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Notes and observations: Smith on Allen, Bortles on running backs, more

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith (50) enters the field against the Houston Texans in an NFL game Sunday, October 21, 2018 in Jacksonville, Fla. (Rick Wilson via AP)

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's Wednesday notes and observations: Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith on Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles on the absence of the team's two-back offense, more…

1.As Telvin Smith sees it, the Jaguars' identity has remained strong through adversity this season. And the veteran weakside linebacker is proud of that. "It's been a little tough; we've been very inconsistent – definitely not winning, not getting Ws," Smith said Wednesday as the Jaguars (3-7) prepared to play the Buffalo Bills (3-7) at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York, Sunday. "But that's one thing this team has done a great job of: continuing to believe in us, believe in who we are." The Jaguars have lost six consecutive games and will face a Bills team expected to start rookie quarterback Josh Allen Sunday. Allen has been out since Week 6 with an elbow injury. The Jaguars rank fourth in the NFL in total defense, No. 3 in fewest passing yards allowed. "That's tough," Smith said of Allen's task Sunday. "Anytime you're going against a defense that has been together for a while, you know they're going to have great communication amongst each other. You just have to be ready to go out and will yourself through us."

2.Though the Jaguars aren't technically out of the postseason, they're far enough out of the conversation – and enough has gone wrong to make that happen – that Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone isn't thinking about such things. "When you have lost this many games in a row, we are just focused on trying to win one game: this game right now," Marrone said. "You can't focus on anything else. We have to do whatever we have to do to go win a game. That is what it comes down to." The Jaguars after a 3-1 start are four games behind the AFC South-leading Houston Texans (7-3). They are two games behind five 5-5 teams – the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins – for the No. 6 seed in the AFC, which represents the conference's final postseason spot. "I haven't looked at that," Marrone said. "My focus of motivation is just being a competitor and trying to win – not the motivation of, 'There is still this, there is still that.'''

3.It's one Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles wishes he had back. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on Tuesday said as much regarding a throw Bortles didn't make in a loss to the Steelers Sunday, and Bortles on Wednesday agreed. The play in question came on second-and-8 from the Steelers 39 with 11:56 remaining and the Jaguars ahead 16-6, with Bortles not throwing a slant to open wide receiver Donte Moncrief – instead taking a nine-yard sack. A sack on the ensuing play led to a Jaguars punt. "I should have thrown it," Bortles said. "Any game you watch since the start of football there are throws the quarterback probably wishes he would have thrown and didn't throw. We could have had an opportunity for a big play. It was one of those where I have to pull the trigger and thrown it." Bortles said he didn't throw it because safety Terrell Edmunds moved into the area near the passing lane shortly after snap. "That was the reason," Bortles said. "I got spooked out of it and got off of it." …

4.Bortles on Wednesday had this to say about what it would have been like for the Jaguars to have had Corey Grant and Leonard Fournette the entire season: "I think it would have been huge." The Jaguars entered the season planning to have Grant, Fournette and T.J. Yeldon as a focal point of the offense. The trio rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in a Preseason Week 3 victory over Atlanta, also catching 11 passes for 80 yards. The trio played together only twice in the regular season – victories over the New York Giants and New York Jets in Week 1 and 4. Fournette missed six of the first eight games with a hamstring injury, and Grant has been out since Week 5 with a season-ending foot injury. The Jaguars' early-season plans to run two-back sets featuring Fournette and Grant therefore never materialized. "Everybody knows how good Leonard is and what he brings to the table, and people have seen glimpses of what Corey could do – last year in the postseason and this year before he got hurt," Bortles said. "It definitely would have added another dimension to the things we could have done offensively."

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