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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, August 18, 2017 at 12:00 PM

It’s time for the Jacksonville Jaguars to accept that Blake Bortles is not destined to be a winning quarterback in the NFL. His “quarterback record” is 3-10, 5-11, and 3-13 throughout his three-year career. He currently appears to be regressing rather than getting better with age. A real-world dynamic with young quarterbacks is that they often improve in their first one or two seasons, only to see opposing defenses adjust to their tendencies to completely neutralized. The Jaguars are 11-34 with Bortles, and he might be getting worse!

Or, he may be dealing with an injury he doesn’t want to tell anybody about given the softness and poor accuracy of this throws this summer. Plus, his teammates have given up on him. You probably saw clips from practices earlier this week where his receivers were complaining about how bad his throws were.

Patience has run out in Jacksonville, whether you’re talking about the fans, management, or Bortles’ teammates. That was as obvious as could be Thursday night during a 12-6 home loss to Tampa Bay that you might have watched on ESPN. The crowd was booing. Body language on teammates (particularly starters) was very poor. Luckily some new faces in the front office aren’t burdened by the old stubbornness to keep him in the lineup. Yes, Jaguars…you just flushed three years down the toilet because you gambled and lost on the wrong college quarterback. Time to accept it and move on rather than wasting a FOURTH season.

Jacksonville isn’t the only team in this boat heading into 2017. My lesson for you today here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting involves the reality that there just aren’t enough good quarterbacks to go around. One has to be a true superstar at that position to thrive in this league because the demands are so great. There aren’t 32 players in the NBA as good as LeBron James or Steph Curry. There aren’t 32 players in the NFL who can consistently lead their offenses to the end zone.

With that in mind, your assignment this weekend is to evaluate which teams are:

*Fine at quarterback because they have a proven winner

*Getting creative about dealing with a middling talent (or worse)

*In huge trouble because they don’t have a winner and aren’t creative

The Denver Broncos won a Super Bowl recently with a virtually helpless quarterback in Peyton Manning. He could barely throw the ball. He had no ability to scramble. Yet, Denver was smart enough to take what he could still do and fit it into an overall team approach that also featured fantastic defense and running backs who could help with clock management and moving the chains. IT CAN BE DONE!

Your ability to pick winners this season in pro football will very much hinge on your read of quarterback skill sets. That’s always been true. It’s now more important than ever because defenses are aggressive, sophisticated, and less vulnerable to injuries because no one position on that side of the field is as important as quarterback or lead receiver.

New England is a prohibitive market favorite, amidst media chatter about going 16-0, because Tom Brady is so much better than almost everybody else even at the age of 40. Defenses haven’t yet solved the riddle of Bill Belichick’s offense, or figured out a way to slow down Brady’s decision-making capabilities. The handful of true threats to the Patriots winning another Lombardi Trophy all involve proven quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson. They give defenses headaches.

Watch as many Preseason games as you can this weekend to learn what’s happening with everyone else. Maybe rate each projected starting quarterback on a scale of 1-10. Maybe you can use letter grades like a report card. Whatever you’re most comfortable with. But, you need to approach every game you handicap in the regular season (and probably next week’s exhibition dress rehearsals”) with peak attention paid to PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS at the quarterback position. Then you need to recognize which of “the rest” are making up for the absence of an impact quarterback with creativity and defense.

Can the Houston Texans follow the Denver Broncos model of going all the way mostly with defense? What about Minnesota over in the NFC? Get it figured out NOW so you can pick winners against a slow-to-react market.

If you’d like some help finding smart bets in pro and college football through the season, KELSO STURGEON’S BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages (I also release baseball selections) can be answered in the Vegas Sports Masters office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155, or on weekends before the first games get started.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance and attention. I’ll be back with you again early next week to talk more football. You can be sure that dress rehearsal weekend will be a top priority for coursework as we get ready for the regular season. The summer continues to fly by. It just few by a bunch of bettors who are less committed than you to doing the hard work. They’ll be losing money this September. You’ll be reaping the rewards of smart preparation.

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