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The Day After: Caution the watchword


JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley didn't like what he saw.

That's understandable considering the Jaguars lost the 2015 regular-season opener at EverBank Field Sunday, but Bradley was more specific than that in his next-day comments Monday. Specifically, he was concerned about the offense.

First, Bradley said the unit played too cautiously.

Then, he said it didn't handle adversity well.

"I thought as an offense we played really cautiously; we didn't want to make mistakes," Bradley said, adding, "We've got to continue to play aggressively. The way we played in preseason and practice, we have to carry it over into the games.

"I think that's what we have to spend a lot of time with our team and talk to them about – to come out and be aggressive and not be cautious."

Those two factors contributed heavily to a 20-9 loss Sunday to the Carolina Panthers. It was the third season-opening loss in as many seasons in Bradley's tenure as head coach – and a loss that had him pointed and specific Monday.

"I didn't think we adjusted well; I didn't think we quickly recovered," Bradley said. "We talked about, 'Adversity's going to come our way.' It did come our way with the interception in the second half for a touchdown, and I don't know if we can say that we quickly recovered from that."

The Jaguars trailed 17-9 after Panthers cornerback Josh Norman returned an interception of a pass by Blake Bortles 30 yards for a touchdown with 9:01 remaining in the third quarter. After that, the Jaguars managed five first downs and didn't cross midfield on their final five possessions.

"That was pointed out to our team, that sometimes misfortune happens, but how you adjust and how you handle it is even more important," Bradley said. "I didn't feel like we handled it very well."

Bradley added, "As a team, we really need to handle these things, to handle these setbacks."

Bradley said that when the offense was cautious he didn't mean play-calling as much as in-play decisions. Specifically, he said Bortles could have thrown the ball more often in such a way to allow receivers to make plays on the ball.

"We want to be a team that is aggressive and takes chances," Bradley said. "I didn't think I saw that right away in the beginning part of the game. With Blake it's, 'Give the receiver a chance to make a play,' and some of them were without even an opportunity for our receivers to make a play."

Bradley said he believed the play-calling of first-year offensive coordinator Greg Olson was aggressive enough.

"We took some shots downfield and had some plays downfield," he said. "We mixed it up with the run and the pass."

Bradley also on Monday discussed the use of the tight end Sunday. While the team emphasized multiple tight-end looks during the preseason, the position was targeted in the passing game just twice Sunday. No Jaguars tight end caught a pass.

"When they don't catch any balls, that's something to take a look at," Bradley said. "I know we had some plays – five or six really designed – to go to (tight end) Marcedes Lewis, to utilize our tight ends. The read took him (Bortles) away from it. It wasn't that they weren't called. It was just the read took him away from it on that particular play."

Also around the Jaguars:

*Rookie wide receiver Rashad Greene was cleared Monday after undergoing concussion testing following Sunday's game. He sustained a back contusion.

*Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and wide receiver Marqise Lee are expected to return to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Marks has been rehabilitating a knee after undergoing reconstructive surgery in January and Lee has been out since early August with a hamstring injury. Marks is expected to be limited to individual work this week, while Bradley said Monday Lee has a better chance of playing Sunday than Marks. …

*Left tackle Luke Joeckel sustained a sprained ankle Sunday and will be evaluated this week. He left the game Sunday in the third quarter after re-aggravating an injury sustained in the first half. …

*Cornerback Aaron Colvin sustained a shoulder injury Sunday, but the Jaguars said he will try to play through the situation this week. …

*Other injuries from Sunday to be evaluated as the week continues: running back T.J. Yeldon (knee), wide receiver Allen Robinson (knee), cornerback Davon House (elbow), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (back) and safety Johnathan Cyprien (calf). …  

*Defensive end Andre Branch (knee) and tight end Julius Thomas (hand) are expected to remain out this week. …

*Running back Toby Gerhart also will be evaluated as the week continues. He missed Sunday's game with an abdomen injury. …

Check out some of the best images from the Jaguars season opener against the Panthers.

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