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Open locker room: 'I believe we can do this'


JACKSONVILLE – Blake Bortles' faith remains strong.

The Jaguars' third-year quarterback on Wednesday said that has remained the case through what he recently called a "nightmare season," and it remains true entering the 2016 season's final month.

Bortles said his confidence has remained strong despite three of his interceptions being returned for touchdowns in the last four games – and despite a three-turnover game this past Sunday that helped result in the lowest passer rating of his three-year career.

"I think it comes from [Jaguars Head Coach] Gus [Bradley] and [offensive coordinator] Nathaniel [Hackett], and the support they give me,'' Bortles said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-10) prepared to play the Minnesota Vikings (6-6) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

"I believe I can do this. I believe we can do this. I think it's just a matter of time."

The Jaguars have lost seven consecutive games with all seven losses coming to teams with .500 or better records. They have been within a score or held the lead in the fourth quarter of their last five games before losing to Kansas City, Houston, Detroit, Buffalo and Denver.

The offense during the last three weeks has had multiple chances to tie or take the lead after taking possession in the fourth quarter but did not score in any of those situations. They took the lead with a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter against Buffalo on a drive that began in the third quarter.

"I think we're really close," Bortles said. "I know people are tired of hearing it and I'm tired of saying it. But we're not far off."

Bortles on Wednesday also said he and Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson met with Hackett this week in an effort to "talk through some things and figure how do we get on the same page? How do we get back to what we did last year?"

Robinson, who had 80 receptions for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns receiving last season, has 56 receptions for 622 yards and six touchdowns this season.  He was targeted 10 times with three receptions for 31 yards in a loss to Denver Sunday.

Bradley on Monday discussed the need for the two to get back in synch in the passing game.

"There were some missed throws on me and some missed communication, so it was good to sit down with him and kind of go through and see what he was thinking each time and each route and talk through all that," Bortles said. "I think it helped. That will continue because I'm going to give him all the opportunities in the world."

Bortles said while and Robinson communicate often during the season it was a positive to meet with Hackett and discuss communication in detail.

"We said, 'Let's sit down together; let's sit down with Nathaniel and talk through some of this stuff and figure some of it out rather than keep going three for 10 and letting it go,''' Bortles said. "It's hard because it's frustrating. I know he gets unbelievably frustrated with everything that's going on, as am I.

"Both of us have a respect for each other and we both are rooting for each other. I think we're on the same page. But I think there comes a time and point where we need to sit down and just talk about it – and not in a negative way at all. It's just finding out a way to get on the same page."

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