JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the day that was around EverBank Field Thursday, with an eye on the season's final media availabilities for defensive coordinator Todd Wash and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
"KEEP IT GOING"
Nathaniel Hackett knows what he wants from Blake Bortles this week.
It's what many around the Jaguars want from Bortles, who had perhaps the best game of his three-year stint as the Jaguars' starting quarterback this past Saturday:
Progress. Continued growth. A second consecutive solid game.
Hackett, the Jaguars' offensive coordinator, put it succinctly Thursday as he met with the media for the final time this season.
"I would say you want it to keep going," Hackett said as the Jaguars (3-12) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (7-8) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Bortles, after struggling much of the season with interceptions, decision-making and accuracy, completed 17 of his first 18 passes and finished with one of his most efficient, productive games in a 38-17 victory over Tennessee Saturday. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Hackett said the performance was a matter of things "clicking" for Bortles – and a matter of the game "slowing down."
"In that game he really saw and understood what we were trying to accomplish," Hackett said.
"You're always aiming for the quarterback to have a 'can't-stop-me' mentality. That's what we're always trying to achieve; that's what I dedicate every moment to, to allow Blake to go out there and not have any doubts or any questions -- from a protection standpoint, to a route standpoint, to where he is going to go with the ball …
"I want him to know what's happening before the ball is even in his hands. I think once you feel that way then you can react when things break down or do others. I think that was a good look at Blake feeling comfortable and having that 'can't stop me' mentality."
Jaguars running backs Chris Ivory and Denard Robinson practiced on a limited basis for a second consecutive day Thursday. Robinson has missed the last three games with a high-ankle sprain, and Ivory left Saturday's victory over Tennessee with a hamstring injury.
The Jaguars placed running back T.J. Yeldon on injured reserve Monday with an ankle injury, and currently have six running backs on the roster: Ivory, Robinson, Corey Grant, Bronson Hill, Joe Banyard and Daryl Richardson.
"You have to be prepared for whoever is ready to go, and whoever is the hot hand is who you are going to want to feed," Hackett said.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum continued to work limited with a knee injury as he has much of the season, and offensive lineman Luke Bowanko (hip), tight end Alex Ellis (knee), tight end Ben Koyack (knee) and wide receiver Marqise Lee (hip flexor) all worked limited Thursday.
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (calf), wide receiver Allen Hurns (hamstring) and tight end Neal Sterling (concussion) all missed practice for a second consecutive day after missing the Tennessee game.
Quarterback Blake Bortles (right shoulder/right wrist), defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (shoulder), wide receiver Arrelious Benn (concussion) and defensive tackle Malik Jackson (illness) all worked full Thursday.
The Jaguars on Saturday produced their second-highest-yardage total of the season in Doug Marrone's first game as interim head coach. Hackett, who served offensive coordinator under Marrone with Syracuse (2012-2013) and with the Buffalo Bills (2014-2015), was asked if his approach was different with Marrone as head coach. "Doug and I have been together for a long time," Hackett said. "Naturally I'm an aggressive guy when it comes to wanting to really push the ball down the field and do different things. There was definitely a comfort level with Coach Marrone and he's always pushing me to poke and prod me to – I'm like, 'Okay, I'm going to keep going. Let's roll.' I think that was definitely a comfort level from us being together a long time."
"As coaches, you live day-by-day. You can't go past that next week regardless because you have such a large task at hand on Sunday. There are so many things you can't control as a coach. Everyone thinks that coaches control everything and we do everything. There are a lot of different things that are out of our hands, especially on game day, especially after game day."
--Hackett on coaching Sunday with the future of the Jaguars' coaching staff uncertain
"To me, whatever happens on Monday happens on Monday. The biggest thing we're trying to concentrate on is winning a football game. That's the only thing that matters to me right now. Whatever happens, happens. I'm good with it either way."
--Defensive coordinator Todd Wash
"He's realized he's not in college anymore. He's at the professional level. His teammates are counting on him. The organization is counting on him. He's really matured through this whole process."
--Wash on second-year defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.