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The Day After, Part II: Turnovers upsetting to Bortles


JACKSONVILLE – The voice was new, but the stance remained the same.

With Head Coach Gus Bradley out with the flu, the Jaguars' offensive and defensive coordinators spoke to the media Monday a day after a loss to the Miami Dolphins at EverBank Field.

With rookie quarterback Blake Bortles' three turnovers against Miami the primary next-day topic, it was offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch who perhaps drew the most attention on Monday, with Fisch's thoughts on the issue reflecting Bradley's from the day before:

While confidence remains high in Bortles, the turnovers must be reduced.

Fisch was as clear of this Monday as Bradley was Sunday, and Fisch said, too, that Bortles' focus is very much on the issue.

"He's upset about it," Fisch said a day after Bortles threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in a 27-13 loss. "He said that after the game. He said it this morning when he and I met, and when we met with the quarterbacks.

"He knows it's not something we're going to dwell on, but it's also something that we need to learn from and try to protect the football better."

Fisch detailed Bortles' two interceptions against Miami, saying that on the first – which was returned 81 yards for a second-quarter touchdown by safety Louis Delmas – the defender made a good play.

"We were running a bootleg to the left," Fisch said. "The corner made a really good play on it.  He (Bortles) was trying to throw the over route to the tight end. The guy kind of fell off the flat and got right in front of it. I think it was a really good play defensively by them."

Fisch called the second interception "one we can't have."

On the play, cornerback Brent Grimes intercepted and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown that gave Miami a 17-3 lead early in the third quarter. Bortles threw to wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, trying a back-shoulder throw to the right sideline while throwing from the left side of the field.

"It's too far of a throw," Fisch said. "It gives them too much time to react, and when they react to those types of plays, they usually don't end well."

Added Fisch, "That's something we need to get out of our arsenal."

Fisch said he felt Bortles responded fine after the interceptions, completing 18 of 34 passes for 221 yards and a 48-yard fourth-quarter touchdown to rookie wide receiver Allen Robinson.

"I don't think it affected him," Fisch said. "It certainly didn't seem like it affected him."

Fisch said he believes Bortles is learning from the mistakes, and that the rookie "knows that they hurt us, and it's not something we want to live in, that world."

"We have to continue to minimize when they come and where they come," Fisch said. "He's going to learn from it and he's going to have to experience it."

The Jaguars on Sunday outgained the Dolphins 377-326, but scored just three points in the first half despite five drives past the Miami 38-yard line. Players after the game Sunday talked more about missed opportunities than Bortles' interception, and Fisch agreed that finishing drives remains a priority.

"We moved the ball up and down the field," Fisch said. "Our first five possessions all ended inside the (40)-yard line. You just can't walk away with three points when you end there. We need to find a way to get in that end zone, and obviously worst-case scenario walk away with 15 points.

"But we need to make sure we find a way to end every series with a kick, whether that be a field goal, punt or extra point."

Also around the Jaguars Monday:

*Tight end Marcedes Lewis was cleared to return to practice. The ninth-year veteran is on the injured reserve-designated to return list with a high-ankle sprain. He said he expects to practice limited Wednesday with the idea of being ready to return against Indianapolis November 23. That's the first game Lewis can play under the league's IR-designated to return policy. "It's important for me to get back," Lewis said. "I'm working just as hard to get back as I do on the football field." …

*Fisch said he had backup quarterback Chad Henne talk to Bortles after the second interception, saying, "I think there are some times you don't need to talk to dad. Sometimes you talk to big brother. Chad is such a calming person, and has seen it as a starter and a backup." …

*With cornerback Will Blackmon out an extended period with a fractured finger, defensive coordinator Bob Babich said safety Sherrod Martin is an option to play Blackmon's nickel back role, as is rookie Aaron Colvin. Blackmon has played the nickel the first eight games of the season. Colvin has spent the first eight games on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but could be activated in the next two weeks. "Will has done a fine job but we'll see how it plays out here," Babich said. …

*The Jaguars signed safety Matt Daniels to the practice squad. He has played six games with St. Louis the past two seasons after signing with the Rams as a collegiate free agent from Duke in 2012. …

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