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Open Locker Room: QB Blake Bortles looks ahead


JACKSONVILLE – When it's time to move forward, you move forward.

Blake Bortles said that's his approach on good plays or bad and the Jaguars' rookie quarterback said that will be his approach as he moves on not only from the Jaguars' first victory of the season, but his toughest game individually.

Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft and the Jaguars' starting quarterback the past four games, on Wednesday said that's his approach this week – to put a victory over Cleveland Sunday in the past and keep his focus where it has been the past month.

Not on interceptions, but on the next play and doing what is necessary to win.

"You have to be able to go out there and play the game," Bortles said Wednesday as the Jaguars (1-6) prepared to play the Miami Dolphins (3-3) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

"You have to go make the decisions in the game situations that you prepared all week to make, then sit down and evaluate it and say, 'OK, was this the right decision?' All that is what you go through the week during your preparation, and when you evaluate and fix some things, you obviously learn from it."

Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said that trait is one of Bortles' strengths.

"He doesn't have a big hangover effect with the interceptions," Fisch said. "He moves on."

Of Bortles, Fisch added, "He has all the upside in the world. The ceiling… I don't even know where it's at. I don't think we can see it."

Bortles completed 17 of 31 passes for 159 yards Sunday, and while he led a critical drive late in the first half that ended with a 31-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Allen Robinson, he also threw three interceptions.

Bortles, after reviewing the Cleveland game, called the interceptions "just bad decisions, really."

Fisch said while Bortles' first interception was a "fluke pick" when Bortles was pressured as he threw, the second was a miscommunication and the third – which came in the red zone with the Jaguars having a chance to extend a lead – was one that can't happen.

Bortles agreed.

"They were things that shouldn't happen and can't happen if we're going to be productive and move the ball as an offense," Bortles said. "It's something we learn from and that I learn from and I'm moving on."

Bortles added, "You have to be careful with it and not give it away. It's things I have to work on and decisions that need to be made."

Bortles has completed 114 of 174 passes for 1,163 yards and five touchdowns with 10 interceptions in five games since taking over as the starter at halftime of a Week 3 loss to Indianapolis.

"I think he's going to throw interceptions," Fisch said. "That's what I think is going to happen. I think over the course of his rookie year, interceptions are going to happen and over the course of his career, interceptions will happen. Hopefully, they will minimize themselves as they go.

Jaguars teammates have talked since Bortles took over as the starter about the rookie's confidence, and about the need for him to play without worrying about past mistakes. Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts III said Wednesday when it comes to Bortles, confidence isn't a worry.

"Blake's going to be Blake," Shorts said. "He's going to continue to be himself and continue to learn. A bad throw might happen here or there, but he'll continue to learn and he has a very bright future."

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

*Dekoda Watson said he will work with the first-team Wednesday at the Otto linebacker position. Watson, signed as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason to play the Otto, missed the offseason and much of training camp with a groin issue. Second-year veteran LaRoy Reynolds started the first four games at the Otto before the team moved J.T. Thomas to the Otto in Week 4. With Thomas moving to the middle to replace injured starting middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, Watson could start Sunday and also is expected to work as a pass rusher with Leo defensive end Andre Branch out for six weeks. "I'm not really competing with anybody else," Watson said. "I'm competing with myself.'' …

*Toby Gerhart said he will practice on Wednesday for the first time in two weeks. Gerhart, the Jaguars' starting running back in the first five games of the regular season, practiced on October 8 before missing the rest of the week as well as the Jaguars' games against Tennessee and Cleveland. He had been playing through foot/ankle issues since Week 1 and the Jaguars wanted to allow the injury to heal before having Gerhart return. "I feel pretty good," Gerhart said. "I'm excited to get out there and see how it goes. It's feeling good right now. We'll see how it goes."

*Cornerback Aaron Colvin was scheduled to practice for the first time this season. Colvin, a rookie fourth-round selection from Oklahoma, was expected to begin work on a limited basis after spending the first seven weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained at the Senior Bowl in January. The Jaguars have 21 days from Colvin's first practice to decide whether to move him to the active roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve. "I've been excited for the past two weeks," Colvin said. "Now that it's finally here there's a lot of emotion, but I just have to stay level-headed."

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