JACKSONVILLE – Blake Bortles gets it. Absolutely.
The Jaguars' second-year quarterback said Wednesday he understood what Head Coach Gus Bradley meant Monday when he said the offense played too cautiously in the regular-season opener.
"I don't remember a game coming in there I didn't say 'I wish we'd have thrown the ball downfield more'— as quarterback you always want do that," Bortles said Wednesday as the Jaguars (0-1) prepared to play the Miami Dolphins (1-0) at EverBank Field Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
"As a unit, we want to be more aggressive and make more of a statement of who we are and our aggression."
Bortles said Wednesday he expects Sunday to be better offensively, and that he expects the offensive overall to be aggressive.
"Gus talks about when something doesn't go your way, you have to have the mindset of, 'Wait until you see what I do the next time,''' Bortles said. "As a team – and definitely as an offense – we have that with kind of a lackluster performance. We want to show that wasn't who we are."
After completing 39 of 60 passes for 461 yards and a touchdown without an interception in three preseason appearances, Bortles – the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft – completed 22 of 40 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown in a 20-9 season-opening loss to Carolina Sunday.
He also threw two second-half interceptions, one of which was returned 30 yards for a touchdown by Panthers cornerback Josh Norman.
The Jaguars didn't move past midfield on five possessions after Norman's touchdown, with Bortles completing 6 of 14 passes for 47 yards thereafter. He also was sacked four times after that, having completed 16 of 26 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown with one sack beforehand.
Bradley on Monday also said the Jaguars' inability to respond to adversity following Norman's interception was disappointing.
"Gus is big on that," Bortles said. "He's always preaching, 'How you respond to adversity when it comes and what you do after that.' It felt like guys were there, and they wanted to make plays and they wanted opportunities and they want the ball in their hands. We just missed out on them, whether it be a drop or a missed throw or whatever.
"We didn't capture the moment and didn't get a chance to overcome that adversity."
Bortles said Wednesday the offense was surprised with Sunday's performance.
"We didn't expect it, either," he said. "Every time we step on the field, especially as an offense and especially after the preseason and camp we had, we expect to go out and execute, put drives together and stay on the field and score points. It's what we expect of ourselves.
"Anything less than that is a letdown. Obviously, we didn't get that accomplished. It was just little things. It was missed opportunities not taken advantage of, but we're working on it and we're going to get better.
"Everybody trusts the plan, the process and believes in it 100 percent."
Also on Wednesday:
*Bortles supported new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, saying, "Olly's unbelievable. I think the plan and the preparation throughout the week that he puts together is perfect. It allows us to exploit what we think our mismatches are, and how we think we can get into certain areas. I couldn't image calling a game. I think it's a difficult task for sure." Asked what he thought when fans criticized play-calling, Bortles paused and said, "I don't know … it's like a kindergartner saying something to a kid in college. It's unbelievably hard to appreciate."
*Wide receiver Marqise Lee said he has run full speed in recent days, and that his approach is he will play Sunday. He added that he felt that way last week and that his status for Sunday will be determined by the team's training staff. Lee, out since early in training camp with a hamstring injury, is expected to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. "I'm very excited," he said. "Just having the opportunity to go out there and help the wideouts as far as practicing is big for me."