Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

QB Blake Bortles Braces for One of His Toughest Tests: The Patriots and Coach Bill Belichick; OPPORTUNITY ON BIG STAGE

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

QB Blake Bortles Braces for One of His Toughest Tests: The Patriots and Coach Bill Belichick; OPPORTUNITY ON BIG STAGE

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

New England coach Bill Belichick is impressed by what he sees.

The Jaguars are hopeful he'll be even more so by Sunday evening.

The four-time Super-Bowl-winning coach praised Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles during a conference call with the Times-Union on Wednesday. The defending champion Patriots (2-0) are a two-touchdown favorite to take down the visiting Jaguars (1-1) on Sunday.

For the Jaguars to have a realistic chance at the upset, Bortles will have to likely guide the offense to a minimum output in the high 20s. Bortles threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers for a career-best 102.2 passer rating in Sunday's 23-20 win over Miami at EverBank Field. The second-year player also broke a 28-yard run and completed three passes to receiver Allen Robinson of 52, 46 and 36 yards.

"Bortles creates a lot of problems for you," Belichick said. "I felt last week against Miami was another good example of the overall effectiveness of the offense: decision making, no sacks and no turnovers. He's able to make plays with his feet. He's able to make plays in critical situations like third down, two-minute and he's able to make plays when he has a chance to get the ball down the field. We saw a couple of those last week with Robinson. He's done a good job with that."

New England quarterback Tom Brady is the face of the Patriots' dynasty - four titles since 2001 - but Belichick's defense was the foundation.

Bortles will make his 16th career start on Sunday, the equivalent of a full season. He's shown improvement. In his first eight starts, Bortles threw for six touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He's thrown six touchdowns and four picks in his last seven starts.

However, the 16-starts milestone comes with the ultimate challenge.

"Obviously, Belichick is a coach that has been around for a long time, done a lot, seen a ton of quarterbacks and a ton of football," Bortles said. "I'm sure he has a good game plan, so I think it's a good opportunity for us as an offensive unit."

The task for Bortles is to try to maintain his usual approach. The Jaguars' offense is moving in the right direction. …

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