Bouye’s message to Bortles: ‘Just do your best and we all got your back’

They were college teammates, they were NFL opponents. Now, they’re reunited again, as members of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

So it’s fair to say that cornerback A.J. Bouye, a University of Central Florida product who joined the Jaguars as a free agent after spending the past four seasons with the Houston Texans, knows a thing or two about quarterback Blake Bortles. And, as Bouye explained to Bruce Murray and Maurice Jones-Drew on the SiriusXM Blitz, he had a message for him shortly after the Jaguars picked up the fifth-year option of the contract Bortles signed as a rookie in 2014.

‘Just tune out the outside noise’

“‘Just tune out the outside noise. Just win the team’s trust, focus on yourself, just be a great teammate, just keep improving. At the end of the day, you’re going to be our quarterback, so just do your best and we all got your back,'” Bouye said. “And you can see he’s going out there approaching every day with that mindset.”

What Bouye learned the most from facing Bortles in practice in college and the past few years in AFC South clashes between the Jaguars and Texans was the quarterback’s ability to make the most of his athleticism. The cornerback was highly impressed with Bortles’ ability to make plays outside the pocket.

‘He’s good with his feet’

“He’s good with his feet, just making smart decisions,” Bouye said.

He is expecting a turnaround by the Jaguars, but he isn’t putting it all on Bortles’ shoulders. Bouye fully expects the Jags’ defense to carry a large share of the load.

‘We plan to have the No. 1 defense’

“We plan to have the No. 1 defense,” Bouye said. “I know that’s what everybody thinks. That’s how we’re working. We’re competing against each other, we’re pushing each other and we’re also competing against the offense to make them better just like they’re doing the same for us. So we don’t come in here expecting to lose, we don’t come in here expecting just to have an OK day and getting out. We’re trying to take advantage of every day and push ourselves to the limit.”

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