Jaguars’ Bortles throws 5 interceptions in camp practice
By Mark Long
AP Sports Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw five interceptions in practice Saturday night, quite possibly his worst training camp outing in four years.
Bortles was picked off three times in 11-on-11 drills and twice more in 7-on-7 work. His awful night came under the lights and during Jacksonville’s first practice in full pads. The stands were at full capacity, too, as the Jaguars opened practice only to season-ticket holders.
No one watching this one — except maybe Jacksonville’s defenders — could have felt good afterward.
“I think any time someone doesn’t perform to what you want to do, you’re concerned about it,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “He’s not the only one, you know what I’m saying, that’s out there. There’s some good things.”
Marrone said he would need to review practice video before deciding how many of the interceptions were Bortles’ fault.
“We’re going to go and talk about that as coaches,” he said. “We haven’t talked to the player yet about that, so we’ll go ahead and look at it and, again, continue to get better. Going to want to go back there and look at it from a different view and see what he was thinking and see what was going on.”
Bortles attempted 22 passes in 11-on-11 drills, and ended up with three interceptions. Former Dallas and Miami cornerback Tyler Patmon picked off Bortles twice, and linebacker Telvin Smith got another that he returned for a touchdown. Safety Tashaun Gipson and linebacker Josh McNary got theirs in 7-on-7 work.
The Jaguars have shown strong for Bortles publicly despite a subpar season in 2016. The former UCF standout threw for 3,905 yards, with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, in his third season. It was a step back after throwing for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2015. He has been sacked a whopping 140 times in three years and has the most turnovers (63) of any player during that span.
Nonetheless, Jacksonville exercised the fifth-year option in his rookie contract in May. General manager Dave Caldwell and Marrone decided Bortles needed more help, so they drafted bruising running back Leonard Fournette fourth overall, choose massive left tackle Cam Robinson in the second round and added speedy Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook in the fourth. They also traded for two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert in March.
Bortles, meanwhile, spent a big chunk of the offseason working on his mechanics in California in hopes of improving his accuracy and efficiency.
He was sharp the first two days of camp, but reverted to his turnover-prone ways Saturday.
Marrone said he didn’t say anything to Bortles during his struggles, opting to let him try to work it out.
“If I’ve got to do that now, then we’re going to be in trouble,” Marrone said.