In his comments right after the loss to the Falcons on Sunday, Head Coach Gus Bradley said “this stings” and “we’ll look at it but there are a lot of plays we left out there.”
After looking at it, Bradley thought the same thing. Lots of opportunities lost.
“Right now all that is on my mind is how are we going to start faster, how are we going to take care of third downs to where it’s a nonissue and consistently playing at a high level,” he said on Monday “That’s the areas that we really need to attack right now; tighter coverage in the secondary and with our underneath coverage, so that part is what all of our emphasis is on.”
Without a third down conversion on offense the entire game and not being able to get off the field on defense on third down, it’s hard to start fast or score points with any consistency.
Bradley admitted the Jaguars were on the precipice of grabbing momentum going into the locker room at halftime but the interception thrown by Blake Bortles on the goal line sapped some of the Jaguars energy.
“In that situation throw it away and let’s live to fight another play,” Gus explained. “Also in that situation he could look backside. There’s a possibility of looking backside with the one on one. There were multiple things we could have done.”
Bradley is harping on the learning curve that’s still going on with his young team and his quarterback.
“I think the learning part of that situation was there’s more plays. We’ve got a couple of more plays here. If it’s not there we appreciate your competitiveness and wanting to make a play in that situation but if we have to throw it away we have to throw it away so he’ll learn from that.”
Although the interception by Bortles was the obvious mistake, according to Bradley the whole team didn’t perform with the two things he’s looking for: consistency and precision.
“We just felt like as a team we didn’t play as efficiently and as precise as we liked to do in all situations. There are certain situations that stood out.”
A certain amount of accuracy is expected from every NFL quarterback with some able to fit the ball into smaller windows than others. Bortles wasn’t particularly accurate against Atlanta and it cost the Jaguars a couple of big plays in critical situations.
“I think if you look at the passes that we threw, that’s what took place. There were some chances for us to make some big plays, but it was either, would have been a great catch? Yes. Was it a catchable ball? Yes. It would have been a great catch. Could it have been more accurate? Yes”
Bradley was also very direct about what his defense needed to do to give the team more chances to win. “Six points in the second half did a pretty good job against an explosive team. We need to get off the field and get the offensive the ball and more opportunities and we didn’t do that. We really struggled on third down in the second half.”
And why did that happen? The same things that have cost the Jaguars in the past. Bradley thought they got away from some of the things they had accomplished in the last couple of weeks.
“It’s the discipline part; we have to execute the assignment, execute the defense’s calls,” he said with some authority as a former defensive coordinator.
“We just didn’t make plays. It comes back to footwork when you’re playing a corner instead of a six-inch step, it was an eight-inch step and it got you a little out of whack and you didn’t get your hands up like you did in previous times. Some of those things are coming back, so it’s the consistency.”