JACKSONVILLE – The questions came early and often.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was familiar with the topic. Early Wednesday afternoon he discussed playing in an up-tempo offense as he usually does.
Yes, Bortles likes a no-huddle, up-tempo approach. Yes, he and his teammates feel comfortable using it – and yes, the approach has been effective in the past. But no, he's not really sure why.
"I don't really have an answer for you," Bortles said as the Jaguars (2-3) prepared to play the Oakland Raiders (4-2) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "You're out there just playing, and it's easier to find a rhythm, I believe. I feel comfortable in it. I feel good in it.
"I feel as though our offense feels good and comfortable in it, and we do a good job moving the ball. It's definitely good to see and have confidence in that and know we kind of have that in our back pocket."
Bortles said he doesn't know if the Jaguars will use the approach more.
"I think that's something for Olly and Gus to decide on," Bortles said of Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson and Head Coach Gus Bradley. "But it's good to have it and have confidence and know we have it if we need it."
Whether the Jaguars will employ more up-tempo, no-huddle has been a topic often during Bortles' career because often in his three seasons as a starter the Jaguars have seemed to move more effectively using the approach.
That was the case again this past Sunday in a 17-16 come-from-behind victory at Chicago. The Jaguars moved 89 yards with a conventional, huddling approach on their first first-quarter drive. That series ended with an interception that bounced off wide receiver Allen Robinson, but the offense struggled for the next two quarters.
The Jaguars used the no-huddle, hurry-up approach for their final four series beginning late in the third quarter. They scored on three of the four possessions, with the lone exception being a fourth-quarter drive that ended when Bortles lost possession on a sack/fumble.
"It's all situational," Bortles said. "I think a lot of it is, 'How's the flow going? How's the defense playing? How are we running the ball? Do we need to mix it up? Do we need to try to control time of possession?' It's all situational stuff that Gus and Olly make the decisions on."
Bortles said the emphasis remains on starting fast offensively, an area in which the Jaguars have struggled for the last season and a half.
"I thought we did that on our first drive last week," Bortles said. "I thought it was the best drive we've had all season. We just didn't finish it. If we're able to do that when we're huddling – let's stay in the huddle. There comes a time and a point if we're struggling and it's hard to find a rhythm, then maybe we jump into it [the no-huddle]."
The Jaguars on Sunday can do more than register their first three-game winning streak since 2013 – Bradley's first season as head coach. They also can reach .500 in October for the first time since 2010, the last time they finished .500 or better. "It's huge," tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "It's a great opportunity for us. We understand that. Our expectations have been high since OTAs [organized team activities]. Heading into this thing, we wanted to be better than we are right now. Obviously we can't change what happened in the past but we have an opportunity to dictate our future by going out there on Sunday and handling our business."
"We want to win every single week. We know right now this is a good time to make a run and showcase what we can do. They brought in the right pieces and I feel like we're all meshing together at the right time. It just feels good right now. It feels comfortable. As long as we keep cleaning up some things this defense is capable of going a long way."
---Jaguars CB Aaron Colvin
"I love Jack. He brought me here and gave me an opportunity to learn about my game. There was always love with him and I. I had nothing but great experiences."
--Lewis on former Jaguars Head Coach and current Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio