It looks to be the end of the Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have decided to change the starting quarterback from the former first-round pick. And now, the reigns of field general is in the hands of Cody Kessler.
The Jaguars are desperate for any semblance of success in the passing game. And with the ineffectiveness of Bortles during the season as he posted mediocre statistics in his fifth season in the pros.
Jacksonville is trying to move on from this play that has them at an abysmal 3-8 record through the 2018 season after making the playoffs last year. And with this campaign essentially over with, it’s time for them to move on from the young quarterback.
However, it’s essential for them to look at the options they have on the roster especially with Kessler about to take over against the Colts this Sunday.
Here’s what to expect from Kessler as he makes his start against the Colts.
What to Expect from Kessler
The former Trojan is not a gunslinger by any means. He is a game manager or a “check-down artist” to put it in better terms. He won’t force passes and will look to keep the ball in the offense’s hands by not turning it over.
Pro Football Focus said it best when talking about his performance from his 2016 season with the Cleveland Browns.
Kessler has been what we thought he was coming out of USC. He’s a safe passer, ranking sixth in avoiding turnover-worthy plays, but he’s also not going to make plays down the field as he has the fourth-lowest percentage of big-time throws in the league. Kessler generally does a good job of avoiding negative plays, but the question now lies in how much that is worth going forward.
It will be a change of pace from Bortles’ turnover-proneness. However, it takes away from the threat of the deep ball that can stretch a defense. It’s a double-edged sword when taking into account Kessler’s different play style. But, it will help a team that is currently ranked third-worst in turnover differential with a -11.
Hopefully, this quarterback play is what is needed to get the Jaguars back on a productive path on offense.
Expect to see a lot of TJ Yeldon and Carlos Hyde used in this upcoming game. With no Leonard Fournette, the team should be utilizing a lot from these two both of them used in different ways.
Yeldon will be the designated check-down back on certain plays, and Hyde will be used in short-yardage situations. It will likely be a committee effort from these backs, but Kessler will need them in his first start of the season.
This will result in a lot more men in the box and forcing Kessler to throw it deep. However, the offense is likely going to go for screens and short-to-intermediate passes at most. Nothing too deep.
If the Jaguars can find success in Kessler’s conservative play, then they can expect a win. Especially if the defense does their job.