What they got instead, was the future face of the franchise and a guy that general manager David Caldwell and the entire coaching staff hopes will be the leader of this team for the next decade or so in quarterback Blake Bortles out of The University of Central Florida.
Not only did Caldwell and company draft Bortles, but they made their intentions known.
Intentions that include a strategic plan that was set in place before Bortles was even drafted, a plan that the entire franchise was and is on-board with. The question is, how well will the team stick to that plan when discussions ensue behind closed doors?
Only time will tell.
The plan is for the Jaguars to treat this first year as somewhat of a ‘redshirt’ year for Bortles, allowing him to sit and learn from the incumbent in Chad Henne. What Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley want to do for Bortles is create an environment where Bortles doesn’t feel the pressure to be ‘the’ guy starting Week 1 — something most rookie quarterbacks face in today’s NFL.
“We really felt comfortable with Henne coming back with another year in the system, I think it gave us flexibility. When Blake was there available for us, we really wanted to capture that opportunity. And we do feel good about where Blake’s at, but we feel like this time that he has under Chad, a year to develop, will be really good in the end result.” – Gus Bradley on developing Blake Bortles
Now, the Jaguars are receiving praise from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.