Miami Dolphins Vs. Blake Bortles
By Brian Miller
For the 2nd week in a row the Miami Dolphins will play against an inexperienced quarterback. It’s a trend that will continue for most of the first six games. This weeks opponent is Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. Will the Dolphins fare better against this 2nd year QB or will they allow him the time to pick apart the defense and keep what is expected to be a Dolphins win, a close game?
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Throughout training camp, Bortles looked a lot better than he did last season. Taken 2nd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, Bortles has a long way to go before he is considered a true franchise quarterback but he does have the support of the teams owner and management team. For now. Last week Bortles completed 55% of his passes going 22 of 40 attempts. His quarterback rating was just 25.4% and while the threw one touchdown, he also threw two interceptions. One a pick six mid-way through the 3rd quarter when the team was trailing 10-9.
The Jaguars eventually lost last week to the Carolina Panthers by double digits. The Panthers have a solid linebacker group but their defensive line is not as strong as the one that the Jaguars will face this weekend with Miami. The Dolphins will also have a benefit that they didn’t have last weekend, Bortles doesn’t have a strong running back cast behind him like the Redskins did with Alfred Morris.
The Jaguars are starting rookie running back T.J. Yeldon who rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries. Overall, including Blake Bortles, the Jaguars rushed for 96 yards total.
Bortles is a young and promising quarterback but Jacksonville has been a team that seems to be constantly trying to rebuild it’s franchise. Head coaching changes, quarterback changes, wasted early draft picks, the Jaguars, like the Dolphins for many years, have been fighting for an identity. Bortles is just the latest quarterback in a long string of below average signal callers. Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne started prior to Bortles arrival and is now the teams back-up quarterback. Yes, Henne is still in the league.
This Sunday the onus will be once again placed on the shoulders of the Dolphins defensive line. Putting pressure on Bortles will make him throw the ball when he doesn’t want to. He has a young up and coming wide-receiver corp but for now they too are struggling to find the right chemistry. As Dolphins fans we know the position that the Jaguars are in. It’s a tough position.
Supporting Bortles is second year receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. Last week however it was rookie Reshad Greene who caught the most passes with seven. Both Hurns and Robinson are very promising but too many other problems are on the offense for Bortles to find consistency in getting the ball to them. Offensive line problems, lack of run support, and frankly, Bortles inexperience at this level.
The Dolphins face another game that they should win on Sunday the question is whether or not they play down to a team who they are better than or if they play to their potential. The Dolphins have a tendency not to put teams away and one thing we know from experience is giving a young quarterback the confidence that he can win, keeps games a lot closer than they need to be. The Dolphins have to strip away that confidence and not look ahead to a huge battle against the Bills the following week.