JACKSONVILLE – Poise and patience.
If Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has played with an increasing amount of both through 12 games this season, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said a little more may be necessary Sunday.
That's the challenge of the Seattle Seahawks. And that challenge is very, very real.
"Major patience – that's one of the big things right out of the gate," Hackett said as the Jaguars (8-4) prepared to play the Seahawks (8-4) at EverBank Field Sunday at 4:25 p.m.
The Seahawks have been one of the NFL's best defenses for more than a half decade, and Hackett said that remains true despite the absence of front-line players such as cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor and defensive end Cliff Avril.
A key to the Seahawks' approach, Hackett said, is their ability to take away the deep throw.
"You have to understand that they're going to retreat, and they're going to go back and take everything away from you behind them," Hackett said. "You have to be OK with giving it to a back. For us, that's OK. We love to throw to the backs."
Hackett, as he has said throughout his first full season as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator, said Bortles' decision-making and patience have improved this season. He completed 26 of 36 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in a victory over the Colts this past Sunday.
"He's getting better every week," Hackett said. "I keep telling him: 'This is your first year in the system. Don't get bored with success. Keep taking those completions.' Since Day One, we've continually talked about being efficient.
"I think that's the thing: A lot of people think you have to be aggressive, or that you're conservative. It's just about being efficient. If you're efficient and you continually do that, you're always going to have a chance to win the game. Blake's starting to learn that – that it's OK to check it down."
All three Jaguars coordinators – Hackett on offense, Todd Wash on defense and Joe DeCamillis on special teams – spoke to the media Thursday.
Notes and observations from Coordinator Thursday:
*Weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith remained in the concussion protocol but practiced full for a second consecutive day Thursday; Smith missed this past Sunday's victory over the Colts with a concussion sustained against Arizona the previous week. Quarterback Blake Bortles (right wrist) and running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) both worked full for a second consecutive day Thursday while cornerback Jalen Ramsey (hamstring) and wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle) missed practice for a second consecutive day. …
*Offensive tackle Josh Wells (concussion protocol) worked full Thursday after being limited Wednesday and wide receiver Marqise Lee worked limited after missing practice Wednesday with a foot injury. Cornerback Aaron Colvin (elbow), guard Chris Reed (knee), guard Patrick Omameh (quadriceps) and defensive end Calais Campbell (wrist) all worked limited for a second consecutive day and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (groin) worked limited with a groin injury. …
*Hackett said the challenge facing the Jaguars' offense Sunday is similar to what Jaguars opponents face each week playing the Jaguars' defense. The Jaguars' defense is based on the scheme used by Seattle, with Wash and former Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley having worked for Seattle under current Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll before coming to Jacksonville in 2013. "It's all the same," Hackett said. "It's a difficult scheme to go against because it limits you on some of the things you can do. It takes certain things away." …
*Wash discussed the challenge of rushing Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. One of the NFL's most mobile quarterbacks, Wilson leads the Seahawks in rushing and also is adept at evading the rush and making plays in the passing game after scrambling. The Jaguars lead the NFL with 45 sacks with Wilson having been sacked 28 times while throwing 26 touchdowns with eight interceptions. "We're going to have to make sure we know where he is, and make sure we don't get sealed one way or another to open any rushing lanes," Wash said. "We've talked about it all week long. But the last thing we want to do is see our defensive line go out and start playing hesitant and worry about him scrambling. We want to be able to rush best we can to keep him in the pocket, then when he does run we have to be able to run him down." …
*Wash also discussed defending tight end Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks' top red-zone threat who leads Seattle with nine touchdown receptions this season. "We have to be able to do some things and get guys on him, and probably not play as much man as we have in the past, obviously," Wash said. "He's a matchup nightmare, but we're fortunate to have some pretty good players here. We're going to put our good on good and see what happens." …