Blake Bortles’ NFL career is at a crossroads. The former No. 3 overall pick needs to sign with the Rams if he wants a chance at redemption.
At this precise moment in time, Blake Bortles is closer to being a starting quarterback in the AAF than the NFL. The Jaguars decision to release him does give him an opportunity to find a fresh start somewhere else. The best way for Bortles to revive his failing career is to sign with the Rams and learn under Sean McVay.
The good news for Bortles is that the Rams are interested in his services. They like him enough to bring him out to the West Coast for a visit. The former UCF star will spend time with McVay and the Rams on Monday.
Clearly, the Rams aren’t interested in signing Bortles to replace Jared Goff. Instead, they want him to be an upgrade over Brandon Allen as their backup quarterback. Earning a second-string job for a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations represents the best case for Bortles at this juncture of his career.
The opportunity with the Rams is much greater than getting the chance to hold a clip board while Goff leads the offense to Super Bowl glory. McVay is arguably the best offensive coach in the NFL. He’s already proven he is capable of turning a quarterback’s career around. It’s easy to forget how awful Goff was in his rookie season before McVay arrived. The fact that McVay was able to coach Goff into becoming a Pro Bowl quarterback should give Bortles a lot of hope.
It’s not as if Bortles is entirely devoid of talent. His film shows that he has more than enough arm strength to be a starter in the NFL. There are, however, legitimate questions about his accuracy and decision-making. McVay can help him with both things.
The first thing he can do for Bortles is to clean up his mechanics. In Jacksonville he really struggled with his footwork. Misplaced steps lead to errant throws. If Bortles can become more consistent with his sets, it’s very likely his accuracy will improve significantly.
The decision-making may be more challenging to fix. Bortles has already started 73 games in the NFL. The chances that he’s going to suddenly become an excellent reader of opposing defenses at this point in his career are pretty low.
McVay’s scheme can help in this regard though. The Rams feature a passing game that relies heavily on play action. Typically, those reads are much easier for quarterbacks to execute at a high level. That’s one reason why Goff’s statistics have taken such a giant leap forward. McVay and his coaching staff don’t ask him to make a ton of complicated reads against defenses that are fully set up to defend the pass.
The team that Bortles signs with this offseason will have a great influence over whether or not he ever gets the chance to become an NFL starter again. Signing with the Rams won’t assure him of that opportunity, but they’ll give him the best odds to get his career back on track.