JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Some die-hard Jacksonville Jaguars fans like Richard Lyons are still recovering from the 2016 nationally-televised loss to the arch-rival Tennessee Titans.
“From the quarterback play to the lack of effort to the coaching,” Lyons told First Coast News in October 2016. “I think all around you could say it was a miserable experience for me as a fan.”
Flash-forward nearly 10 months later, Thursday night’s preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t help.
“I did go to the game last night,” Lyons said on Thursday. Decked out in his jersey, he tried to watch the game from section 218. “I left at halftime because I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought we would see a good performance. Especially by the defense and special teams and at least the offense. Defense and special teams looked lack luster. You didn’t see any effort anywhere. I really need to see something next week.”
Lyons said he is trying to remain optimistic.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is our quarterback,” Lyons said. “I’m hoping Chad Henne gets the start and [we can] see what he has.”
Lyons, like lots of Jaguars fans believe the quarterback, Blake Bortles, is the problem.
“It has always been a problem,” said Denny Thompson, owner of 6Points, a quarterback training service. Thompson has experience with quarterbacks of all ages including current Buffalo Bills Nathan Peterman and current Bartram Trail player and Auburn-commit Joey Gatewood. “A lot of it has to do with the pressure right now. Everybody is looking at every single throw.”
Thompson sent out a tweet early Friday morning, hours after the Jaguars game ended, directed at Bortles. The tweet said: “My advice to @BBortles5 ... Call me, I gotcha Man! Got a spot we can train with no-one knowing and confident we can get this headed right.”
“I think it is 60 percent mental and 40 percent physical. Am I surprised he is having issues? No. Am I surprised of how big of an issue? Yes,” Thompson said. “Mechanics will always break down to a certain extent but you have to manage the breakdown.”
Bortles spent the off-season training in California to improve his passing mechanics. The goal was to clean up a long windup that hurt his accuracy. Thompson said the training helped, but isn’t sure if it will be enough.
“If I were advising Blake right now, I would stop worrying about the arm mechanic side of it," he said. "You’re not going to fix it right now because there is to many things going on. What he needs to work on is dealing with what he has got right now. He needs to work on linking up his upper body and lower body. He needs to get all the weight going in the same direction and you will see an improvement in the ball.”
Thompson believes Bortles might need a change of scenery.
“Now there is a big QB controversy and with that comes pressure," he said. "With pressure comes tightness and with tightness mechanics become harder.”
As for Lyons: “Every year we are let down. Could this be the year we believe the hype? Who knows. We will find out Week 1.”