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JACKSONVILLE — Blake Bortles is finally letting it fly.

The Jacksonville Jaguars rookie is now showing why he was the first quarterback picked in this year's draft, displaying impressive progress since a June minicamp when his sometimes wobbly ducks raised eyebrows.

But the pads have come on. And so has Bortles, who has exceeded offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's expectations with his growth spurt through the first week of training camp. Extra throwing sessions with fellow quarterbacks Ricky Stanzi and undrafted rookie Stephen Morris during the Jags' summer break are paying off.

Not that Bortles is a legitimate threat yet to unseat veteran starter Chad Henne, whose experience and knowledge of Fisch's system give him a sizable advantage.

But Bortles' grasp of the playbook and the pinpoint spirals he's now spinning turned heads during a flawless two-minute drive Thursday capped off with a perfectly thrown 30-yard touchdown to rookie receiver Allen Hurns on an improvised go route.

"That was a drive that was unscripted, and Blake just played ball, audibling to that touchdown, which was pretty cool," Fisch told USA TODAY Sports.

"That's what I've seen with his growth. He would have just done whatever I called for him in the spring. But now he's audibling and threw that touchdown against man coverage. ... The ball is coming off his hand better.

"Sometimes when you're overthinking, you grip the ball tighter. He's gotten rid of the mind clutter."

Bortles, who was drafted third overall in May out of Central Florida, looked especially natural throwing on the move while hitting receiver Kerry Taylor with a perfect strike off a play-action bootleg.

In that sense, Bortles is the antithesis of Blaine Gabbert, the former Jaguars first-round bust who felt phantom pressure after getting thrown to the wolves as a rookie in 2011 before he was ready to play.

"It's starting to slow down," Bortles said. "There's still a ton of things I need to do better and continue to work on.

"As far as the offense is concerned, it (his comfort level) has definitely been better going through it for the second time. ... It just comes with taking more repetitions."

Bortles conceded some of those woudned-duck passes launched during the spring were the result of thinking too much about where to go with the ball instead of freeing his mind to play fast and loose. His mechanics are smoother, and his footwork is in noticeably better sync with his release point.

"Jedd always likes to say, 'It's like the driving range — just test your clubs out,' " Bortles said. "I guess I was doing some of that in OTAs. And it wasn't going well.

"I'm trying to find the clubs that I can hit well."

Fisch said there is currently no plan to give Bortles a preseason start, though he would seem the natural candidate to get the nod Aug. 28 against the Atlanta Falcons in the final exhibition game. To date, Bortles hasn't had any first-team repetitions.

That figures to change the more he advances.

"Chad has certainly showed he has command of this offense right now, and he's playing at a high level with great confidence," said Fisch. "But the thing with Blake is the better he plays, the more challenging it becomes for us as coaches.

"We just want to just make sure he stays in his own world, and it doesn't get bigger than it has to."

Jacksonville general manager Dave Caldwell is encouraged by his rookie quarterback's work ethic and maturity.

"Blake is doing a nice job," Caldwell said. "He's doing everything within his power to be as productive as he can be. ... He came here on his own during the break. And I know he studied a lot from home."

And now he looks at home in Fisch's up-tempo system.

"The preseason is an opportunity to show what you know, what you can do and what you've been doing for the past couple of months," Bortles said.

"All of us are looking forward to it."

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Follow Jim Corbett on Twitter @ByJimCorbett

PHOTOS: NFL training camp action

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