JACKSONVILLE – A new coordinator won't be Blake Bortles' sole focus this week.
Bortles also will spend this week focused on his mechanics, working with his personal quarterback coach toward that end
Bortles, the Jaguars' third-year quarterback, on Monday said his personal quarterback coach – Adam Dedeaux – will be in Jacksonville Monday and Tuesday. Bortles said this during a meeting with the media in which he extensively discussed the weekend's firing of Greg Olson as offensive coordinator.
Nathaniel Hackett, the Jaguars' quarterbacks coach since the start of the 2015 season, was promoted to offensive coordinator.
"Any time there's change like that and there's a big mix up, it's going to be shocking," Bortles said while speaking to the media at EverBank Field early Monday afternoon. "It's different. It's a change. It's something to adjust to and figure out, but we still have nine games and a lot of football."
Bortles said he learned of the decision from Head Coach Gus Bradley. He also said he spoke with Olson and Hackett over the weekend.
"I think the world of Oley (Olson) as a guy and a football mind," Bortles said. "He's an unbelievable coach and he taught me a lot and did a lot of good for this organization. But things happen and things change."
Bortles was asked if he was always on the "same page" as Olson.
"I think so for the most part," Bortles said, adding, "We just weren't able I guess to put things together on the field."
The Jaguars have scored six first-half points in the last three games, and were shut out in the first half of a 36-22 loss to Tennessee this past Thursday. Six of their 15 touchdowns this season have come when trailing by at least 17 points.
"Just because there's been a move doesn't mean we're all of a sudden offensively going to win games," Bortles said. "We still have to go out and find a way to execute and eliminate the stuff that's been happening in the first seven weeks."
Jaguars players on Monday emphasized Hackett's attention to detail as a positive in the hiring, and Bortles mentioned this early in his comments. He also discussed having a third offensive coordinator in three seasons, a group that includes Jedd Fisch (2014), Olson (2015-2016) and now Hackett.
"I'll play as hard as I can for whoever's coaching, and I think I'm fortunate to have Nathaniel Hackett be that guy now," Bortles said. "We've been together for a year now and have created a really good relationship. It's an open forum for communication and we can talk about anything."
Bortles said he plans to throw with Dedeaux Monday and Tuesday in an effort to improve his mechanics, something he said has been an issue this season. Bortles worked extensively during the 2015 offseason with Dedeaux and Tom House, two respected passing "gurus" who work with quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Andy Dalton. "I'll definitely try to get that fixed up," Bortles said. "Hopefully, we'll try to tighten some things and get back to the way I was throwing the ball when I was efficient."
A CHALLENGING TIME
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley spoke about the coordinator change Monday morning, also speaking about the support Owner Shad Khan has shown Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell. Both are in their fourth seasons with the team. "It is a challenging time right now," Bradley said. "He [Khan] is unbelievable. What do I say? He wants results. … Both Dave and him feel that we can get this done. Whether other people believe it I don't know, but I know that is his belief. I know that the way we played on Thursday night was not something I am going to put at the top of life events that have taken place. It's challenging, but I also know that when you have support like this you're like, 'You know what? We have to do things right for this organization and for this fan base.'' At that point, Bradley also addressed a fan base, saying "I thought a lot about what I would say to the fans these last couple days and how much I appreciate them. These are tough decisions that we have to make, but it's what is best for this organization and I do believe our fan base needs for us to get this thing going. We are going to compete to do it. We are not going to shy away from difficult decisions to do that."
TIME OF TRANSITION
Bradley on Monday also discussed defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who has been penalized a team-high eight times this season with one being declined. Fowler was benched in the second quarter against Tennessee after an unnecessary roughness penalty for punching an opponent. "He shows flashes where you look at him and he is very strong and very explosive," Bradley said of Fowler, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. "Then there are times where you scratch your head and say why is he doing that at a critical time? With some of our players we are seeing that and that is the part we have to get corrected. … There is a transition sometimes with young players that when they get on the field they might not make the wisest decisions. Usually you see it clean up and I see a little bit more of a conscience with him, but not right where I want it yet." Fowler on Monday said he understood why he was removed from the game Thursday. "I'm not going to swing at anybody [any more]," Fowler said. "You can't do that at a crucial moment, costing your team a penalty. Also, leading the league in penalties – I will be more disciplined in that area."
"If I played good, better, the way I should – whatever you want to say – there would never be a coordinator switch. We would still be here with Jedd Fisch, I guess. It's on the quarterback. It's on the offense. If we played good, nobody would have to be fired and nobody would be cut. That didn't happen. Unfortunately, somebody has to take the blame for it. Nowhere near was it all Greg Olson's fault."