JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Emotions were still running high Monday at the stadium after the Jaguars watched video of their loss to Indianapolis in overtime. Fans, players, and coaches all seemed to feel the same way: confused and disappointed.
"It's a tough game to watch," head coach Gus Bradley admitted in his opening statement during his Monday press conference. "I think we had a great opportunity yesterday with our team and the way we wanted to approach it and go about it. I truly felt we missed it, it got away from us and it's very disappointing."
"We missed it," was a theme running through Bradley's observation of the game. A chance to win, slipping away through inconsistency and a myriad of other problems. Last year, the Jaguars were the least penalized team in the league. This year is a different story. They're on pace to give up over 1,300 penalty yards after 13 flags were thrown against them on Sunday.
"There's self-inflicted wounds that are hurting us badly," Bradley explained. I look at one drive defensively, (5 penalties for 42 yards on the Colts only TD drive) Good teams consistently don't have even a series like that so far too many penalties in that situation."
It is interesting that Bradley uses the phrase "good teams" when he's outlining how things should go versus how the Jaguars are playing. There are flashes, and perhaps that's what the realistic expectation should be for a team with a second-year quarterback and with their best players rehabilitating injuries. But even Bradley admitted he was confused after seeing the game a day later at how on one series the Jaguars could be so solid and in the next, clueless.
"Yeah, disappointing because we did miss it (an opportunity). I'm probably a little confused like our fan base is. When you see good plays, when you see big plays, when you see guys taking shots or guys making plays and it feels like it should, and then you don't see the consistency."
If "precision" was the word last week, "consistency" was what was lacking against the Colts. Offensively, Blake Bortles had a strong first half, taking the team to a 13-10 lead going to the break. While it could have been more, it still was a lead. Nonetheless, not getting more points in the first half lead to more inconsistency in the second half, perhaps because they were pressing and eventually the game came down to a kick. Or two.
Bradley saw the same thing we did. "Offensively we moved the ball but the issue is this; in the first half I think we had first and ten on the six, first and ten on the 13, we had first and ten on the 16 and came away with two field goals and a touchdown. We've got to score more points than that. Its self-inflicted wounds again; botched snap, not handling it right, penalties, disciplined and staying focused throughout."
And while social media was flooded with "Bring back Scobee" talk, Bradley reiterated his support for Jason Myers, despite missing two game winning kicks.
"I think when we first signed Jason and we made that decision we knew that there was going to be some waves I think that we were going to have to go through. I like his mentality, we're very confident in him and he had an unfortunate day yesterday.. We know with a younger kicker like this he's going to go through some of these situations."
No team wants the game to come down to a kick, especially one from around 50 yards. The Jaguars are no different and there were numerous opportunities lost all over the field "There were mistakes made out there by multiple players." Bradley agreed. "They took their turns, and his is more visual. Everybody saw it. I think we just have faith in his demeanor."
"I think it's a work in progress, I do. To say that it's like a well-oiled machine where we've been together for seven or eight years, no it's not that but I'm seeing good signs. But also to be real I've seen some signs that are disappointing, It has the capabilities, we're just not seeing it consistently."
So again this week, Bradley will ask his team to bounce back, but in a very different way than after the loss to New England.
"Both are tough. It's tough, it really is. I think games like these, they really challenge your conviction and how you want to approach it. I do know that it might be where everybody wants us to become negative, but I know becoming negative isn't going to work. Challenging our guys and demanding that we do things right and are disciplined and focused, that's what we need."