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The Day After II: Maintaining faith


JACKSONVILLE – Denard Robinson said he believes it can still happen.

The Jaguars' running back isn't alone, and that was a point of emphasis among offensive players as the team gathered Monday, a day after a loss to the Colts in Indianapolis.

Yes, the offense struggled on Sunday, with Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley on Monday calling the 194-yard, three-point day "frustrating" and "discouraging."

But players remain confident the unit can improve in the last five games of the season.

"These five games are something we can build off of for next year," Robinson said a day after the Jaguars lost to the Colts, 23-3, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. "That's what I believe. I truly believe that and I think everybody around here believes that. That's how it's going to be."

The Jaguars, who are ranked 31st in the NFL in total offense, struggled throughout the loss to the Colts, allowing significant pressure on quarterback Blake Bortles, who completed 15 of 27 passes for 146 yards and no touchdowns with an interception.

They also struggled to run, with Robinson rushing for 25 yards on 14 carries and the team finishing with 80 yards rushing on 23 carries.

The offense produced 104 yards at halftime, and then lost 12 yards in the third quarter before an 87-yard drive near the end of the game with the outcome having been decided.

"We believe we have the tools on the offensive side to do better," Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts III said. "The way we've played we haven't met expectations for ourselves, so we still believe we can play at a high level. These last five games, we're going to try to attack them and get going."

Robinson said the most difficult aspect of the season after 11 games isn't a specific offensive statistic but an overall feeling that the record doesn't accurately reflect the team.

"If anything we're disappointed in ourselves because we're 1-10 and we don't feel like we should be a 1-10 team," Robinson said. "That's the biggest thing. On paper it looks like we're the worst team and we're not that bad. We put forth effort. We play hard. We play fast. It's little things that we're just not doing. That comes with experience and it comes with learning."

Also around the Jaguars Monday:

*Defensive end Andre Branch, out with a groin injury since a Week 7 victory over Cleveland, is expected to practice Wednesday, the team announced. "It feels good," Branch said. "I'm two weeks ahead of schedule, so we'll see how it goes. I just stayed the course and stayed positive." …

*Middle linebacker Jeremiah George, out the last two games with a high-ankle sprain after making his first NFL start in Week 9, could practice Wednesday and is improving, the team announced. …

*Bradley also said the offense could begin focusing more on practice and repetition of core plays.  "You have your core plays, and you have your new plays," Bradley said. "Well, how much time are we spending on our new plays, then how many of those are we running in the game? If we have these new plays and we're putting a lot of time into it, then when it comes to the game and we're running our core plays, that's not time well-spent. If it truly is repetition, then what are we spending our time practicing and is that showing up in the games? Those types of questions we need to ask and answer." …

*Bradley said linebacker Telvin Smith played well in his first start at weak-side linebacker Sunday, registering 12 tackles, two tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. Bradley said while Smith must continue to work on maintaining a consistent level of play and effort, "He was around the ball. He's really progressing." …

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