JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's Thursday Jaguars notes and observations: OC Nathaniel Hackett discusses QB Blake Bortles, DC Todd Wash discusses the Philadelphia Eagles' run-pass option and CB A.J. Bouye misses practice with a calf injury …
1.Nate Hackett isn't worried about his quarterback's confidence. "He's been through so many ups and downs and always bounced back," the Jaguars' offensive coordinator said Thursday of Blake Bortles, who was benched in a 20-7 loss to Houston Sunday before again being named the starter the following day. Hackett, in his second full season as the Jaguars' coordinator, said while Bortles has had one of the most difficult three-game stretches of his career, "I'm figuring he's now going to throw a couple of good ones in a row. That's what I'm hoping. I think he can do that. We have to keep on rolling, make sure he understands it and doesn't try to do too much. That's the big thing for him, is just not pressing – not trying to extend a play and do something crazy. He needs to understand that sometimes the defense is going to get you and that's OK; secure the ball. That's the thing we're harping on. If he does that, we'll be good." Bortles has committed 11 turnovers this season, including eight during the team's three-game losing streak. He was benched Sunday following the second of two lost fumbles that led directly to short Texans scoring drives and 10 Houston points.
2.Todd Wash knows the challenge Sunday is real. "Their offense is very explosive," the Jaguars' defensive coordinator said of the Eagles' offense, adding that Eagles Head Coach "Doug Pederson does a great job of getting you in a lot of getting you in a lot of run-pass binds and RPOs." The Eagles' offense, with third-year quarterback Carson Wentz, emphasizes run-pass option concepts using many of the same concepts employed by the Kansas City Chiefs and Head Coach Andy Reid, for whom Pederson worked before becoming the Eagles' head coach. "He attacks your system," Wash said of Pederson. "He's in the Andy Reid Tree. You see a lot of similarities in the two offenses. The personnel is different, but the scheme is pretty simple. He gives us a lot of challenges." The Jaguars have struggled at times this season with the scheme, with Kansas City and Dallas both using the ability of their quarterbacks to extend plays and get outside the pocket to put pressure on the Jaguars' front and linebackers. "We've got to be sharp, obviously, with our assignment football," Wash said. "If we can do that, we hope we can control that side of the game."
3.Wash on Thursday clarified comments he made last week before the loss to Houston regarding the Jaguars' defense getting away from fundamentals and basics early in the season. "When I say, 'I let it slide,' I think we got away from our package a little bit [earlier in the season]," Wash said. "We played a lot more quarters in the first six games than we have in a long time. On paper, it looks good, but that's really not who we are. We're a three-deep team. It's not so much what the players were doing. It's more what I was doing and how I was calling the game. We got into a lot more three-deep and man last week and you could see: we got up and disrupted the wide receivers. [Cornerback] Jalen [Ramsey] played his butt off when he was up in press. We've got to be who we are. We've got to quit trying to be cute and go out and be who we are, fly around and make plays." The Jaguars, after allowing 23 and 40 points in losses to Kansas City and Dallas in Weeks 5 and 6, allowed just 20 points Sunday – with 10 points coming on point-blank drives following Jaguars offensive giveaways.
4.The Jaguars on Thursday signed cornerback Dee Delaney from the practice squad and placed linebacker Donald Payne on injured reserve with a knee injury. Cornerback A.J. Bouye missed practice Thursday after sustaining a calf injury in practice Wednesday, with cornerback Tyler Patmon and cornerback D.J. Hayden missing practice each of the last two days; Patmon left Sunday's loss to Houston with a neck injury and Hayden has missed the last five games with a sprained toe. Running back Leonard Fournette also missed a second consecutive practice Thursday with the hamstring injury that has kept him out five of the last six games. Tight end James O'Shaughnessy missed practice for a second consecutive day with the hip injury that kept him out of Sunday's game. Practicing full for the Jaguars Thursday after working limited Wednesday were Brandon Linder (knee), left guard Andrew Norwell (foot), right tackle Jermey Parnell and defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle/hip). Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus missed practice with an illness Thursday and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. was added to the injury report with a groin injury.