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Friday: "A good change of pace"


LONDON – Blake Bortles had time to focus on little but football this week.

And Bortles said maybe that was a good thing.

"This week really doesn't allow you to think about a whole lot," Bortles said Friday as the Jaguars (3-4) prepared to play the Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

"Everything's kind of jammed in," Bortles added of the Jaguars' sixth game in as many years at the iconic venue. "You've got to get a lot done on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It was kind of good timing to get my mind off last week and start worrying about Philadelphia and going to London."

This indeed was hardly just another International Series week for the Jaguars' quarterback.

After being benched last Sunday, he was named the starter again Monday – but while that made quarterback a very public storyline this week, Head Coach Doug Marrone on Friday restated a week-long message that the team's current three-game losing streak is not only about Bortles.

"He [Bortles] did fine [this week]," Marrone said following the team's walkthrough practice in 52-degree temperatures at Allianz Park in Northwest London Friday.

"But again, while a lot of the focus is going to be on the quarterback position, I was looking for the whole football team. As a team, we know we haven't been playing the way we want to play."

Marrone, as was the case throughout the week, on Friday emphasized improving the Jaguars' giveaway-takeaway ratio. The Jaguars, after finishing plus-10 in turnover margin during their AFC South Championship season, are minus-12 in the category this season. That's 31st in the NFL.

The Jags have committed 17 turnovers this season and have just five takeaways.

"We have certain goals and obviously the first goal is to get some takeaways and not give the ball away," Marrone said.

Bortles, the Jaguars' starter in the last 68 games, has 11 turnovers this season. That includes eight in the last three games, with two coming in a 20-7 loss to Houston at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville last Sunday.

Bortles lost fumbles to start the first and second halves Sunday, with the fumbles leading to short drivers that produced 10 total points. Marrone, who benched Bortles immediately following the second lost fumble, talked early in the week of the importance of winning field position in addition to the turnover issue.

Bortles on Friday was asked if he was feeling pressure involving his starting position.

"There's been pressure it seems since I got to Jacksonville," Bortles said. "It's kind of normal. I think there's pressure at every position and at all times in the NFL. If you're not getting the job done, playing well and being successful, they'll eventually replace you and find somebody else who can….

"I've always kind of had an ability to ignore the outside noise, or the pressure – whatever you want to call it – and focus on playing football. I always believed that if you win football games, eventually the noise will go away."

The Jaguars, who have been outscored 90-28 during the current three-game losing streak, have won their last three games at Wembley Stadium. Bortles has thrown eight touchdowns and one interception in the Wembley streak – with victories over the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens.

"It's a good change of pace and a good opportunity for us to get back on track," he said.

Also on Friday:

*The Jaguars announced that running back Leonard Fournette will miss a fourth consecutive game with a hamstring injury sustained in a Week 1 victory over the New York Giants; Fournette was ruled out Friday along with cornerback A.J. Bouye (calf), cornerback Tyler Patmon (neck) and tight end James O'Shaughnessy (hip).

*Bouye's injury will mark the first time since he signed as an unrestricted free agent in March 2016 that the Jaguars' All-Pro cornerback tandem of Bouye and Jalen Ramsey will not start opposite one another. Not only are Bouye and Patmon out Sunday, nickel corner D.J. Hayden remains doubtful with a toe injury after five consecutive games with a toe injury. Ramsey is expected to start at one corner along with three other undrafted rookies playing the position for the Jaguars: Tre Herndon, Quenton Meeks and Dee Delaney. Herndon has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, Meeks has played two games since signing from the Jaguars' practice squad and Delaney signed off the Jaguars' practice squad Thursday. …

*The following Jaguars players worked full Friday and were removed from the injury report after working through injuries/issues much of the week: center Brandon Linder (knee), left guard Andrew Nowell (foot), right tackle Jermey Parnell (shoulder), defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle/hip), defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (groin) and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (illness). …

*Wide receiver Donte Moncrief was limited in practice Friday after flying in from London separate from the team because of an issue involving his passport.

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