Earlier this week, the Packers added depth to their quarterback room when they signed Blake Bortles to a one-year deal. The former Jaguars first-round pick and starter spent the last two seasons as a backup with the Rams and the Broncos, and he will fight to reprise that role in Green Bay.
Coach Matt LaFleur apparently has faith that Bortles can do that. During the Packers’ rookie minicamp session Friday, he spoke well of Bortles and particularly lauded the 29-year-old’s five years of starting experience in Jacksonville.
“Shoot, he led his team to the AFC championship game [in 2017], and I mean, they were close to knocking off the Patriots in New England,” LaFleur said, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “He’s got a lot of experience, and that’s something that you can never take for granted.”
Bortles certainly has experience. He has made 73 regular-season starts and three postseason starts in his career. That said, Bortles has also completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. Even worse, he is 24-49 in the regular season as a starter (26-50 including the playoffs).
He posted just one winning season in those five years as a starter, and in that season, the ’17 campaign LaFleur referenced, the Jaguars had a top-two defense in terms of yards and points allowed. That helped to buoy the inconsistent Bortles.
As such, Bortles looks like only a backup-caliber signal-caller. That’s what Green Bay brought him in to be. The only question is whether he’ll be doing so behind Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love.
Rodgers and the Packers are mired in a dispute that could drag on throughout the offseason. Still, LaFleur reiterated that the Packers want the reigning NFL MVP to remain in Green Bay.
“We want him back in the worst way. I know he knows that, and we’ll continue to work at it each and every day,” LaFleur said.
If Rodgers doesn’t return, then Love and Bortles will comprise the Packers’ QB room. The prospect of going from an MVP to an unproven second-year player or NFL journeyman as the starter should be enough to make Packers fans feel uneasy.