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Open Locker Room: Moving forward


JACKSONVILLE – The past is the past.

That's true every week in the NFL, with Wednesday the day to look ahead and begin game-planning and preparation for the next opponent.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles Wednesday said it's the only possible approach this week. The past always is the past, and that includes a 34-point loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots …

Especially with first place in the division at stake in four days.

"I think it (the New England loss) is over and done with," Bortles said Wednesday as the Jaguars (1-2) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (1-2) at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m.

"I think guys came in Monday and Tuesday, took what they could out of the game and moved on. There's not a whole lot to say when you get killed like that. You take what you can out of it and move on. You can't let that kind of hang around and mess with you.

"I think guys have done a good job with that. Guys have moved on and they're ready to prepare for Indianapolis."

Not only are the Colts and Jaguars 1-2 three games into the 2015 season, the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans share the same record. That means the winner of Sunday's Colts-Jaguars game will be in no worse than a tie for first place in the AFC South Sunday night.

"That's really what it is," Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "If we come in here talking, 'We've got to do this,' or we've got to do that,' then you lose focus on doing your job as opposed to just focusing on doing things you've been trained to do and do them well."

Said Bortles, "We take every game with the same approach, but when you get inside your division and start division play, the ante gets upped a little bit. They mean a little more. No game is more important than the other, but it is a divisional game and we understand that."

The Colts have won 13 consecutive AFC South games.

"That's super impressive," Bortles said. "Any time you're able to win 13 games in a row within a division in the NFL, it's unbelievable. They've done a good job being consistent. I think we match up well. It's a good opportunity and I think our guys are excited."

That was a topic Wednesday as the Jaguars began preparation for Sunday, and when Bortles spoke to the media shortly before noon there were other topics.

Chief among them:

The process of moving on from mistakes and interceptions, such as one that was critical against the Patriots Sunday.

Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, has been up and down at times to start the season. He threw two second-half interceptions in a 20-9 loss to Carolina in the regular-season opener before a two-touchdown, no-interception performance in a 23-20 Week 2 victory over Miami.

He completed 17 of 33 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns in a 51-17 loss to New England, but his interception late in the first half stopped a drive inside New England territory with the Jaguars trailing 13-3. The Patriots scored on their ensuing possession, and after leading 20-3 at halftime quickly extended the lead to 30-3.

"You have to move on and forget about it," Bortles said. "It was a bad play that cost us momentum and points going into halftime. That kind of swayed in their favor. You can't dwell on it. You move on, you look at the tape. You take what you can from it and try not to replicate it."

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

*Tight end Julius Thomas said he didn't know what to expect in terms of his status for Sunday. He has missed the first three regular-season games with a hand injury sustained in the preseason opener. He said he was still waiting to be cleared by doctors after being reevaluated Tuesday -- and he is expected to continue practicing on a limited basis Wednesday. "I don't want to speculate or get anybody too excited – myself included," Thomas said. "I'm going to wait and when I find out, you guys will probably see me pulling my helmet down and running around." Thomas has practiced limited, working on conditioning and running, the past two weeks.…

*Defensive end Andre Branch, out since the preseason with a medial collateral ligament injury, said he will practice Wednesday. "It feels good," Branch said. "I've been working my tail off to get back. We're going to go out and see how it feels and go from there."

*Strong safety Johnathan Cyprien also said he expects to practice Wednesday afternoon after missing the last two games with a calf issue. The Jaguars finished Sunday's loss to the Patriots with rookie James Sample and Nickelback Peyton Thompson at safety. "I'm going to practice today, so that's encouraging," Cyprien said.

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