Coach Bill Belichick told reporters this week that he's studied "well over half" of Jacksonville's games from last season, spending plenty of time on their young quarterback, Blake Bortles.
Asked by a reporter if Bortles reminds him of Ben Roethlisberger -- the common comparison -- Belichick pointed to a different passer altogether.
"I think Bortles looks pretty fast, kind of like (Buffalo's Tyrod) Taylor," said Belichick, per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. "He's got a couple 30-yard gains and that kind of thing. He's pretty dangerous to just take off and run and can get a lot of yardage. His athleticism can buy time in the pocket. He's a good passer. But I'd say he's probably a little bit more of a threat to run with the ball than Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger is probably more apt to buy extra time to watch the play extend and then hit somebody down the field, that type of thing."
Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia echoed his head coach, talking about the problems Bortles creates with his feet.
"He's a big guy in the pocket, but he is a very athletic guy. He's a guy that can run, he's a guy that can scramble, he's a guy that can extend plays," Patricia said. "You see it a lot, especially on third down, where he can maybe slip out of the pass rush and either extend the play and get the ball downfield or just take off and run, which he obviously has the ability to do that, too. You can see that where they mix in a little bit on the early downs with the quarterback read-option type of plays, and you can see his ability to run, his athleticism there in that situation also."
Bortles was erratic last season, but his play is on the uptick. After throwing eight touchdowns and 15 picks over his first seven games, the first-rounder has thrown six scores and four interceptions over his last seven outings.
The problem for Bortles has been an offensive line that gave up four-plus sacks in eight straight games before relinquishing zero last week in a win over the Dolphins. The result was a fine game for Bortles, who registered a passer rating above 100 for the first time in his career and sliced through Miami for 273 yards and two scores.
Bortles is still completing just 54.8 percent of his passes this season, but the Jaguars, without question, have a young signal-caller to build around. His massive frame, big arm and pro-ready traits are all plusses for a team searching for long-lost success in the AFC South.