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Notes and observations: "It's about being patient"


JACKSONVILLE – Nathaniel Hackett's not worried.

Leonard Fournette's not either.

The Jaguars' offensive coordinator and rookie running back both spoke to the media on Thursday, with each addressing a running game that remains ranked No. 1 in the NFL but which has not been as consistent in recent weeks as would be ideal.

"You have to be patient," Hackett said as the AFC South Champion Jaguars (10-5) prepared to play the runner-up Tennessee Titans (8-7) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, Sunday at 4:25 p.m.

Fournette, who has rushed for 971 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie, had a similar thought.

"I'm not really worried about it," Fournette said. "I know the biggest thing is just to win. The run game will take care of itself."

The Jaguars' offense currently is ranked No. 6 in the NFL in total yards, and continues a season-long stay atop the league's rushing statistics, but the offense has averaged less than 3.6 yards per carry each of the last two weeks. The unit has been under 3.6 yards per carry in four of the last six games and averaged 3.3 carry in a loss to San Francisco Sunday.

Fournette has been held under three yards a carry in four of six games, averaging 2.7 a carry against San Francisco and finishing with 48 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

"Early in the season, everyone was asking, 'When are you going to pop the big one? You haven't popped a big one yet,''' Hackett said. "Run games aren't pretty. It's not that pretty thing that has those big, explosive plays all the time. You have to get some no yards, one yards, two yards – then, bam, it hits."

Hackett said three turnovers and the Jaguars trailing much of the game limited running opportunities Sunday.

"You want to be a balanced offense," he said.

All three Jaguars coordinators – Hackett on offense, Todd Wash on defense and Joe DeCamillis on special teams – spoke to the media Thursday, as did Fournette.

Notes and observations from Coordinator Thursday:

*Hackett discussed the team's rash of injuries offensively this season, particularly at wide receiver. Quarterback Blake Bortles, left tackle Cam Robinson and tight end Marcedes Lewis are the only offensive players to start every game, and Lewis and Robinson both missed parts of the 49ers loss. "In the coaching profession, change is the norm," Hackett said. "You can never feel good about one specific thing. That's part of the game. You just keep on rolling. The one specific thing has been Blake. He's done a really good job not letting the changes affect him around him." …

*While Hackett declined to discuss specific causes for Bortles' three interceptions against San Francisco, he said he was pleased with how the offense as a whole played after the turnovers. The Jaguars rallied from a 16-0 deficit to take a 19-16 lead immediately following Bortles' first interception – a second-quarter pick-six – and rallied to within four points late in the second half. "My favorite thing was how they just kept rolling," Hackett said. "That's the great thing, is how do you respond when that happens? There have been times in the past when the response hasn't been very good." …

*Wash addressed the loss to San Francisco, in which the Jaguars allowed a season-high 44 points including 37 against what entered the game as the NFL's No. 1-ranked scoring defense. "As coach, first of all you look at yourself," Wash said. "There are some things we could have done better as a staff, myself particularly. Then, as players we have to do a better job executing. We played extremely tight early in the game and pressed quite a bit, trying to make some plays. We've had good discussions with the defense and it's nothing that can't be fixed, obviously." …

*Wash, too, discussed the team's four major penalties defensively Sunday. The penalties included three unsportsmanlike penalties, including two on one drive late in the third and early in the fourth that ended with a 49ers touchdown. "I tell them each week, 'Aggressive penalties are different than dumb penalties,''' Wash said. "We can take some aggressive penalties. We want to be able to play hard to the echo of the whistle, but the extracurricular stuff we have to be able to eliminate. The after-the-play stuff – those are dumb penalties. Obviously, we've had a lot of discussions this week. We have to talk to them about playing smart, but at the same time, I don't want to take their stinger away.'' …

*Linebacker Blair Brown (concussion returned to full practice status Thursday after being listed limited Wednesday, and Lewis (ankle) missed practice after being listed as limited Wednesday. Linebacker Lerentee McCray (knee), Robinson (abdomen), wide receiver Keelan Cole (quadriceps) and wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle) worked limited Thursday while wide receiver Marqise Lee (ankle) and defensive tackle Abry Jones (back) missed practice. Bortles (right wristed) worked full. …

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