Sam's Commentary

January 17, 2018 Commentary Archive

Blake, Teammate, And That's How He Likes It

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted January 17, 2018 ===========================================================================

I've been to Oviedo but I'm not sure I remember it.

Apparently, that's not unusual.

"Kind of like Yulee but not that far away," is how one Orlando native described it. They have a Target, a mall, movie theaters, all the things you'd expect of a suburb community.

South of Sanford and northeast of Orlando, Oviedo is the home of former JU basketball player Ronnie Murphy. Until recently Murphy was the most famous athlete to come out of Oviedo. Mark Bellhorn, a former MLB player is from there. Olympic runner Jennifer Simpson is also from there.

But now they have a "Blake Bortles Way."

Not far from Oviedo is the campus of UCF, and that's where Blake Bortles ended up as a college quarterback.

So with that as a backdrop, it's not hard to see how Bortles personality has been shaped and his reaction to the bright lights of being in the NFL.

"I really don't care what anybody says about me, I really don't," Blake said earnestly on Wednesday, echoing what he's said all along. "I care what they guys in our locker room think about me and when they defend me, it's cool. I'd do the same for them."

And that's about it. Honestly.

In his four years as the Jaguars quarterback, Blake has gone from raw rookie to rising star, slumping potential to just terrible. Of course he never been any of those things in reality or in his own mind but that's how he's been characterized. The storyline dictates what people think and those have been the storylines over his career.

But to him it doesn't matter.

Always a "team first" guy, Bortles likes the atmosphere of coming to work with a bunch of guys he knows, laughing and working and getting things done. He was that way when they were losing; he's that way now that they're winning.

"The one thing about Blake that I know is that he doesn't change," his Head Coach Doug Marrone said recently. "He understands that as well as we all do that you are going to be judged on your performance, and we're going to have to go out there and play well. When we play well, there's going to be good things, and if we don't play well, then there's going to be bad things. That's just the nature of the sport that we play."

While Bortles was brought along in the league by Gus Bradley's mentoring, it's been the emphasis on winning and his developing relationship with now Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett that's helped bring the Jaguars to the AFC Championship game this Sunday.

"He does what it takes," wide receiver Marqise Lee said in front of his locker. "He needs to run, he'll run. He needs to scramble, he'll scramble. Whatever it takes, he'll do it. Throw it? He'll throw it, he's not afraid."

Under the scrutiny Bortles has been subjected to Lee said he'd have reacted differently.

"I'd have said something people wouldn't like," Marqise said with a wide-eyed grin. "I mean, I don't know how he puts up with it. I'd be completely different."

"Very impressed," is how the AFC Defensive Player of the Year Calais Campbell said when asked about the Jaguars quarterback. "Blake is a guy who loves the game of football. He comes to work every day focused and trying to better himself to help the team win. He doesn't get involved in all of that other stuff. He handles distractions well. He stays focused and keeps playing ball. As a teammate, you look for a guy who is going to keep fighting no matter what happens. During high and lows, he keeps staying even-keeled and doing his thing."

So how is it that the storyline this week is all about how Tom Brady is the greatest of all time and how Blake Bortles is somewhere closer to the other side of that spectrum?

Two weeks against Buffalo, the Jaguars staff knew Buffalo wasn't scoring many, if any points and their offensive game plan was mapped out accordingly. No early throws, no turnovers, win the game and advance. They thought it might be 17-6, and while it was 10-3, with the Bills only points coming in a drive where the Jaguars defense gave them 30 yards of unsportsmanlike penalties, the Jaguars plan kept the wraps on the passing game. But the storyline was: Bortles is terrible.

Against Pittsburgh they knew they needed to score some points and that's when the called on Bortles to get the ball downfield through the air. He responded. The storyline? Blake had a miraculous transformation.

"Did you see him check down to T.J.?" Lee queried about the critical 3rd down check-down completion to T.J. Yeldon in the fourth quarter. "His head was moving. Here? No. Here? No. Here? No. Then he found him. Who does that?"

It's that kind of respect Bortles craves. In conversation with anybody in the Jaguars locker room they'll all say the same thing: He's tough as nails.

Nobody's going to nickname him "Hollywood Blake." He's more comfortable in shorts and a hat, usually worn backwards than anything else. His reputation for socializing might be warranted but he's never been late, never missed a meeting, never been disciplined by the team.

He's just Blake. Teammate. And that's how he likes it.

Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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ARCHIVE of The College Weekly Report

01-14-2018 - Jaguars Come Alive, Upset Steelers, Head To AFC Title Game
01-13-2018 - Jaguars In Pittsburgh, All Business
01-11-2018 - Jaguars To Play Eagles In London
01-07-2018 - Jaguars Beat Buffalo With Defense,"Grit"
01-05-2018 - Khan, "I'm very, very bullish on Jacksonville."
01-03-2018 - Boselli, Dawkins Finalists For 2018 Hall Of Fame
01-01-2018 - Marrone's Routine Stays The Same
01-01-2018 - Jaguars Home, Have Already Moved On
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Look Ahead To Playoffs
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Limp Into Playoffs
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Win AFC South, Lose Game, Poise In SF
12-17-2017 - Jaguars Dominate Texans 45-7, Qualify For Post-season
12-10-2017 - Jaguars Make Big Statement Beating Seattle, 30-24
12-03-2017 - Jaguars Sweep Colts, Eye Post-season
11-28-2017 - Mullen Is The New Gators Head Coach
11-26-2017 - Jaguars Falter, Lose To AZ, 27-21
11-24-2017 - Boselli's Chances For The Hall? Pretty Good
11-22-2017 - Boselli, Dawkins, Butler Among Hall Of Fame Semifinalists
11-20-2017 - Jaguars Do Just Enough, Beat Browns 19-7
11-12-2017 - Unlike Previous Years, Jaguars Find A Way To Win 20-17 In OT
11-05-2017 - Back To Back And At Home, The Jaguars Look Legit
10-30-2017 - McElwain Departure "It's Never Pretty"
10-26-2017 - Telvin Smith New Deal: Worth Every Penny
10-18-2017 - NFL, Khan, Players and Protest
10-16-2017 - Inconsistent Again, Jaguars Lose To Rams
10-08-2017 - Jaguars Real Selves? Dominate Steelers 30-9
10-01-2017 - Jaguars Models Of Inconsistency, Fall To Jets In OT
09-24-2017 - Jaguars Kneel, Lock Arms With Khan In Show Of "Solidarity"
09-24-2017 - Jaguars Rout Ravens in London
09-24-2017 - Jaguars To Use "Home" Field Advantage vs. Ravens
09-22-2017 - Jaguars Say London Trip Is Pretty Routine
09-17-2017 - Jaguars 2017 Look Like Jaguars 2016 vs. Titans
09-13-2017 - Fournette Works In Relief Effort
09-13-2017 - Jaguars, Khan Help In Relief Effort
09-12-2017 - Jaguars Workout In Houston, Thinking Of Home
09-11-2017 - Jaguars Notes From Houston
09-10-2017 - Jaguars Don't Just Win, They Dominate Texans
09-01-2017 - Jaguars Decisions: Not Just "The 53"
08-23-2017 - Quarterback Decision Can Wait
08-18-2017 - Jaguars Step Backwards vs. Bucs
08-17-2017 - Jaguars Need A Big Step Forward vs. Bucs
08-10-2017 - Jaguars Better 1st Impression vs. Patriots
08-09-2017 - Bortles Better But Not Close To Brady
08-08-2017 - The PLAYERS In March Is The Right Fit
08-08-2017 - Jaguars/Patriots Practice: What It's Supposed To Look Like
08-07-2017 - Gipson Now Knows Tom Brady Is The Goat
08-05-2017 - Marrone's Jaguars Camp: Old Is New Again
07-28-2017 - Jaguars 2017: All About Blake
07-13-2017 - Kingfish Tournament Still Fishing
07-12-2017 - TPC Performance Center Will Make You Better
07-07-2017 - Players Is Big And Getting Bigger
06-29-2017 - Gators Baseball Win National Title
06-28-2017 - Gators Baseball National Champs
06-17-2017 - Bortles Knows This Is It
06-17-2017 - Marrone, Albert Lynchpins To Jaguars Success
06-10-2017 - Marrone Unimpressed In OTA's
05-24-2017 - Bortles On Being Bad, Better
05-15-2017 - Sunday Stroll For Si Woo Kim
05-12-2017 - Still Anybody's Tournament
05-11-2017 - Malik Jackson At The Players: "It's Pretty Dope"
05-10-2017 - Winning Score? TPC Stadium Is Firm And Fast
05-10-2017 - Sergio: Everybody's New Favorite
05-09b-2017 - THE PLAYERS In May Or March Is Still Huge
05-09-2017 - GJO To The Players Is A Long Trip
04-29-2017 - Jaguars Take "Bama OL In 2nd Round
04-28-2017 - Jaguars Take Fournette: "Physical"
04-27-2017 - Past Is Prologue For The Jaguars Draft
04-22-2017 - Jaguars Draft 2017: Take The Best Player
04-21-2017 - Nothing Good In The Jags 2017 Schedule
03-31-2017 - Mt. Acosta Classic Is Something Special
03-29-2017 - Marrone Looking For Competition, Consistency
03-28-2017 - Khan "Actions Speak Louder Than Words"
03-28-2017 - Coughlin "We Need A Culture Change"
03-26-2017 - NFL Owners Talk Player Safety, Shorter Games In Phoenix
03-19-2017 - Gators Swamp Virginia, Head To New York
03-19-2017 - FSU Can't Shoot, Loses To Xavier
03-14-2017 - DL3 In The HOF, Still Wants To Play
03-08-2017 - Jaguars Free-agency Preview: Plugging Holes
02-24-2017 - Shorter SpeedWeeks, Better Racing?
02-22-2017 - One Stop Sports Recovery (Now available to everybody)
02-07-2017 - The Case For Boselli In The Hall, And The Process It Entails
02-01-2017 - Coughlin Says Boselli "Should Be In The Hall Of Fame"
01-19-2017 - Hackett Stays As Jaguars OC
01-12-2017 - Coughlin, "Winning Is What It's All About"
01-11-2017 - Marrone Starts To Change The Staff
01-09-2017 - Marrone, Coughlin, Caldwell Try To "Fix" Jaguars
01-03-2017 - Boselli Makes Hall Of Fame Final 15
01-02-2017 - Jaguars To Compete For A Head Coach

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