JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Last week Gus Bradley hinted that the Jaguars could use T.J. Yeldon in the red zone more often against the Chargers. That didn’t happen. The Jaguars scored just one touchdown in four trips inside the red zone and Yeldon had exactly zero touches inside the 20-yard-line. The rookie running back didn’t get a single carry or reception.
“There were a couple, there were two calls there where it was more of a run-pass option that we didn’t get it to him,” said head coach Gus Bradley when asked about Yeldon’s lack of red zone opportunities.
Lack of red zone execution isn’t a new problem from the Jaguars. In 2014 only the Jets had a worse red zone touchdown percentage. Through 11 games this season they’re scoring touchdowns on only 41.67% of their red zone opportunities. Bradley doesn’t think this issue has become a mental block.
“I think we had problems with the red zone offensively early in the year and then we seemed to get it corrected a little bit for a couple of games and now we’re back in the last two games we’ve struggled. The big thing is not to go out there and press and try to make things happen. That’s not the issue. The issue is that its tighter windows, it makes you make quicker decisions and there was times when we’ve just got to make quicker decisions.”
Making quicker decisions falls in the lap of No. 5. The Jaguars had 11 snaps inside the 20-yard line against the Chargers and they were all passes by quarterback Blake Bortles.
“No I don’t believe so,” responded Bradley when asked if he felt Bortles was second-guessing himself inside the red zone. “There were a couple of times where they dropped eight. They had a three-man rush so it makes those windows even tighter whether it’s on third down or second and long. They did have a couple of opportunities. That situation forced him to hold the ball a little bit longer.”
Sunday was the 25th start of Bortles career. The stats prove that he’s improved significantly from year on to year two. So far he’s meeting the expectations of the Jaguars brass.
“I think he’s right on pace where we thought,” said Bradley. “I think he’s doing a really good job. Yesterday, he was 61 percent completion, or low 60s, which is better than what he has been. Those things, the decision-making, but each game, there’s going to be situations that come up that maybe he’s going to look back at and wish he made a different decision. Overall, the progress he made to come back and again, we have a guy that has no fear. Even the way he extends the plays. I think that moxie and things will come even more and more times he plays.”