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Steelers preparing for Blake Bortles’ running ability

Blake Bortles

The Pittsburgh Steelers have expressed plenty areas of concern going into their matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Game. However, one would be a bit surprised to learn that among them is the mobility of quarterback Blake Bortles.

While he may have had a stellar game on the ground versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card, Bortles has never been known for his prowess as a runner. Regardless, linebacker Bud Dupree says it is one of the areas of focus for the Steelers defense, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

“You’ve got to make sure you account for Bortles,” Dupree said. “We’ve got to make sure we don’t let him scramble, that we’re disciplined in our rush lanes and make sure we bring him down

“He’s a great athlete. He runs fast. He can make you miss. He’s big, and he even tries to run you over sometimes.

Cornerback Joe Haden echoed Dupree’s comments regarding Bortles’ rushing ability.

“He might not be the fastest guy in the world,” Haden said, “but if you get a first down on third-and-8 or third-and-9, those kill a defense.”

It is a bit strange to hear Pittsburgh’s defenders mention any name other than rookie running back Leonard Fournette when it comes to Jacksonville’s run game. That’s especially since Bortles has taken plenty of flak from opposing defenders for being unfit to lead the Jaguars’ playoff run. However, it is clear that the Steelers will not be taking anything for granted this Sunday.

Bortles rushed for 88 yards on 10 carries on a day where his passing game was virtually non-existent against the Bills. Fortunately, the Steelers managed to neutralize the Jaguars quarterback in their last meeting both on the ground and through the air. Fournette, on the other hand, not so much.