Patriots Reporter: Blake Bortles Not Elite

Bortles played the game of his life in the AFC Championship and doesn't scare the Patriots, Jim McBride said

September 14, 2018 - 8:30 am

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After a controversial offseason regarding Tom Brady’s lack of offensive weapons – as well as his reportedly fractured relationship with Bill Belichick – the Patriots beat the Texans 27-20 in Week 1, with Brady throwing for 277 yards and three scores and Rob Gronkowski catching seven balls for 123 yards and a score.

It was vintage New England. Right on cue. 

“The big talk all summer long was the lack of depth in the receiving corps, but if Tom is being Tom and Gronk is there and James White is there, they’re going to move the ball no matter who’s on the receiving depth chart,” Boston Globe Patriots writer Jim McBride said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Gronk is going to line up wherever the play tells him to. He’s going to be effective whether it’s inside or outside.”

And Brady and Belichick will just keep winning – regardless of how others perceive their relationship.

“There’s never a lack of storylines with this team,” McBride said. “I think the one that was so overblown this offseason was the cracks in the foundation of the Patriots’ dynasty and how Belichick wasn’t getting along with Tom and how Belichick wasn't getting along with Robert Kraft. I just never saw it. From someone who's down with that team every day – I’m at every practice, I’m at every availability – I just never saw it that way. When these guys are on the field together, whether it’s practice or a game, they’re singularly focused on winning. People love to hammer a winner, and they’ve been winning for 15 years pretty consistently. Someone is always going to be looking for something that, quite frankly, is not there.”

The Patriots have one of their toughest tests of the season this Sunday in Jacksonville. New England survived the Jaguars, 24-20, in the AFC Championship in January, with Jacksonville nearly pulling the upset.

The Jags will want revenge, no doubt.

“I thought Blake Bortles played the game of his life in that AFC Championship Game,” McBride said. “I don’t think he’s elite. He can still run the ball – he’s a very underrated athlete. But to say he puts the fear of God in anyone at this point, I would say no.”

Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.