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The Day After, Part I: Another tough Monday


JACKSONVILLE – This wasn't an easy Monday.

Yes, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said there were positives from a loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, positives that included the continued development of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles and significant spirit and fight at game's end.

But the reality of the loss and the accompanying emotions overshadowed the rest.

"The bottom line is we didn't come away with what we had hoped for," Bradley said Monday, a day after a 16-14 loss to the Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee, dropped the Jaguars to 0-6 for a second consecutive season.

That was the tone of Bradley's day-after press conference Monday, that while improvement was evident – and indeed, while it's evident from back-to-back games decided by a touchdown or less – too many little mistakes added up to a performance that left players hurting.

"They're feeling pain, now," Bradley said. "There's no doubt about it. I could sense that in the locker room afterward and I could sense a little bit of it today. They would say, 'We're getting better, we're getting closer, but what can I do to get us over the hump?' Those are legitimate questions."

Bradley during a 20-minute meeting Monday with the media talked about missed tackles on defense and unfinished drives and turnovers offensively. He also focused on his own performance.

"I could have done better yesterday as well," Bradley said.

Bradley said at times he allowed himself to become frustrated with the officiating.

"I think players felt it a little bit from me," he said, adding of questioning officials on the sideline, "I don't know if that's the message I want to send to the team."

Bradley also said he could have done better with game management, particularly challenging plays. Bradley challenged two plays Sunday – a first-half intentional grounding by Titans quarterback Charlie Whitehurst that was ruled an incomplete pass rather than a fumble, and a fourth-quarter down-by-contact play involving Titans running back Bishop Sankey.

Bradley said while the fumble was worthy of a challenge, the other was not. He also added that the challenge problems were a matter of not seeing all the angles with the available time, and said he doesn't plan to change the Jaguars' process in that area.

"We all challenge ourselves in areas we can get better," he said. "I challenge the team and point out the things I can get better at, too."

Bradley also said the Jaguars need to become more efficient in the running game. The Jaguars rushed for 82 yards on 23 carries Sunday, with quarterback Blake Bortles rushing for 38 yards on five carries.

"It seems like a broken record," he said. "But as you looked at it, we had some errors that I think can be corrected."

Bradley said out of 18 rushing attempts, four or five had perfect execution.

"We're not hitting as high a percentage as we need to to be efficient," he said.

Bradley, who talked extensively about little details adding up to bigger things in the wake of Sunday's loss, reiterated that point Monday, saying some of the errors that have been present all season have cost the Jaguars in recent weeks.

"I think the little things show up more now when these games are closer," Bradley said. "When you're getting beat 30-3 you say, 'We had a turnover' and you say, 'Yeah, OK, we have to get that corrected.' When you have a game like this that's close, it stands out more.

"I think that's a good challenge for us. No matter how good you are, you need precision. That part we're learning right now."

Also around the Jaguars Monday:

*Bradley said Bortles for the most part performed well in his third start, completing 32 of 46 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown with an interception. "He's definitely taken the whole offense and elevated the whole level of play," Bradley said. "There's no arguing with that." Bradley praised Bortles' demeanor. "He really impresses us with every situation he's in," Bradley said.

*Running back Toby Gerhart (foot) and defensive end Andre Branch (groin) will be evaluated Wednesday with their practice status determined at that time, the team announced.

*The team announced that although rookie cornerback Aaron Colvin is eligible to begin practicing this week, he likely will not begin practicing for at least another week. With Colvin on the Physically Unable to Perform list, the team currently has a five-week window to begin practicing him. After that, there is a three-week window in which the team must activate him or move him to injured reserve. …

*Bradley said field-goal protection could be addressed. Titans defensive lineman Sammie Hill blocked kicker Josh Scobee's 55-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining, and Bradley said the block came about because of a combination of a slightly low kick and defensive penetration. "Our protection, we may have to take a look at," Bradley said. …

*Bradley said the lack of time outs at the end of the game, as well the worry about a possible penalty, caused the team not to try one more play before allowing Scobee to kick the 55-yard field goal. "The concern would be with no timeouts if there was a penalty," Bradley said. "I know you shouldn't think that way, but in that situation, with no timeouts, that was the challenge." …

*Bradley said missed tackles, an issue early in the season that had improved in recent weeks, were again a problem, with coaches counting 15 on Sunday. …

*Bradley said the offense's 27 first downs and Bortles' 70 percent completion percentage were positives, as well as the offense converting eight of 15 third downs. "There are some good things that we can build off of that show improvement," he said.…

*Bradley said the defense performed well on third down, allowing three of 11 conversions, but he also said the team needs to force more turnovers. The defense has forced four turnovers this season, one since Week 1, and did not have a takeaway Sunday. "That affects the starting field position and trickles down that way," Bradley said. …

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