Sportress of Blogitude

Patriots praise oft-criticized Blake Bortles, call Jags QB a ‘winner’

Blake Bortles has had his fair share of outspoken critics, and oftentimes, deservedly so. The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback has experienced far more valleys than peaks in his NFL career. That said, here Bortles is, leading his team into an unexpected showdown with the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Perhaps what is most surprising about the criticism of Bortles is how opponents have made it a habit this season of publicly calling out Bortles. Houston Texans superstar Jadeveon Clowney called Bortles “trash” (with humorous results). And there were other players, too, who made unflattering comments about Bortles this season.

Just don’t expect Patriots players to do the same ahead of Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium. Patriots safety Devin McCourty pointed out that all those trash-talkers who denigrated Bortles aren’t playing this weekend with a shot at the Super Bowl. Bortles is.

“All those guys that said that, I’m sure they want to be in his spot right now playing in the championship game,” McCourty said. “But I’ve seen some of his interviews, and he seems like he has a great attitude, laughing about it and cracking jokes. And I think you kind of see that out on the field — the guy is a winner.”

Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe echoed McCourty’s sentiment.

“The media and all the other team guys can talk about how ‘trash’ he is, but he’s beaten teams,” cornerback Eric Rowe said. “… You can’t be ‘trash’ and be in the championship game.”

Bortles earlier this week expressed appreciation for how teammates have had his back against all the haters. But if he’s anything like one teammate, he’s not about to buy into the Patriots’ flattery.