Jaguars GM Caldwell Says QB Bortles Suffered From “Dead Arm” Last Season

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans

The Jaguars are expecting quarterback Blake Bortles to make a significant jump in his second year, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports.

For all the focus on fixing the deteriorating mechanics that plagued the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback, who threw 17 interceptions and took 55 sacks in his trying rookie season, the shoulder problems that increasingly threw things out of whack down the stretch in 2014 shouldn’t be overlooked.

But the way Bortles came through it all mentally seems to have only strengthened the team’s resolve that their surprise decision to draft him third overall was the right one.

“People don’t realize that as you look later in the season, he was on injury report,” general manager Dave Caldwell said after the team wrapped up its offseason program last month.

“You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do to survive. It wasn’t anything that was ingrained in him (mechanically). He knew he was doing it. But in order to drive the ball 15 yards, there were some things that he needed to do to get the velocity on the ball.”

Bortles’ shoulder didn’t require surgery, said Caldwell, who referred to it as a “dead arm” suffering from inflammation, forcing a reduction in practice reps after roughly 17 months straight of throwing through the quarterback’s last year at Central Florida, the pre-draft process and his first NFL season.

A toe injury suffered in a December loss to the Baltimore Ravens exacerbated things by disrupting Bortles’ footwork but didn’t stop him from making a start four days later against the Tennessee Titans (one of the Jaguars’ three wins).

“We wanted a guy that played with no fear, was very aggressive in his mindset and (had a) very strong mindset,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “To go through a season like that … that would affect quite a few people. But he took on all those challenges, and he didn’t flinch.”

Bortles’ health wasn’t solely to blame for his struggles. He even downplays the injuries’ impact, saying he “wouldn’t blame anything on it. I was fine to play” — not that the Jaguars would expect the laid back 23-year-old from nearby Oviedo, Fla., to say anything else. It hasn’t done much to slow Bortles’ work this offseason, either.

After giving the arm some rest, he traveled to California for a week that turned into two months of rebuilding his mechanics with noted quarterback whisperer Tom House. Bortles also put in time with free agent Jordan Palmer, who trained him for his pro day last year.

Caldwell said those sessions made a tangible impact on how Bortles is throwing the ball. Bortles hopes tightening his motion and learning how to better use his whole body can help him keep his arm healthy, too.

“We know, come game day, he can do the stuff — the off-schedule things, the out-of-the-pocket stuff — that’s part of the reason we drafted him,” Caldwell said. “But now that this is looking the way it’s supposed to, it’s encouraging.”

In 14 games (13 starts), Bortles threw for just 11 touchdowns. His 69.5 passer rating was the worst among QBs with at least 150 attempts. He cracked 200 yards passing just twice in his last six starts — a stretch that coincided with the loss of his favorite target, Robinson, to a broken foot.

Asked if it was a good thing he played at all, Bortles answered, “Yeah. I learned a ton. … For me, it was good to get out there and kind of take live bullets and learn on the go and figure things out as they came.”

Of course, attacking NFL defenses late in the season should be far easier with a live arm.

“A lot of it was good until some of those (injuries) happen,” said Caldwell. “Now he’s gotten healthy, and he’s gotten back to really taking care of his body. I just asked him today, ‘How’s your body feel compared to this time last year?’

“He said it’s night and day, man.”

Jaguars Lose Top Draft Pick Dante Fowler To Torn ACL

NFL Draft

Dante Fowler Jr., the Jaguars No. 3 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2015 NFL Draft, sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the team’s first rookie minicamp practice Friday, the team confirmed. He is expected to miss the 2015 season.

Fowler, who played collegiately at the University of Florida, went down holding his left knee during a team drill midway through the practice at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. He was rushing the passer in a team drill, and though he was being blocked by tryout right tackle Watts Dantzler, there didn’t appear to be significant contact between the players.

Fowler, who had been working early in practice at the team’s Leo pass rusher positon – the position the team expects him to play in Bradley’s defense – left the field with the help of trainers. He did not appear to be putting significant weight on the leg.

Trainers attended to Fowler before he was taken inside EverBank Field – which is adjacent to the team’s practice fields – on a cart.

Jaguars Select Ohio State DT Michael Bennett in 6th Round

Ohio State Buckeyes v Indiana Hoosiers11-23-2013

The Jaguars have selected Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett in the sixth round of the NFL draft.

The Jaguars took Bennett with the 180th overall pick, getting a productive college player who should provide depth along the D-line.

Jacksonville will be without starting defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks for at least the beginning of training camp. Marks tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the season finale and is working to return this fall.

The 6-foot-2, 288-pound Bennett started every game the last two seasons for the Buckeyes. He is the second defensive linemen selected by the Jaguars in the draft, joining Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. Jacksonville chose Fowler with the third overall pick Thursday night.

