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Day after: Bradley supports Bortles


JACKSONVILLE – The stance was as clear as possible.

When it comes to the Jaguars' quarterback position, Head Coach Gus Bradley on Monday said he plans no changes.

Blake Bortles, the Jaguars' starting quarterback since Week 4 of the 2014 NFL season, may be struggling through the first nine games of the 2016 regular season. As such, there are observers who believe a change at the position is necessary.

But Bradley is not one of those people.

"I don't see anything in the future that shows that Blake Bortles is not our guy," Bradley said Monday, a day after Bortles committed two turnovers in a 24-21 loss to the Houston Texans at EverBank Field.

Bradley added, "I have great confidence in him. I think I speak for everybody that we have great confidence in him.

Bortles completed 32 of 49 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, but his first-drive interception was returned for a 42-yard touchdown by cornerback Kareem Jackson. That gave the Texans a 7-0 lead. Although the Jaguars tied the game 7-7 when Bortles threw five yards to tight end Julius Thomas on the ensuing possession, the Jaguars never led Sunday.

Bortles later missed wide receiver Allen Hurns wide open for a would-be 44-yard touchdown with the Jaguars trailing 14-10 in the third quarter. He also underthrew wide receiver Marqise Lee on a possible fourth-quarter touchdown.

The missed opportunities have been something of a trend for Bortles this season, and he twice missed wide receiver Allen Robinson on deep balls in a 19-14 loss to Kansas City last week.

"The deep balls are the ones that stand out because if he makes those throws it's a different game," Bradley said. "Those are difference-makers, so those plays really stand out. I think we just need to keep working on that and give him confidence in them."

Bortles, after passing for a franchise-record 35 touchdowns and 4,428 yards a season ago, has struggled with accuracy at times this season. He has completed 228 of 380 passes for 2,421 yards and 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

"Sometimes I watch it and I see great throws," Bradley said, citing passes Sunday to Lee and tight end Ben Koyack that converted first downs. "Sometimes it jumps out in front of you and you say, 'That's an unbelievable play and an unbelievable decision.'

"Then at other times it's like, 'Oh, we missed the opportunity.'''

Bradley said Bortles completed 12 of 15 third-down passes Sunday, and that the Jaguars converted the first down on nine of those occasions.

Bradley said he and General Manager David Caldwell on Monday watched quarterbacks around the NFL from Sunday to try to create a picture of Bortles.

"I think he's doing some really good things," Bradley said of Bortles, adding, "It's a head-scratcher, because you do see some great throws and some great decision-making. Then there others ones where it just gets away from him."

Bortles two weeks ago brought in his personal quarterbacks coach, Adam Dedeaux, to Jacksonville for two days to work on mechanics. Bradley on Monday discussed Bortles' overall approach during this time.

"I think [Bortles' mindset] is, 'What do I need to do?''' Bradley said. "'Is there something I'm missing? I know I'm missing plays, but what else? I believe I'm working hard, but is there another step? Can I work even harder in some areas?' Those are the kinds of questions he's asking.

"Football is extremely important to him. I don't know that he has a lot of other things other than football right now. He seems to think about it a lot, and how can he improve and what he can do to help this team."

Bradley's advice to the quarterback?

"Keep working," Bradley said. "You've made some strides. You did some things the last couple of weeks to help yourself. Just keep doing that and don't get caught up in everything else that adds more on to your plate."

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