Denver Broncos: Blake Bortles is not as bad as some make it seem
In the wake of the injury to Drew Lock, the Denver Broncos have signed Blake Bortles.
Bortles was once the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft and some had him pegged as the No.1 overall choice that year. After five seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bortles spent last season as a backup with the Los Angeles Rams.
The Broncos signed Bortles on Tuesday to be the team’s backup quarterback behind Jeff Driskel, leapfrogging Brett Rypien in the process. Bortles will join the team as soon as possible but it may be too soon for him to be in uniform for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the soonest he will be able to get through all of the COVID testing would be Friday.
As a result, Rypien may be called up from the practice squad.
Driskel made some plays in relief of Lock in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and nearly rallied the team to victory. But he also made some poor throws as well as throwing a pick.
Driskel is a backup quarterback. That’s what he is. The Broncos will now have to rely on him until they get Lock back… unless they turn to Bortles.
It wouldn’t be the worst decision. Many fans of the Broncos and of other teams around the league are going to scoff and laugh at this signing, suggesting that Bortles is a terrible player.
ESPN’s Max Kellerman has already taken the Broncos to task for bringing Bortles in over Colin Kaepernick.
But Bortles isn’t that bad.
Statistically, he has posted solid numbers. Though his 80.6 career quarterback rating could certainly be better, he has thrown for over 17,000 passing yards in his career to go along with 103 touchdowns. He can also get it done with his feet as he has over 1,700 career rushing yards with eight more touchdowns.
No, he is not a prolific passer, but he has some athleticism and he can make difficult throws. He also has experience on his resume, including playing in the AFC Championship Game and coming within an eyelash of taking his team to the Super Bowl.
To the detractors of Bortles, look, this guy played for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They were not exactly known for being an offensive juggernaut.
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Now sure, drafting Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft was obviously a bit high, but this guy knows how to make plays and win games at the professional level. Fans should really be giving this signing their stamp of approval, especially if he is just going to be the backup.
But there is plenty of reason to move him into the starting role. Driskel has been called upon to start games for other teams in the past and he has been on the losing side of almost every one of those starts.
He might be able to keep the boat afloat until Lock returns but personally, I’d rather give Bortles the chance to turn things around this season.
Driskel has been with the team and knows the playbook, so he should get the start in Week 3 and probably even Week 4. But if the Broncos are sitting at 0-4 at that time, which is a distinct possibility considering all of their injuries, it will hurt nothing to turn to Bortles.
Fans can call for guys like Kaepernick and wonder why the team would sign a guy like Bortles if they want, but in my opinion, he’s the best healthy quarterback on the roster right now.