Jaguars Defensive Tackle Says Blake Bortles Will Surprise People This Season

Malik Jackson has full confidence in Blake Bortles, even if others do not

Tiki and Tierney
October 30, 2018 - 7:45 am

USA Today Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars were perhaps the most surprising team in the NFL last season. They hadn't made the payoffs since 2007 but won the AFC South and reached the AFC Championship.

But can Blake Bortles actually lead this team to a Super Bowl?

“Of course,” Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson said on Tiki and Tierney. “We were so close last season. Everybody played a part in that loss; it wasn’t just him.”

Far from it. Bortles finished 23-of-36 for 293 yards and a touchdown in the 24-20 heartbreaker. Bortles, still only 26, enters his fifth season – and has perhaps the NFL’s best defense backing him up.

“I think he’s going to come out and surprise a lot of people,” Jackson said. “I think people have to understand that we’re not a team that’s going to drop back and pass 50 times. We have a great O-Line, we have a great running back, we’re going to ground-and-pound you and throw the ball when we can or when we want to. That’s the team that we are. 

“I understand the NFL has turned into a passing league,” Jackson continued. “I understand what this league is. But we’re not that conventional team. Blake will be the system guy that we need him to be, but I think he’s going to take us as far as we want him to go and that we need him to go. Luckily, we have a team where we don’t need him scoring 30 points a game.”

Or even 20, if you go by the numbers. The Jaguars allowed just 16.8 points per game last season – second only to Minnesota (15.8).

“Our defense is going to back him up,” Jackson said. “I think we’re going to play this as a team game. That’s what Coach Marrone preaches. We’re going to be hard, physical and play as a team. That’s just the way we win games. We don’t put nothing on one person’s back. . . . I don’t know why people keep questioning him because we went to the AFC Championship. We were one of the top four (teams in the league).”

The Jaguars open against the Giants this Sunday. Kickoff from East Rutherford is slated for 1 p.m. ET.