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The Day After I: Offensive inconsistency "unacceptable"


JACKSONVILLE – A day later, Gus Bradley's stance remained the same.

The defense played well in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, but the part of the loss that stood out in the immediate aftermath …

The struggles on offense? The continued struggles of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles?

They stood out a day later, too – in pretty glaring fashion.

"Offensively, I cannot say we got better yesterday," the second-year head coach said Monday, one day after a 23-3 loss to the Colts moved the Jaguars to 1-10 for the season. "I can't argue that fact with you. We've got to be better."

Bradley throughout during his next-day press conference at EverBank Field was pointed in his comments regarding the offense, particularly with a third quarter that began with the Jaguars trailing 6-3. It ended with the Colts leading 20-3 – and with the Jaguars losing a total of 12 yards on three possessions.

"To come out and do that in a game is frustrating and it's discouraging," Bradley said. "It's not good enough. I challenged the offense on that. It's unacceptable.

"We've got to get that right. That was the frustrating part."

The Jaguars produced 194 yards for the game, including 87 on a fourth-quarter drive after the game essentially was decided.

"There's no excuse for it," Bradley said. "We're a better team than we're showing in that aspect."

Bradley said hard questions were asked and will continue to be asked this week with the idea of finding a way to improve an offense that ranks 31st in the NFL.

"So many times when you analyze things like this, it feels like you're making excuses," he said. "We're not making excuses. We're trying to find solutions. In order to do that, you challenge everybody. You challenge the offense. You challenge the players. They challenge me. You say, 'What's the solution? Where do we go from here?'"

Bortles completed 15 of 27 passes for 146 yards and no touchdowns with an interception, and Bradley spent significant time Monday discussing the rookie quarterback.

"I would say this with Blake: he can play better,'' Bradley said, adding that his interception – a pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis on the Jaguars' second play "could have been a better-thrown ball."

Bradley said Bortles also could be playing faster, adding that at times Bortles is holding the ball too long and that his decision-making is not as quick as is needed.

"I know you can say he's young, but we expect more," Bradley said.

He also said that Bortles responded well after the interception, and that Bortles must continue to play with confidence.

"I hope that fear hasn't entered into the equation, where he gets in there and says, 'Oh, I've (thrown) an interception or, 'Oh, I need to make good decisions and hold on to the ball,'" Bradley said. "That's not what we want."

Bradley emphasized that he hasn't that seen fear in Bortles.

"I don't think it has," he said. "But those are conversations to reassure him, 'Hey, we trust you to make good decisions.' It doesn't have to be where every throw he makes he's worried about if he gets a turnover and that he has to be perfect. That's not how he operates best. He has to have that freedom. … We don't want to take away his freedom to make big plays."

Bradley said on Sunday that the Jaguars entered the Colts game believing they could run effectively. He said the same thing on Monday and added, "Maybe we overestimated a little bit."

The Jaguars rushed for 70 yards on 17 carries in the first half, but running against largely eight-man fronts designed to limit Denard Robinson, the Jaguars finished with 83 yards rushing on 30 carries. Robinson rushed for 25 yards on 14 carries and other than a 23-yard run by backup Toby Gerhart, Jaguar' running backs averaged less than two yards per carry.

"We just felt like we could run the ball," Bradley said. "Indianapolis did a great job with time of possession. We wanted to steal that and we wanted to steal some series away from them and get us into a situation where we were within striking distance, and at halftime it was 6-3.

"The second half was when it showed up and it was frustrating."

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