Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley on Blake Bortles: "He's Been Really Efficient"

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JAGUARS HEAD COACH GUS BRADLEY

(on Jaguars QB Blake Bortles)

He's done a nice job. He's been really efficient. I think over two games he's thrown about 70 passes, I think 70 attempts, and he's completing over 70 percent, so he's been really efficient that way. He does a good job with our system. He's handling himself really well, good poise, strongly competitive. The downside is we just had some interceptions. I think two pick-sixes, so we've just got to clean that part up. Some were on him, some we can do a better job as a receiving core, but all in all we're really pleased with his progress.

(on the decision to make Blake Bortles the quarterback over Chad Henne)

It was a couple of things. That was our plan, and that's what we'd hoped would work out was Chad (Henne) would play the whole year, because if he did, we were doing pretty well. We were on this race to maturity as we talked around here trying to get Blake (Bortles) caught up with the offense. Some of the things that we saw on tape, we felt like we could get him better at. We wanted to create an environment where he could put his sole focus on football. He progressed really fast. I think it got to the point where we felt like his body of work on the practice field, his routines, things like that were in a pretty good place. At that point, after our Washington game, I talked to Chad about it, we'll see. It could be where Chad does well, but as an offense, maybe overall, we're struggling. I just let it be known to him that at any point if we needed that boost, we felt like Blake was ready, and halfway through the Indy game we made the change.

(on the pros and cons of changing quarterbacks)

The pros were we felt like he's extremely competitive, his athleticism, he has the ability to extend plays, and he just had a really good grasp. I think the team really felt his presence. They really rallied around him. We were willing to grow with him, that was the pros. The cons, a lot of learning skills have to be taking place. Reading coverages, reading looks, decision making, things like that. I think he's fared better than what we expected, and I think he fared better than we expected through the whole process from OTAs up until that game. We have a young quarterback, we have a young team. We kind of had a plan that way. I think we have, what, six or seven rookie starters on offense, which is a little bit out of the norm, but they're all growing together, and they're getting close to where they've played enough games now where I think we're challenging them not to play like rookies anymore.

(on using a young roster to rebuild the Jaguars program)

I think one of the challenges we've seen when we first got hired in Jacksonville is there was some inconsistency. We felt like what we wanted to do was really get faster as a team. Ideally, you want to be an experienced, fast team. We're trying to get faster and grow through that experience to where consistently year in and year out, we have a team that can compete at the highest level. I think to plug guys in here and there, that's good, but overall philosophy was really to get younger and faster. The supplement was some free agency, but more so as we developed our young guys, looked to do that more in some of the holes that we have to fill.

(on picking up undrafted players)

I challenged our coaching staff, and they've done a really good job as far as being developmental coaches. I think sometimes in college, it's the mindset of you have them for four years or five years or sometimes three, but generally coaches in college have the mindset that this is who we have, it's all we have, and it's our job to get them better. I think predominantly in the NFL it's more so this is who we have, and if we don't like him, get somebody else in. I think we're trying to change that or at least have the mindset as a coaching staff to have that more college mindset as far as really working to develop our players. Every player that we have in, regardless, I know we've had a number of roster changes, at least to have that mindset as a coaching staff that this is who we have, it's all we have, and it's our job to get them better. I think it's helped us. It keeps our mind open to everybody and allows free agents to really work hard to develop them. We have guys like (Allen) Hurns, Demetrius McCray, who was a service team player of the week, and now he's a starting corner. We feel like some development is taking place with some of our younger guys, but it is a challenge.

(on beating the Titans last season as an encouragement for this season)

I think I can speak for us, we're a totally different team than we were last year. I think we have 10 new starters on offense compared to last year. We are a different team. A lot of our guys weren't here, so it's completely different. I know when I look at Tennessee and their offense and defense, you see some talented players that I'm sure Coach Whisenhunt does a great job. He's changing the culture of how he wants it, and these guys, you're seeing them develop. Some of these draft picks, you're seeing them develop and they're becoming really good players, and it's the consistency that we all work hard at.

