Open locker room: "I feel confident"

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JACKSONVILLE – Blake Bortles' conviction and confidence remain strong.

No, the Jaguars' offense hasn't played as well this season as would be ideal – and the Jaguars' 2-8 record certainly isn't ideal, either.

But Bortles, the Jaguars' third-year starting quarterback, said the belief remains that the production – and the victories – will come. Bortles said on Wednesday said that's because the unit has improved in spots and shown some positives in recent weeks.

Now, it needs to show more.

"I feel good; I feel confident," Bortles said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-8) prepared to play the Buffalo Bills (5-5) at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York, Sunday at 1 p.m.

"There still have been some bad things, but there's been a lot of really good stuff that nobody talks about obviously because of the losses."

The Jaguars rank 21st in the NFL in total yardage, and have shown more balance during three games with Nathaniel Hackett taking over as offensive coordinator. They have averaged 124 yards per game rushing during that span and averaged 240 yards per game passing.

The Jaguars have outgained their last three opponents – Kansas City, Houston and Detroit – with all of three of those teams leaving their divisions or within a game of first place.

"Nathaniel Hackett's done an unbelievable job," Bortles said. "I think he's gotten this offense on the right page and we've done some really good stuff the past few weeks."

What has hurt the Jaguars significantly in recent weeks continues to be turnovers. The team is last in the NFL with a minus-15 turnover ratio, and Bortles has thrown 13 interceptions. With three lost fumbles this season, Bortles has accounted for 16 of the team's 22 giveaways. The Jaguars are tied for last in the NFL in giveaways.

Bortles has thrown interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns in each of the last two games. Detroit Lions safety Rafael Bush returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown last Sunday after Bortles threw high and behind to wide receiver Marqise Lee, who had the pass bounce off his hands and upward.

"It's all the same stuff; it's decision-making and accuracy," Bortles said. "The Pick Six last week, I think the decision was fine. I threw it behind and high to Marqise and it got tipped into the air. Stuff like that happens. It's just decision-making and accuracy. It's really all you can do. It's all you can talk about and work on. I have to be conscious of protecting the ball and I have to concentrate and work on it."

 

NOTABLE

Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin said Wednesday he has been cleared from the concussion protocol. He was placed in the program during Sunday's game.

QUOTABLE I

"They [Jaguars defensive backs] haven't had their hands on many balls. If we were dropping a bunch of stuff like that, then I think they'd probably be more frustrated. It's a situation where we're going to get opp [opportunities for interceptions]. I think they come in bunches and I think we're where need to be with the emphasis on the ball. We're going to get some.''

--Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash

QUOTABLE II

"You just have to look at it [the 2016 season] as what it is. We've played 10 games and we're 2-8. You can kind of reminisce and talk about all the games and what could have happened, but we won two and lost eight and have six more to go. We have a locker room that says, 'Obviously, this isn't where we want to be and this isn't where we expected to be, but we have six more chances .' There's no sense in kind of folding up shop and getting ready or next year. We have six more games to play and a chance to go 8-8. That's kind of how we look at it.''

--Bortles

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