JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Monday that was around EverBank Field a day after the Jaguars' home loss to the Oakland Raiders Sunday
BELIEF IN BORTLES
Blake Bortles has Gus Bradley's full support.
Bradley, the Jaguars' head coach, made that clear when speaking to the media Monday a day after the Jaguars' quarterback's early-season struggles continued.
Bortles, who has thrown nine touchdown passes and nine interceptions this season after a 35-18 touchdown-interception ratio last season, completed 23 of 43 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in a 33-16 loss to the Raiders at EverBank Field Sunday.
"I firmly, firmly believe in Blake Bortles – without a doubt," Bradley said Monday during his next-day press conference at EverBank Field.
Bortles threw for 57 yards in the first half Sunday and had 103 yards passing at the end of three quarters. The Jaguars trailed 20-6 at that point. Oakland entered the game ranked last in the NFL in total defense.
"It was a challenging day yesterday," Bradley said of Bortles. "But as far as a competitor, tough and what he brings to this team, there is no doubt."
Jaguars teammates echoed Bradley's sentiments.
"Blake knows we have his back," wide receiver Allen Robinson said. "For us it's about having his back and being there for him as a brother. It's funny, because we all have been at this point before – in Jacksonville, in our season. We've been here before. We know how to get out of it.
"For us, it's be there for him as a brother and be there for him on Sunday. We have to go out there and make those plays where we can get going."
The Jaguars rank No. 9 in the NFL in total yards allowed.
Still, while that statistic represents an improvement from last season's No. 24 ranking in the area, Bradley on Monday was more concerned about the team's lack of takeaways. The Jaguars this season have forced five turnovers, the fewest in the NFL. "We talk about the defensive improvement, but there's much more to it than [yards allowed]," Bradley said. "There are turnovers. There are third downs. On third downs, getting pressure so you can get takeaways is a big part of it. The defense should take responsibility and not look and say, 'Well, we're just not scoring as many points as we need to offensively.' We really need to direct their attention on how we can get the ball to the offense and how we can be better on third downs. That's what I sense from them, that they want to take added responsibility."
Defensive tackle Roy Miller III and left tackle Kelvin Beachum were listed on the injury report as not practicing for the Jaguars Monday.
Miller left Sunday's game with what appeared to be a serious Achilles injury and his status was not updated as of mid-afternoon Monday. Beachum, who missed much of training camp and preseason while returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained last season, had been held out of practice last Thursday to manage preparation/play time because of this week's short week.
Teams typically don't release official injury reports until Wednesday. The Jaguars released one Monday because they play at Tennessee Thursday.
The rest of the Jaguars' Monday injury report featured players listed as limited: wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr. (Achilles), cornerback Prince Amukamara (knee), cornerback Aaron Colvin (toe), tight end Julius Thomas (ankle), tight end Neal Sterling (foot), wide receiver Allen Hurns (neck/shoulder) and defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (knee).
"As an offense, we're struggling. It's not just Blake struggling. It's not just me struggling. As a whole, we're struggling. This is a team thing. At the end of the day, people are going to say what they're going to say. We have to go out there and trust in the plan and try to make plays when our number is called. If we do that, everything will come. We know the level we can play at. We've played at that level this year. It's been in preseason and some spurts in games, but we've seen ourselves play at a high level."