Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Open Locker Room: Turnovers remain a topic


JACKSONVILLE – The task is clear, and Blake Bortles sees it clearly.

And if it's true the rookie quarterback doesn't completely control the Jaguars' turnovers, it's just as true that he has a significant influence.

So, with the Jaguars having committed more turnovers this season than all but one other NFL team, Bortles on Wednesday said it indeed is a focus as the team exits the bye and enters the final month and a half of the 2014 regular season.

Reducing turnovers is critical, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said early this week.

And Bortles said he couldn't agree more.

"I think it's just something that we have to continue to be conscious of," Bortles said as the Jaguars (1-9) prepared to play the AFC South-leading Indianapolis Colts (6-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m. "We talk all the time … all about the ball. We just have to continue to have a conscience about it and protect it and take care of it.

"You don't need to be timid with it, especially playing quarterback, but you have to be smart with it and understand when to take shots and when not to."

The last part – when to take chances – was a topic during the bye week.

The Jaguars through 10 games have committed 22 turnovers, a total that includes 15 interceptions, with 14 thrown by Bortles in eight appearances that include seven starts. The Jaguars also have lost seven fumbles.

Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said eleven of those turnovers have come inside the opponent's 35-yard line, a statistic that has contributed to the team's season-long issues finishing drives. Opponents have returned five of those turnovers for touchdowns, including four interceptions by Bortles returned for touchdowns.

But Fisch said the emphasis with Bortles during the bye wasn't as much turnovers going the other way as reducing avoidable ones.

"Balls are going to get turned over; otherwise there wouldn't be such a thing as the word 'interception' or 'fumble,''' Fisch said. "What we want to do is say, 'Hey, on first or second down – let's avoid them.' When it's third down and you're trying to make the play or it's fourth down or it's two-minute or it's fourth quarter … OK, those things are going to happen.

"But when you can control it or you can live another down, we're really focus on living another down."

Fisch said overall the final six weeks "are a great opportunity" for Bortles to show improvement and to "really kind of use this as a halftime and treat this as, 'OK, it's Year Two now … let's go.'''

Bortles, after throwing 12 interceptions in his first six games, threw one in each of the Jaguars' last two games before the bye.

"Obviously the interception number has gone down," Bortles said. "We're down to one, so I guess you could say that's getting better. But the goal is to have none. You don't want to turn the ball over at all playing quarterback in this league. It's hard to do, but it's something we're continuing to work on."

Bortles on Wednesday also was asked the goals and objectives for the offense in the final six weeks of the season.

"I think just continue to try and execute," Bortles said. "I think we've seen glimpses of it. I think we've seen glimpses of the running game and the passing game. I think we just have to put that together, and learn from the things that have gone right and try to continue to improve the things that haven't.

"I think it's more than (winning). … Obviously, that's a big part of it, but I think it's about continuing to get better."

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

*Cornerback Dwayne Gratz spoke to the media after missing practice Monday following his arrest in Miami on two misdemeanor charges early Sunday morning. "I made a mistake," Gratz said. "There are consequences for that, and I want to become a better man from it." Gratz, who said he expects to play Sunday, said he apologized to teammates in a team meeting Wednesday. "They're all behind me," he said. "They know that's not me. That's not who I am." …

*Rookie wide receiver Allens Hurns said he has been completely cleared and expects to practice full Wednesday afternoon. He had been in the NFL's concussion program since sustaining a concussion on November 9 against Dallas. Hurns worked in individual drills Monday following the bye week and at the time had one more step before being fully cleared. "I kind of had a feeling last week (that he'd be cleared) based on how I was feeling," Hurns said. "Then the bye week helped a lot." …

*Tight end Marcedes Lewis is expected to practice full after being moved from the injured reserve-designated to return list to the active roster early this week. He had been on the IR-designated to return list since sustaining a high-ankle sprain Week 2 against Washington. "I'm excited," Lewis said. "It's a long process, but I stayed connected and prepared like I was going to play. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to get out there and go to battle with my boys and try to change things a little bit." …

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content