Marcedes Lewis on Blake Bortles, Jaguars' 2017 season

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Marcedes Lewis

Tight end, Jacksonville Jaguars

Born: May 19, 1984

Experience: 11 NFL seasons

Interview by Lakisha Jackson | June 22, 2017

I just see that I'll probably have more targets this year [after Julius Thomas' exit]. I think that my workload in general won't change because I started every game last year anyway. I think just the bulk of the targets that actually go to the tight end group, I'll be getting a bulk of those targets.

That's been my role for the last five years, you know what I mean? Obviously, with the other tight ends coming in, my job is to show them the way [and] lead by example. I'm fortunate enough to have a good group of men coming into the room. It's not a bunch of guys that you know can't take constructive criticism or guys that think they know it all.

I think it's important to go out there and understand that your road to success is always under construction. You always have to be working on whatever your weaknesses are. I'm pretty sure [Blake Bortles is] aware of his. I don't scout talent, so based on our conversations and what he wants to get better at, I know that it's in the front of his mind and he will get better at that.

Of course, [Bortles can redeem his career]. He's young. Like I was saying earlier, if you're blessed enough to play a long time in this league, you gonna have two or three years that are not your best years. Honestly, nobody cares what you did the year before. It's all about what you're going to do this year. My job for [Bortles], from a psychological stand point, is to keep his head up. Me being a veteran, I've been there. I've had years where I've been like, "Eh, I'll rather take that one back," but if you let that defeat you and let the people that don't put in the work with you defeat you, then you become exactly what they want you to become. And I don't think that's who he is.

Originally, when we drafted [Leonard Fournette], I thought he was going to be one of those guys that really would show up when we put pads on, but this guy is fast. He's big, has good footwork and great vision, and he's doing all of that without even having pads on. And you know what type of runner he is when he does have pads on.

I think we have a great scheme in place for him to come in and just plug and play. And I think he's going to fit great with our offense. He brings back that old-school feel, like back when we had Fred Taylor, and we were able to run the ball, possess the ball, play-action pass, take shots down the field. It's going to help Blake, so I'm looking forward to that.

Me and [OC Nathaniel Hackett] are really good friends. Even when he was just a quarterbacks coach before he took over [as offensive coordinator] halfway through last season, I was one of the guys that was in his corner. And I love the way he teaches, the way he installs the plays and he actually cares about the players. I think, you know, it means something to him for us to be able to go out there and run his offense and do it with ease and own it. Our relationship is really good. I think it's going to be good for the team.

I don't like making predictions, I just don't. I don't really believe in it. I think that the last two or three years we've won the offseason. I feel like we've put ourselves in the position to go out there and do some good things, but for one reason or another we haven't been able to. So, I'm not going to sit here and say, "Oh, you guys should get your popcorn and get ready to watch this whole show." I don't want to do that. I just know that the product that we're putting out there this year is going to be better than the product we put out there the last two years.

[Calais Campbell is] a beast. He's a leader.

[Campbell's] going to be huge [for our defense]. He's a veteran guy coming in here poised -- [and] he's made it later in the season, playoffs, all that. So he knows what it's going to take on that side of the ball. So it's already been really dope going against him in practice, OTAs and minicamp. It's only going to get better. I think that whenever you can put veterans on the team like this were guys are really looking for leadership on either side of the ball is big.

Before a game, I'm pretty relaxed. I'm pretty chill. By nature, I'm not necessarily a rah-rah guy, like energetic guy. I'm more like cool and laid back 'cause that's how I play my best, and I think that kind of rubs off on the guys. Like you know when we go out there and get ready for pregame, there's a lot of wide eyes. There's a lot of anxiety and I'm the guy that's like, "Yo, relax. It's only a game." I think that approach is good for some of our players and you know, obviously, some of the guys like to be turnt up. But I'm not that guy.

I'm not a prankster, but I'm probably one of the funniest. I'm more sarcastic, though, like just timing, deliver jokes, you know what I mean. A lot of our pranksters got out of [our locker room]. There were a lot of the older guys that got out of [here] the last couple of years. We've got a young team, so we're still trying to figure out who's who.

Not yet. Not yet. That's coming in like four weeks. I'm not a big hazer, like I don't believe in that. I don't like taking confidence from the guys that are supposed to help us win. I'll think of something. I'll probably hide some keys, fill somebody's car up with popcorn, I'll figure something out.

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