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Execution the key: "We need 11 guys doing a better job…"


JACKSONVILLE – Amid a slew of questions, Blake Bortles put it simply.

"It really comes down to us executing the plan," he said.

Wednesday's topic: offense. Three days after the Jaguars' lowest point total in more than two seasons, the fifth-year starting quarterback was far from alone addressing the topic.

"We need 11 guys doing a much better job; we all understand that," Head Coach Doug Marrone said as the Jaguars (2-1) prepared to play the New York Jets (1-2) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

But as the quarterback, Bortles talked about it more than anyone.

His message was clear:

What went wrong against Tennessee can't continue.

"It was a lot of things," Bortles said in his first comments since immediately following a 9-6 loss to the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field Sunday – the Jaguars' first loss of the 2018 season. "We didn't execute, and it was kind of guys took their turn. It was across the board. I missed some throws, missed some opportunities. We really just hurt ourselves.

"We didn't take advantage of any opportunities, really. It's one of those where you watch it and it's hard to sit there and relive that. But you have to learn from it, make corrections and put it in the past and move on quickly – and know that that's not us and who we want to be."

The performance against Tennessee came a week after what many considered Bortles' best performance in four-plus NFL seasons – four touchdowns and 376 yards passing in a 31-20 victory over defending AFC Champion New England at the Bank.

The Jaguars' offense, which ranked fifth in the NFL in points and sixth in total yards last season, managed 233 yards and 12 first downs against Tennessee. That was the third-lowest total yards and the fewest first downs since Marrone took over as interim head coach in Week 16 of the 2016 season.

"I feel like we're on track; we just have to fix small mistakes," wide receiver Keelan Cole said. "Also, it was only Week 3. Regardless of what everybody thinks, this is still a new team and a new year. We have to keep it moving and keep getting better.

"It wasn't a lot of people in the wrong places at the wrong time. It was just when we were in the right place and everything went well, something went wrong. The point that we really need to focus on is just executing. Everything has to go 100 percent instead of 98."

Bortles completed 21 of 34 passes for 155 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions against Tennessee. His longest completion was 19 yards.

Bortles addressed downfield passing and other topics Wednesday:

*On the key to playing against a defense such as Tennessee, which played coverage off to prevent deep passes: "Continue to take what they give you, not get greedy, not force anything down the field. Continue to take the underneath stuff in the play-action game and take the check downs.  We had some shots downfield that I didn't pull the trigger on and missed, but you can't get greedy and start forcing the ball downfield. You want to. You want to throw the ball downfield. You want to move it. But I think the [the key is] just playing within the system and staying comfortable happy with completions and being efficient."

*On having three passes batted in one series against Tennessee: "That's a lot. They did a good job. The first two were defensive linemen putting their hand up. The last one … I think [running back] T.J. [Yeldon] had the linebacker. He was sitting there waiting. I have to find a way to get it around him – throw it over him, throw it around him. Three in a series is a lot, especially with one on a big third down where we had Keelan wide open and a chance to move the chains."

*On whether he had paid much attention to the league's new rules regarding roughing the passer: "(Smiling) No, I don't get a lot of those calls…"

Whatever the offensive output, Bortles said the reality was the Jaguars still had a chance to win Sunday. He said that's a good sign, but that result clearly wasn't good enough.

"You don't want to say, 'We can struggle a little bit here and still find a way to win,''' Bortles said. "But I think we're a good enough football team to where we can win not on our best day. Offensively, we showed that in Week 1 and Week 2 was obviously a different story.

"In Week 3, our defense played good enough to win and we couldn't find a way to score a touchdown. A lot of things went wrong in order for that not to happen. There are going to be days like that and you have to find a way to win.'

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