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Gus Bradley: Blake Bortles is everything we hoped for

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If the Jacksonville Jaguars had their druthers, Blake Bortles would have spent the majority of his rookie season watching Chad Henne take lumps behind one of the NFL's least effective offensive line.

Instead, Bortles showed enough early promise to earn 13 starts while absorbing 55 sacks and struggling to connect with a trio of rookie wide receivers.

Although Bortles understandably regressed after a promising preseason, coach Gus Bradley is excited for his quarterback's prospects going forward.

"He's everything we hoped for as far as mentality and competitiveness," Bradley said Tuesday, via the team's official website. "... I knew he was tough, but just how tough.

"And how fast he would take over the team. The team really gravitates toward him offensively, defensively and special teams-wise, and I didn't know it would happen that fast."

As we pointed out on the Around The NFL Podcast, Bortles has all of the tools to become an NFL star.

Along with the subpar support cast, the major culprit for Bortles' rookie-year regression was faulty mechanics. He won't meeting the coaching staff's expectations without fixing his footwork.

To that end he has been working with former Jaguars backup quarterback Jordan Palmer, who succeeding in temporarily streamlining Bortles' throwing motion last offseason.

Between Palmer's tinkering, a year of NFL experience for the greenhorn wide receiving corps and the additions of Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas and offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, the Jaguars are executing a plan to bring out the best in Bortles.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast unveils our annual division power rankings and welcomes Bucky Brooks back to the show. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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