Now that Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is armed with a new contract, head coach Doug Marrone is expecting more from his starter. Make that the entire Jacksonville Jaguars franchise is expecting more from its signal caller.
Doug Marrone, who appeared on NFL Network on Tuesday, outlined exactly what he wanted from Bortles, the third pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
As Marc Sessler of NFL.com described it – A tangible uptick in play.
Bortles showed improvement last year with his decision making, and his reduction in turnovers – something that had plagued him the first three years in the NFL. He also showed better poise in the pocket and was able to use his ability to run to extend plays. His legs alone were the reason Jacksonville beat the Buffalo Bills 10-3 in the wild card round of the AFC playoffs.
“We are looking to see great improvement from him going into this next season,” Marrone said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February days after the team signed the UCF product to a three-year, $54 million extension. That included more than $26 million in guaranteed money.
Marrone preached the same practice in March at the Owners Meetings and was again speaking the same tune when he sat down with the Good Morning Football crew.
“By being rewarded a contract – like I always tell the players – you get rewarded with that contract, obviously, we expect something in return and we expect you to make a big jump again this year,” Marrone said of Bortles.
Bortles will have a second-year running back Leonard Fournette in the backfield and a corps of fast wide receivers to throw to. It is also possible that Jaguars will look to add more speed in the first round and draft a wide receiver. Doug Marrone and the Jaguars coaching staff will look for better play out of the passing offense in 2018.
The Jaguars were able to beat the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 AFC playoffs before they fell to the New England Patriots 24-20 in the AFC title game. Bortles played his best football in the last two games, which played a big role in his new deal getting done.