JACKSONVILLE – A change in circumstance won't alter the approach.
That was Head Coach Gus Bradley's belief on Monday, a day after a home loss to the San Diego Chargers appeared – on paper, at least – to change the dynamics of the Jaguars' season.
Yes, the Jaguars' loss to the previously slumping Chargers was disappointing, and it certainly hurt the team's chances in the AFC South and AFC wild-card chases. But, a day later, Bradley said he doesn't worry the loss will affect players' motivation.
"I think I have a pretty good idea how they'll react," Bradley said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' loss to San Diego cost them a chance at a three-game winning streak entering December.
The Jaguars, despite producing 420 yards offense and despite being in San Diego territory eight times, lost to the Chargers, 31-25, allowing San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers four touchdown passes. The Chargers (3-8) had lost six consecutive games while the Jaguars (4-7) had won three of four.
The Jaguars also entered Sunday a game out of first place in the AFC South. With Tennessee (6-5) and Indianapolis (6-5) winning, the Jaguars are now two games behind.
But Bradley on Monday said he expects focus this week to be not on the standings, but rather, on areas that hurt against San Diego – i.e., red-zone offensive efficiency and third-down conversion.
"That's really their full attention, is to get those areas right," Bradley said, adding, "I don't want to be naïve. I'm sure in their spare time when they're at home they kind of get an idea where we're at, but I think the mindset coming into practice is that they're professionals. It's about getting better, improving and correcting the things we need to correct.
"This team has great spirit and great will … that's a part of it. I appreciate that part because when we come back to work I know what we're going to get. I don't believe that will be an issue."
Bradley also addressed a serious injury concern Monday.
Allen Hurns, the Jaguars' second-year wide receiver, sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter against San Diego. The team early Monday afternoon announced that Hurns is in the NFL's concussion protocol program, and that his status will be updated Wednesday.
Hurns was taken from the field Sunday on a stretcher, being hospitalized briefly as a precautionary measure before being released early Sunday evening.
"I think we're all relieved that he's good," Bradley said.
Bradley on Monday also addressed red-zone offense, which was perhaps the team's major issue Sunday.
The Jaguars, who have struggled offensively inside the opponent's 20-yard line much of the season, scored field goals on three of four such occasions against the Chargers. Their lone red-zone touchdown came on an eight-yard pass from quarterback Blake Bortles to wide receiver Allen Robinson with 1:21 remaining. That play made it 31-25.
The Chargers, meanwhile, scored touchdowns on four of five red-zone possessions, meaning the Chargers scored 31 red-zone points on five possessions while the Jaguars scored 16 on four possessions. The Jaguars now rank 30th in the NFL with touchdowns on 15 of 36 red-zone possessions.
Bradley was asked if the red-zone issues had become a mental block.
"I don't think so," he said. "Obviously, it's an issue. I think we had problems with the red zone offensively early in the year, and then we seemed to get it corrected a little for a couple of games and now we're back in and the last two games we struggled. The big thing is not to go out there and press and ty to make things happen. That's not the issue.
"The issue is that it's tighter windows. It makes you make quicker decisions and there are times we have to make quicker decisions."
Bradley said there were times on Sunday that Bortles checked to pass in pass-run situations in the red zone, and that the Chargers dropping eight defenders into coverage made passing more difficult.
"They did that a couple of opportunities, and in that situation it forced him to hold the ball a little longer," Bradley said.
Whereas Bortles is in his second NFL season, Rivers is in his 12th season. Bradley said Rivers' experience, command of the offense and ability to call the game at the line of scrimmage was a factor in the Chargers scoring touchdowns on four of five red-zone opportunities on Sunday.
"The consistency of being with a coordinator for some years gives a quarterback that chance to own the offense," Bradley said. "He (Rivers) checked out of formations, he changed the protections and he changed the route concept based on the things that he saw. That takes a long time to be able to do that, and a lot of trust in the coach to give that responsibility to the quarterback."
Also on Monday, Bradley said he expects Otto linebacker Dan Skuta's status to be day-to-day this week. He was inactive for a second time in three games Sunday with a groin injury.