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Inside the Jaguars: Focus not a concern


JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley said he's not worried about focus this week.

Specifically, he's not worried about a lack thereof.

Bradley, the Jaguars' first-year head coach, on Monday said that's true even with Christmas falling in the middle of the week, and even with the team not in postseason contention when it visits Indianapolis Sunday in the 2013 regular-season finale.

While those circumstances could lead to distraction, Bradley said he doesn't think that will happen with this team this week.

"I think that's a legit concern, (but) I do not feel that with our team," Bradley said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' 20-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. "I did not feel that after the game in the locker room."

Bradley said instead he felt the team improved despite losing a second consecutive game after winning four of five games.

The Jaguars took a 16-6 lead midway through the third quarter before Titans running back Shonn Greene scored on a 1-yard third-quarter touchdown run and wide receiver Nate Washington caught a 30-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Jaguars, playing without starting outside linebackers Geno Hayes and Russell Allen, were also without starting defensive tackle Roy Miller, whose replacement, Brandon Deaderick, left with a dislocated elbow in the first half. The Titans rushed for 182 yards, enabling them to hold the ball for nearly 10 minutes more than the Jaguars.

The Jaguars, after rushing for more than 100 yards in four consecutive games, rushed for 63 yards on 21 carries as running back Maurice Jones-Drew – playing through a hamstring injury – rushed for 45 yards on 13 carries.

But Bradley said in terms of approach and attitude, the Jaguars again "made really good improvement."

"That's their mindset and that's their style," Bradley said. "They say, 'Here's another opportunity. We're going to finish strong.' That's more the mindset I feel. I know that (season-ending distractions) are maybe a concern across the league. It's something to at least think about, but I don't feel that with those guys."

Also around the Jaguars Monday:

*Bradley said while it's difficult to win spot-of-ball challenges, game circumstance made it no risk when he made such a challenge Sunday. Bradley on Sunday challenged the officials spot after a four-yard run by Chris Johnson on third-and-4 gave the Titans a first down at the Tennessee 49-yard line with 2:44 remaining. The Jaguars trailed by four points, and Bradley said, "We would have had to call a timeout at that time anyway so we just threw the flag. We knew we were going to use a time out so why not throw the flag and check it?"

*Bradley praised a wide receiver group that on Sunday featured four rookies/first-year players – Ace Sanders, Mike Brown, Lamaar Thomas and Kerry Taylor. The group combined for 14 receptions and 149 yards and a touchdown. "I think we know what they have, we know what they're bringing and I think they're getting closer to where they're playing up to their ability and playing it consistently," Bradley said…

*Bradley said the Jaguars were hurt by a lack of "explosive runs." The team had no runs longer than 11 yards, finishing with 63 yards on 21 carries. "When you look at running the ball, when you get over 100 yards it's because of the number of explosive runs you have," he said. "We didn't have any explosive runs. That's what hurt us in the run game."…

*Bradley said quarterback Chad Henne played efficiently and had some "nice throws" Sunday. Henne, making his 12th start of the season, completed 24 of 34 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. "He still had some pressure on him and made some critical plays in critical situations," Bradley said. "Obviously, there's always times we can improve some decision-making but for the most part (we're) pleased with what he did."…

*Bradley said tight end Marcedes Lewis continues to play well in the passing game and to play well blocking at the point of attack. He caught a touchdown pass for a fourth consecutive game on Sunday. "Marcedes continues to show us stuff on tape," Bradley said. "He had a good game."…

 *Bradley said the special teams on Sunday played well overall despite a blocked point-after and a partially blocked punt. Punter Bryan Anger averaged 45.8 yards on four punts and had two downed inside the 20, and the punt coverage held Titans returner Leon Washington to minus-1 yard on one return. Josh Scobee also had four touchbacks on kickoffs. "Overall, a pretty good job," Bradley said….

*Bradley said the Titans' 35:39-24:21 time-of-possession advantage hurt, limiting the Jaguars to 10 possessions, including two in two-minute situations. "We didn't get as many possessions as we would have liked," Bradley said….

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