(on the difficulty of being patient when changing a team's culture)

What I've learned is that it really challenges your conviction and how strong are you with the process, what you're trying to do. There's always going to be challenges. There's going to be disappointments if you're struggling or disappointments if you're doing really well, and it's how we handle them that I think is important. I've kind of seen a little change in our team. I think what I've seen is the disappointments hurt and our players are feeling that hurt, and it's become where I think we've had good locker room, good friendships, but I think there needs to be something stronger, more so like a family where you challenge one another and you hold each other accountable. I'm seeing that take place within our team, and that's part of the culture, where there's enough trust that we feel like we can challenge one another. Because of that, it allows growth to take place, and that's where we're at right now.

(on the impact of the Titans losing Bernard Pollard)

He's a talented player. He's a presence back there, an enforcer, very physical. Anytime there's an injury like that to a starter, that can hurt a team. As we've seen in the NFL, there's countless stories of guys that stepped up and are given the opportunity to play at a high level. It's unfortunate for them because of what he brings to the team, but it's the NFL and we respect the next player who's up.

(on preparing to face both Jake Locker and Charlie Whitehurst)

We're going into it, we studied both of them, studied their strengths and what they bring. They are different. I was with Charlie (Whitehurst) up in Seattle, so I know what he brings to a team. I think we had a big win our last game of the season up in Seattle when Charlie started and led us to a victory. I hold him in high regard. Both quarterbacks are talented, they're both a different threat. It's a challenge when you've got to prepare for both of them.

(on Charlie Whitehurst as a backup quarterback)

I think he's got a great understanding of their offense. I think what Charlie (Whitehurst) brings, he's got really, really good poise and good understanding. It's obviously not too big for him, and you're not going to face a quarterback that's going to be in the situation for the first time. He's been in the league a long time, so I think he will bring calmness to their team. Looking at his stats, 378 yards and his completion percentage and the touchdowns, the interceptions, I think he plays like he has a really good understanding of the offense.

(on the Jaguars' running game)

We understand each of them have their strengths, but it would be good to have someone kind of take it over. We're trying to figure that out as a team, as well. That's why you saw Storm Johnson get some reps last week. I think we're learning our guys, we're learning what they're strengths are, what they do well, and challenging them to step up, each one of them. The spot is open.

(on Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts playing this weekend)

Cecil (Shorts), I wish I could tell you, we're trying to figure that out as well. We'll see how this week goes, see how he comes back. I know he was working out last week. Just how far along he is, we'll probably have a better feel on Friday. With that, we've got Allen Hurns. Allen Hurns has done a really good job in preseason, first couple of games. He struggled last week, but we've got great faith in him, and he'll bounce back. Allen Robinson is a guy that every week has gotten better. I think he's starting to understand some things. We're careful not to load their plates up too full, but we are challenging them. A good group. Marqise Lee, we'll see how he is this week, but some talented guys that I think are just going through the learning process and trying to figure out the best way they can, as fast as they can, what we're asking of them.

(on the Jaguars acquiring players from Seattle)

I know those guys, and I know what they bring. I think wherever you've coached, I coached Geno Hayes and Bob Babich coached Geno Hayes, so we brought him in, and he was with Chicago. I think if you have familiarity with the guy it's important. I think we have three guys from Seattle. It's not like there's nine or 10. We just had a guy that was from Seattle, and we released him. I think it's familiarity, you know what they have, you know what they can bring, and we've got 433 roster changes over the last two years. We've brought in quite a few guys. That itself is a challenge for a team. I don't think it's just Seattle.

(on Jaguars LS Carson Tinker)

He's not just a snapper. He's very important to our team. He did a great job, competed his tail off last year when we brought him in and has done a really nice job. The guys really like him, they enjoy his personality, and he has gone through a struggle or two in his life. I think he even wrote a book on it. He's very insightful, very wise for his age and has just been a great addition to our team.

(on the number of roster changes they've had)

I think it's 435. It was brought to my attention last week. We really weren't counting, but a number like that kind of jumps out at you.

(on Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny)

He's very important. He's our captain, voted on by the team just by his play. Not a real vocal guy but just leads by his action and how he takes care of himself on and off the field. He's extremely important. We all play at a higher level. I think it was him on the field that elevates everybody. Those guys like that are special.

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