Every writer who “makes it” in their profession is undoubtedly proud of themselves. They should be; journalism is a very competitive field and a cut-throat industry. Most people don’t make it. But those who do typically enjoy telling those just getting into it how they made it there. I know this because, like just about every journalism student, I have emailed people in the industry asking the very question of how they “made it.” All but maybe one or two have answered, happy to share. Every tale ends with words of encouragement.
But not from CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco. Pete is a different breed. Pete, in addition to having no idea what he’s talking about, has this narcissistic, spitting image of himself as the maxim of football thought. The president of the football cognoscente. Pete finishes first. After a shave, he looks himself in the eye for a stoic, satisfying few seconds before whispering, “You’re the bomb,” loud enough so he can hear himself but quiet enough that no one else can hear him because he’s secretly full of shame.
Tonight, Pete told me I was going to fail.
I obviously didn’t email Pete in the way I described above. I questioned a take of his. An asinine one at that. Maybe it was a little snarky, but Pete read it the way he wanted it to sound to him. Instead of responding and expanding on the take with perhaps an explanation, Pete, knowing nothing about me, tells me I will be unable to work hard, have the drive required to “make it,” and that I lack football smarts. I will not be fine, and I will fail.
Gee, thanks Pete. Tell me how you really feel.
I don’t know what he’s saying here. Is it the proverbial, often knee-jerk statement said by someone who doesn’t know what else to say, “take shots,” or is he saying to say things that are so completely unfounded and delusional that a sports radio show might talk about it, shit on you, invite you onto their show, shit on you on the show while you’re on the show, and then every time your name comes up reference the time you said something so stupid that it warranted an extensive amount of shitting on you, and have a sound drop ready of you saying something stupid.
I promise that wherever I end up I’ll never take something as silly as professional football as seriously at Pete Prisco does. It’s supposed to be fun Pete. Stop replying to everyone on Twitter and calling them morons and telling them they’ll fail. Doing that, you could actually go the rest of your life with everyone hating you. People like that are either insecure or they’re full of shame.
Continue if you’re here for football talk.
FOR ANYONE INTERESTED: Why I Thought Pete’s Take Was Weak.
The Jaguars offensive line is not built to pass block. It’s built to run block. I’m not saying “built” like the way some people will say something to make it sound like they know more than you but they actually just don’t have a point to make so they say something that sounds technically informed and can’t really be proven wrong.
Last offseason, the Jaguars intentionally built their offensive line this way. No one wrote about it, so it’s kind of an insider secret I dug up. This was for two reasons: there weren’t many great pass-blocking offensive lineman available in free agency (to justify paying the asking price – this is why Ereck Flowers had a job in 2017 – especially considering upcoming contract decisions the Jaguars had to make) or the draft, and Blake Bortles.
This is why the Jaguars drafted Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson last year; so they could scheme around Bortles. Robinson is a massive offensive tackle that, while the Jags knew he’d be a bit a project, would have a huge impact specifically in the run game. Aside from Brandon Lindler being one of the best centers in the NFL, the Jaguars don’t have a great offensive line. But they obviously got enough out of the o-line to make it to the AFC championship game and nearly beat the Patriots.
Fournette is a bruiser who typically will get a few yards. The play will go on just long enough for the blockers to hit the linebackers. The linebackers, mostly the young and/or inexperienced ones, then come to expect to be hit when a play that looks like a play they’ve been hit on all game unfolds in front of them.
That was the long way of explaining play action, a very simple concept that someone with the smallest degree of “football smarts” is very aware of.
The Jaguars offense in 2017 was built on using the run to set up the pass. Not every single one of those passes was play action, but most were either very short passes, rollout passes, screens, or play action passes. The Jaguars’ o-line can’t block long enough on plays that take time to develop, and even if they did create the time their quarterback might throw the ball into the 22nd row.
Letting Blake Bortles throw more on first down would’ve completely dismantled everything the team did to fix it’s offense. The offense would become ultra-predictable and the team wouldn’t be able to score. The egos on the defensive side of the ball big enough to be villains in Guardians of the Galaxy would inevitably turn on the offense, the locker room would fall into disarray, decisions would be made, and next thing you know Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center in Duval County.
As far as Blake’s contract goes: good for Blake. Love the guy. He did show a lot of growth as a player toward the end of the season and in the postseason, and this contract is the organization taking a chance on Bortles being able to perform better next season and turn on the jets down the line, while being able to invest in other parts of the roster.
I don’t like the idea of giving concrete predictions. Not out of fear of being wrong, but because I think it’s more worthwhile to outline the factors that could possibly make one outcome more likely than another, while not ruling out the other outcome. In this case, I think the situation around Blake is very strong. Noted Star Wars fan Nathaniel Hackett returns as OC, Allen Robinson is back from a torn ACL and will likely be re-signed or franchised, 4/5 starters on the o-line returning, defense should be just as good as it was last season, the Jaguars have the 11th-most cap room in the league, won’t be spending half of it on Kirk Cousins, and have the draft.
Now Blake Bortles just has to minimize mistakes, which he proved this season he can do. That’s not to say Bortles won’t make any mistakes in 2018. He may actually make more than last year since Darth Hackett will undoubtedly look to expand the offense at least a little given Bortles’ progression and the probable return of deep threat Allen Robinson.
So I’d say it’s more probable than not that 2018 Bortles will be at least 2017 Bortles, at times 2014-2016 Bortles, and at times may look like Blastbortles, assuming his current form is Warbortles. [niche reference to some, layup reference to others]
But throwing the ball on first down will have nothing to do with that, and anyone who’s at least a nut hair “football smart” knows that.