"When I left here, I was king of fat," he said.
When the 2014 season concluded, Bortles said he was around 250 pounds, but his work in the offseason has him down to 238 pounds.
Along with less wear and tear on his body, Bortles said he worked on his footwork to help alleviate stress on his arm.
"My arm kind of deteriorated at the end of the season," he said, per the Associated Press.
Despite the play of
"He's everything we hoped for as far as mentality and competitiveness," Bradley said Tuesday, via the team's official website. "... I knew he was tough, but just how tough.
"And how fast he would take over the team. The team really gravitates toward him offensively, defensively and special teams-wise, and I didn't know it would happen that fast."
Bortles, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, started 13 games last year, throwing for 2,908 yards with 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
"We’re really excited about him. I know there are some things he needs to work on and the growth that will take place from this year to next year, we’re all excited about. It’s great that he ended up playing [as many games as] he did. I think his mindset now is, ‘What can I do to get better?’ I know he has to understand defenses better but also his mechanics, he’s really diving into that this offseason. I just sense from him that he’s a guy that wants to take the next step and when he has confidence like that and it builds through the offseason, I think he’s going to take another step."
Jacksonville ranked last in scoring in 2013 with 15.4 points per game. The team is hoping that new coordinator Greg Olson can develop the strong-armed Bortles, who accounted for 2,908 yards, 11 touchdowns and 18 turnovers as a rookie.
"When a play does break down protection-wise and you have a guy that can go get yards, you don't want to discourage it," Olson said. "There is a time to make something to happen with your feet. For other quarterbacks, that's not part of their makeup. That's a strength of Blake's and we want him to continue to utilize that."
Bortles rushed 56 times for 419 yards, mostly on scrambles, and averaged 7.5 yards per carry. Olson wants to find a way to reduce the 55 sacks Bortles took in 14 games last year. Many of those came on plays in which Bortles held the ball too long.
"As we get better working in conjunction as an offense there should be less of those opportunities," Olson said. "Then, he can become more of a pocket passer. But, we never want to discourage him using his ability."
“I think he’s up to it and there will be some carryover from system to system in the passing game," Caldwell told the Florida Times-Union. "For the most part, he can start April 1 – he doesn’t have to wait until after the draft and catch up. He’ll be fine.”
Jacksonville hopes Olson can develop the strong-armed Bortles, who accounted for 11 touchdowns and 18 turnovers as a rookie.
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