The former Central Florida standout looked poised and confident in his first action in the simulated-game atmosphere, completing 9 of 13 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. He was victimized by one drop and had another pass batted down at the line of scrimmage.
"I think it was all right," Bortles said of his performance. "I could have done a lot of things better. That’s part of it -- learn from my mistakes and try to improve."
But Bortles did better than all right on his second possession, flashing some of the ability that made him the third overall pick in the draft. On first down from his own 2-yard line, Bortles lofted a pass down the left sideline to Mike Brown, dropping it over the defensive back for a 25-yard gain.
He also had an 11-yard hookup with Brown later on the drive. Cornerback Mike Harris had coverage on Brown, but Bortles threw Brown open with a back-shoulder throw.
The sideline pass to Brown that got Bradley excited.
"That throw that he had out of the end zone, the side pocket, beautiful throw," Bradley gushed. "Great throw."
Bortles’ 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end D.J. Tialavea during red-zone work was an example of his growing poise. Bortles rolled right and had tight end Reggie Jordan open at the goal line and could have had a touchdown had he thrown the ball right away, but he hesitated a second, and by that time, a defender had closed.
Bortles kept moving and noticed Tialavea had slid behind the linebacker into an open spot and it was an easy completion for the only passing touchdown of the scrimmage.
There were negative plays, too. There was a sack in which he held the ball too long. He called the wrong protections on a couple plays, and he hesitated on a deep pass that was nearly intercepted by safety Sherrod Martin. But he made the correct reads and didn’t make the big mistake.
"I thought he did a good job," said starter Chad Henne, who completed 14 of 22 passes for 75 yards. "All his reads were correct, going to the right places with the ball, and that’s all you want with a young guy: Make sure that the ball’s going to the right place and making good decisions out there."
Bortles has been doing that for much of camp, Bradley said, which is a sign of progress in his development as the Jaguars’ quarterback of the future.
"The consistency, he’s starting to get it," Bradley said. "So that’s good."