With the NFL Draft complete, it’s now up to Jaguars fans to do their part by showing up games at home or on the road. can be any fans No. 1 travel resource, with flights to and from Jacksonville, as well as hotels in any major city near any stadium, including four Jacksonville hotel options under $70 per night.

Jaguars Take DL/OLB Done Fowler Jr. With Third Pick of NFL Draft

2015 NFL Scouting Combine

The Jags went big on their defensive line on Thursday with the third overall pick, taking Done Fowler Jr., a guy who lines up at defensive end, but can really play a number of positions.

As Jon Gruden said – ‘he’s a long armed freak show.’

Let’s hope. Here’s a scouting report on Fowler.

Coming out of St. Petersburg, Florida, Fowler joined the Gators as a top recruit for Will Muschamp. Fowler was expected to star in the same role in Muschamp’s defense that had previously produced the likes of Brian Orakpo and Sergio Kindle. Fowler lived up the billing as he turned into a dynamite player for the Gators.

Fowler was a First-Team All-SEC Freshman-Team selection in 2012 even though he was a backup. Fowler recorded 47 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks that year. Fowler won a starting job as a sophomore and flashed the ability to be special. He racked up 50 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one pass batted and three forced fumbles for 2013. Fowler played well against good competition, but his first year as a full-time player displayed some bouts of inconsistency.

Fowler took his game to another level in 2014 as he totaled 60 tackles with 8.5 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, one pass broken up and a forced fumble. The junior killed East Carolina’s offensive tackles in bowl season as he recorded three sacks and put quarterback Shane Carden into the turf roughly. Fowler had four tackles with a sack against Florida State to close out the regular season. He also made big impacts against Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU. Fowler fought through some double-teams in 2014 and showed a consistent motor.

At the Combine, Fowler was excellent. He ran very well with a 4.61-second time in the 40-yard dash. Fowler also had one of the fastest times in the first 10 yards of any front seven defender at 1.59 seconds. In the field drills, he displayed quick feet and athleticism.

Fowler looks like he has the potential to become a double-digit sack-artist in the NFL. He is very fast and athletic off the edge. Fowler beats tackles around the corner with his speed and will dart back to the inside or use a spin move. He also is tough. Fowler has some shock to his hands and uses them to shed blocks and bull rush effectively on occasion. Fowler is a versatile edge rusher who can rush standing up, putting his hand in the ground, or moving over the interior linemen. Florida moved him all over the front seven, and he was tough for offensive linemen to block.

Fowler is physical with blockers while being an occasionally violent hitter. Routinely, he would put quarterbacks and running backs into the turf hard while showing the ability to make some momentum-changing plays.

2015 NFL Draft: Jaguars prospect Randy Gregory failed drug test


With the NFL Draft closing in, one player that teams, including the Jaguars, are going to have to make sure they do their research on is former Nebraska star and top NFL draft prospect Randy Gregory, who tested positive for marijuana at February’s combine. Find out what Should NFL Betting Fans Expect for this 2015 season at

Gregory made a rather startling admission to the NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones, stating that it’s not an issue in his live, and not even a struggle.

“I don’t wake up every day saying, I’d really love to go smoke. It’s not a struggle for me every day [now], it really isn’t. In the past, hell yeah, it’s been a struggle. It really has been. Now, I’m focused on my dream.”

The Jaguars have to be careful, but at the same time they should remember that it was back in 2007 that Lions top WR Calvin Johnson admitted to marijuana use, and overall was the third pick in the draft by the Lions – and look how that’s worked out.

Justin Houston tested positive for marijuana at the combine, and wound up all the way at 70, he’s made teams wish they had taken him and not focus in on the marijuana use.

The last time the Jaguars did take a player with off field issues, it blew up in their face, as WR Justin Blackmon came into the draft with a prior DUI arrest, and he did nothing but become a bust for the team.

Gregory is a player that if he plays like he did in college can be a huge asset to a Jaguars team that needs help on their defensive line. He’s got to make amends, and talking on NFL Network swayed some opinions on him for his honesty in the situation.

“I was worse at Nebraska than I’ve ever been at any other time of my life,” Gregory told NFL Network. “But I know how I am now. I think if teams really look at how I am now more so than the past, they’ll see I’m making strides to get better, as a person and as a player. …

“At the end of the day, it was my fault. I was being selfish. I was being stubborn. I felt like I could do things my way and it would work. And it didn’t work.”

Because of the failed test, he’ll start his career in Stage 1 of the league’s substance-abuse program. Another violation would push him to Stage 2, which carries with it the penalty of a fine and a four-game suspension.

