Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook; Bortles Has Had a Difficult Month

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook; Bortles Has Had a Difficult Month

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

Blake Bortles looked like a franchise quarterback last season.

He looks like a frustrated one right now.

A year he set the Jaguars single-season record for touchdown passes (35) and seemed to be developing steadily, Bortles has struggled through a September slump while leading an offense that has seemed to take a step backward.

"What I'm hoping he isn't trying to put it all on him and [that's] created some anxiety and he's pushing himself," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Monday. "You're seeing some inconsistency at times. That's been some of my conversation with him."

Bortles said a 19-17 loss to Baltimore on Sunday wasn't any more frustrating than other setbacks the team has gone through, but he has looked exasperated at times early this season. He has ripped off his chin straps after several bad plays and occasionally after the Jaguars have been hit with penalties.

On Sunday, he appeared to fire his mouthpiece into the stands and head toward the locker room after throwing an interception on a play that began with 25 seconds remaining.

Through three games, Bortles has seven turnovers (six interceptions and one lost fumble) with just five touchdown passes. He has also been sacked nine times while looking uncomfortable in the pocket.

It hasn't been the step forward for Bortles that the team envisioned after he threw for a franchise-best 35 touchdowns with 18 interceptions despite going 5-11 last season.

"It's a frustrating game. It's a game of inches, and it gets frustrating at times," said Chris Reed, who made his first career start Sunday at left guard. "Everyone has those moments."

BRADLEY DEFENDS PLAY-CALLING

Bradley defended his team's offensive approach on two fourth-quarter drives of Sunday's loss. Leading 17-16, the Jaguars twice took over possession in Ravens territory. …

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