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Open locker room: 'We have the right guys'


JACKSONVILLE – This is not a time for dramatic changes.

As Blake Bortles sees it, the answers to the questions – and there were plenty of questions Wednesday – focus more on steadiness.

Bortles, the Jaguars' quarterback who has struggled at times during this third NFL season, on Wednesday said the key for him and the Jaguars' offense are the same fundamental things as have been key all season.

"I think I've got to continue to do what I'm doing – just better," Bortles said Tuesday as the Jaguars (2-4) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (3-4) at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee, Thursday at 8:25 p.m.
Bortles through six games this season has thrown nine touchdowns with nine interceptions after a 35-18 touchdown-interception ratio last season. After ranking 18th in total yards last season and scoring 23.5 points a game, the Jaguars rank 27th this season and have scored 19.5 points a game.

The Jaguars haven't scored an opening-drive touchdown this season, and have trailed at halftime in five of six games. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said it's important to change that trend and improve a running game that ranks 30th in the NFL at 76.7 yards per game.

"We're trying to find things that really work for us consistently," Bradley said. "For us to go out there and be a team throw 40 times a game, that's not who we want to be about. We want to mix in the run and pass. I think it's important for us to get some points early and get a feel for what that's like."

Bortles said an early offensive score "changes the dynamic game."

"It's definitely something we have to figure out how to do," he said.

The Jaguars struggled Sunday against an Oakland defense that ranked last in the NFL in yards allowed, scoring nine points in the first three quarters of a 33-16 loss.  The Jaguars rushed for 90 yards on 11 carries in the first half of that game and ran just five more times for 15 second-half yards.

"We were behind this last game, so it got us out of the run game a little bit – maybe even too early as we look at it," Bradley said. "Rhythm is important and to have the flow of the game where we're ahead or we're close in those types of situations is important."

Bortles against Oakland Sunday completed 23 of 43 passes for 246 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He completed five of 14 first-half passes with an interception.

Bortles as has done often throughout his career on Wednesday discussed throwing mechanics and fundamentals, elements that often lead to inaccuracy.

"I'm just trying to figure it out and work on it," Bortles said. "I kind of know what the problem is and trying to fix it is hard to do during the season. You don't have a lot of time to just play catch and work on stuff. It's the same thing: I'm trying to shorten the stroke."

Players throughout the Jaguars' locker room on Tuesday talked about the need not to press, or to try to do too much. Bortles said even with all the public questions the on-field answer may be simple.

"Everybody kind of says 'consistency,' but when it comes down to it nobody's trying to make mistakes," Bortles said. "Nobody's trying to hold. Nobody's trying to throw an interception. I don't really know how else to put it except that we have to be better. At every position, we have to be better.

"One thing that's good about it is we have seen it before. We've done it this season. We did it last year. We have the ability and the right guys in the locker room to be successful and be a powerful offense. We just have to find it."

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