Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Bortles has been widely mocked and ridiculed over the past handful of seasons. And much of the criticism of the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback was arguably warranted, as he has struggled mightily more often than not.

But here the Jaguars are, set to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Some may argue that the Jaguars have a chance to reach the Super Bowl in spite of Bortles, not because of him. But it’s clear his teammates do not necessarily feel that way. And Bortles cannot overstate how much he appreciates how his teammates have defended him again and again amid heavy criticism coming from outside the organization.

“That type of stuff for me is big. I don’t care much about what is said outside our locker room,” Bortles said Wednesday, via Pro Football Talk. “What I care about is inside that locker room. Those are the opinions I care about. When other people say stuff, it doesn’t bother me. But to see guys in that locker room stand up for me and say stuff, it’s pretty cool,” Bortles said. “Because those are the opinions I value and the guys I want to impress and do well for.”

Bortles hasn’t exactly dazzled in the postseason, as he actually put up more rushing yards (88) than passing (87) in Jacksonville’s 10-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round. But the case can be made Bortles put in a clutch performance last Sunday when he led the Jags’ to a stunning 45-42 upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round.

The notion that Bortles is in the throes of a career redemption cannot be understated. And if he can somehow pull off another monumental upset by doing his part to upend the Patriots on Sunday? The litany of haters might have no choice but to eat their words.

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This article first appeared on Sportress of Blogitude and was syndicated with permission.

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QUIZ: Name every first round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Can you name every first round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL draft?

Clue: Draft Year-position-Pick

Score:
0/25
Time:
6:00
1995-T-2
Tony Boselli
1995-RB-19
James Stewart
1996-LB-2
Kevin Hardy
1997-DT-21
Renaldo Wynn
1998-RB-9
Fred Taylor
1998-S-25
Donovin Darius
1999-DB-26
Fernando Bryant
2000-WR-29
R. Jay Soward
2001-DT-13
Marcus Stroud
2002-DT-9
John Henderson
2003-QB-7
Byron Leftwich
2004-WR-9
Reggie Williams
2005-WR-21
Matt Jones
2006-TE-28
Marcedes Lewis
2007-DB-21
Reggie Nelson
2008-DE-8
Derrick Harvey
2009-DT-8
Eugene Monroe
2010-OT-10
Tyson Alualu
2011-QB-10
Blaine Gabbert
2012-WR-5
Justin Blackmon
2013-OT-2
Luke Joeckel
2014-QB-3
Blake Bortles
2015-DE-3
Dante Fowler, Jr.
2016-CB-5
Jalen Ramsey
2017-RB-4
Leonard Fournette
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