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Day After Takeaways: Tackling a real issue


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from the day after the Jaguars' loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Sunday

1)Wrap it up.We begin Monday takeaways with tackling – and if it seemed the Jaguars missed too many tackles Sunday, it's because they did. Bradley said coaches counted 23, which led to the Jaguars allowing a season-high 183 yards rushing. Five Buccaneers runs accounted for 102 yards, with a different player missing a tackle on each plays. "Those were real," Bradley said, citing tackling as an example of all players needing to be accountable for their own mistakes. "It's more directed as an accountability-type message to our team: 'Take personal responsibility, take accountability for it and let's get these things cleaned up.' I think that's more defensively, if you look at it in a nutshell. It appears to be even bigger defensively." Bradley said there were particular problems tackling in space, something the Jaguars hadn't had to do much in the first four games. "We had it in a pretty confined area in games past where our ability to swarm tackle," Bradley said. "If we did miss, it was in a confined area; we did well. They (the Buccaneers) did a good job, they got us in space. We became exposed in some of our tackling in space. That's where it showed up."

2.The Poz Effect.It's perhaps too simplistic to say Paul Posluszny's absence hurt the run defense Sunday. Then again, perhaps not. "Guys have to be able to step up, but I won't diminish the fact that he is pretty important," Bradley said of the Jaguars' middle linebacker. The Jaguars entered the game ranked No. 4 in the NFL against the run, and had looked like a dominant run defense at times. Posluszny filling gaps was a big part of it. So was his presence, knowledge of the defense, ability to get teammates lined up and experience. "It's one thing to take care of your gap responsibilities but it's another thing to play your gap responsibilities, get off of a block and pursue and make a play," Bradley said. "That's where Poz is really playing well and we missed that yesterday." Posluszny was a game-time decision Sunday with a high-ankle sprain sustained the previous Sunday against Indianapolis.

3.Plausible explanation.It was beyond question of the stranger plays you'll ever see: Jaguars running back Bernard Pierce, while covering a Jaguars punt, turned and blocked a Buccaneers blocker as Buccaneers returner Bobby Rainey ran past on a 58-yard return. The miscue has gone viral on social media, and prompted many fans to call for Pierce's release. "It's not a good play at all," Bradley said. "When I saw it I couldn't believe it." Pierce, who did not play in the second half because of a hamstring issue, after the game reported having concussion symptoms and is now in the NFL's concussion program. Bradley spoke carefully about the issue Monday, but said the concussion may have caused the unusual block. "I know after the game he had concussion symptoms," he said "That's where I'll leave it at that, the play itself if you watched it." Asked if Pierce had the symptoms before the play, Bradley said, "I don't know. I imagine so.… Yeah I'm sure. I mean he's in the concussion protocol. It's just unfortunate that he had those symptoms and that play happened."

4.The growth continues.Bradley didn't talk much about positives Monday, but he did spend time discussing Blake Bortles. The second-year quarterback threw four touchdowns Sunday – his first game with three or more touchdown passes – playing with a sprained AC joint much of the game. Bradley said while the injury could keep Bortles out of practice Wednesday the second-year quarterback is expected to be OK. Bradley also said overall he likes Bortles' progress this season. "Yeah, he's making better decisions," Bradley said. "I give him a lot of credit for that." Bradley at the same time said Bortles is making some of the same mistakes plaguing the rest of the team in recent weeks such as calling a wrong formation and forcing a throw on an interception. "His poise, staying true to the reads for the most part … it's rising, he is definitely getting better," Bradley said. "Just like some of those other guys now he's got one or two things that he has to take personal responsibility on."

5.A change of tone.The last two days since the loss in Tampa Bay has featured a different tone from Bradley. He was more animated in each of his meetings with the media, and said on Monday players may get a stronger feeling from him this week regarding attention to detail, demand for precision, etc. "That part, they should always feel that in me," Bradley said. "Is it going to be stronger? Yeah, they might feel it a little bit more in that context. Maybe I haven't been as strong or demonstrative on the field as I need to." At the same time, Bradley said long has said that the key to success is players owning their own approach and having their improvement/level of play come from within. On that front, Bradley's message and approach won't change. "I'm hoping they solve it; I'm really putting it on them," Bradley said. "These conversations that we have I want to shock them, like I said (Sunday) night, for them to take personal responsibility and I'm going to hold them accountable for that. I'm going to watch them closely and make sure they take it upon themselves. This group is special, they take personal responsibility. If they're not, we'll ensure that they do and we'll hold them accountable for it."

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