If he’s worth the risk or not is what the Jaguars have to decide. For now, at least they know what they are getting into if they do take him.

Jaguars Land Top Free Agent TE Julius Thomas


Former Broncos tight end Julius Thomas has signed a five-year contract worth $46 million with the Jaguars.

The deal includes $24 million guaranteed.

The Jaguars also are expected to sign Miami defensive end Jared Odrick, Dallas right tackle Jermey Parnell, Green Bay cornerback Davon House, San Francisco linebacker Dan Skuta and Indianapolis free safety Sergio Brown on Wednesday. All six free agents are scheduled to be at an afternoon news conference at EverBank Field.

Jacksonville, which went 9-39 the last three years, had nearly $70 million in salary cap space and planned to spend big in free agency.

Thomas was the most significant addition, giving second-year quarterback Blake Bortles a reliable option to work the middle of the field.

Jaguars to Hire Greg Olson as New Offensive Coordinator


The Jaguars are hiring Greg Olson to be their offensive coordinator according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

Olson spent the last two seasons with the Raiders. Olson will replace Jedd Fisch, who was fired after the Jags finished last in scoring the past two seasons.

Olson served as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for the Jaguars in 2012, overseeing the duo of Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne.

Prior to joining the Jaguars, Olson served four seasons with the Buccaneers including the last three as offensive coordinator. He spent the 2008 season as quarterbacks coach where he worked with Josh Freeman.

Titans vs Jaguars Wednesday Injury Report

(Tennessee did not conduct a practice on Monday. The Monday practice report is an estimation.)

Status Report

OUT RB Dexter McCluster (knee)
DOUBTFUL T Taylor Lewan (ankle), QB Zach Mettenberger (right shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE LB Zaviar Gooden (hamstring), T Byron Stingily (ankle), TE Delanie Walker (knee), LB Kamerion Wimbley (hamstring), WR Kendall Wright (hand)
PROBABLE S Daimion Stafford (concussion)
Practice Report
Monday TE Brett Brackett (knee), T Taylor Lewan (ankle), QB Jake Locker (left shoulder), RB Dexter McCluster (knee), QB Zach Mettenberger (right shoulder)
Tuesday TE Brett Brackett (knee), T Taylor Lewan (ankle), RB Dexter McCluster (knee), QB Zach Mettenberger (right shoulder)
Wednesday T Taylor Lewan (ankle), RB Dexter McCluster (knee), QB Zach Mettenberger (right shoulder)
Monday LB Zaviar Gooden (hamstring), T Byron Stingily (ankle), TE Delanie Walker (knee), LB Kamerion Wimbley (hamstring), WR Kendall Wright (hand)
Tuesday LB Zaviar Gooden (hamstring), T Byron Stingily (ankle), TE Delanie Walker (knee), LB Kamerion Wimbley (hamstring), WR Kendall Wright (hand)
Wednesday LB Zaviar Gooden (hamstring), T Byron Stingily (ankle), TE Delanie Walker (knee), LB Kamerion Wimbley (hamstring), WR Kendall Wright (hand)
Monday S Daimion Stafford (concussion)
Tuesday S Daimion Stafford (concussion)
Wednesday S Daimion Stafford (concussion)
(Jacksonville did not conduct practice on Monday or Tuesday. The Monday and Tuesday practice reports are estimations.)
Status Report
OUT DE Andre Branch (groin), LB Khairi Fortt (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE QB Blake Bortles (foot), DE Ryan Davis (hip), S Josh Evans (foot), DT Roy Miller (knee), WR Tommy Streeter (abdomen)
PROBABLE DE Chris Clemons (knee), WR Marqise Lee (elbow)
Practice Report
Monday QB Blake Bortles (foot), DE Andre Branch (groin), DE Ryan Davis (hip), S Josh Evans (foot), LB Khairi Fortt (hamstring), DT Roy Miller (knee), WR Tommy Streeter (abdomen)
Tuesday DE Andre Branch (groin), LB Khairi Fortt (hamstring), DT Roy Miller (knee)
Wednesday DE Andre Branch (groin), LB Khairi Fortt (hamstring), DT Roy Miller (knee)
Tuesday QB Blake Bortles (foot), DE Ryan Davis (hip), S Josh Evans (foot), WR Tommy Streeter (abdomen)
Wednesday QB Blake Bortles (foot), DE Ryan Davis (hip), S Josh Evans (foot), WR Tommy Streeter (abdomen)
Monday DE Chris Clemons (knee), WR Marqise Lee (elbow)
Tuesday DE Chris Clemons (knee), WR Marqise Lee (elbow)
Wednesday DE Chris Clemons (knee), WR Marqise Lee (elbow)
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