If Tom Coughlin is excited about the fact that Blake Bortles is Jacksonvilleâs starting quarterback, he definitely has an odd way of showing it.
During a news conference Friday, Coughlin was asked directly if he was âcommitted to [Bortles] as the starter,â and letâs just say he didnât answer with a resounding yes.
âWell, thereâs plenty of work for everybody to do, Blake included,â Coughlin said, via the Jaguarsâ official website. âTo raise the game to a higher level, it takes all components, though, as well. ... People being in the right place at the right time, the timing, taking care of the football, which is paramount to that position.â
Bortles has been a turnover machine since 2014, when the Jaguars selected him with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft. Bortles has led the league in picks once (2015) and finished in the top four during his other two seasons.
Overall, Bortles has turned the ball over 63 times since his rookie year (51 interceptions, 12 lost fumbles), which leads the NFL over that span. The ugliest part about Bortlesâ interception total is that it includes 11 pick-sixes, which means heâs basically giving free points to the opposition.
âThere can be no way the ball is turned over to that extent,â Coughlin said. âI think heâd be the first one to say that he has a lot of work to do, but we all have a lot of work to do, so Iâm going to put it that way.â
The fact that Coughlin is noncommittal about Bortlesâ future in Jacksonville isnât a complete surprise. Days before he that Coughlin wasnât a âbig fanâ of Bortles.the Jaguarsâ role of executive vice president of football operations, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported
In January, when Coughlin was introduced by the Jaguars after being hired, he held a news conference where he gave an endorsement of Bortles that wasnât exactly ringing.
Inspiring words today from Jags EVP & famed coaching scout who got Marrone hired: Tom Coughlin. 4th season of Blake Bortles incoming pic.twitter.com/kN7aE1kuaJ— Awful White QBs (@AwfulWhiteQBs) January 12, 2017
The reason Coughlinâs noncommittal answer is a big deal is because the Jaguars only have until May to decide if they want to keep Bortles for an extra year, because thatâs when they have to make a decision on his fifth-year team option thatâs included with all first-round rookie deals.
If the Jags decide to exercise the option, that means that roughly $19 million would instantly become guaranteed for injury for the 2018 season, meaning if Bortles got hurt in 2017, the Jags would have to pay him $19 million in 2018 no matter what. Thatâs a lot of money to invest in a quarterback when youâre not even sure you want him to be your quarterback.
If Bortles is going to stay in Jacksonville, it sounds like new coach Doug Marrone is going to have to convince Coughlin that the 24-year-old is definitely the quarterback of the Jaguarsâ future.