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Bradley strengthens support of Gabbert

Posted Sep 30, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars HC Gus Bradley on QB Blaine Gabbert: “I would probably be stronger now after watching the tape.”

JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley’s support for his quarterback grew Monday.

Bradley, who following a one-sided loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday told reporters he was “standing strong” with third-year starting veteran Blaine Gabbert as the Jaguars’ quarterback, a day later said he felt more strongly.

“I would probably be stronger now after watching the tape,” the Jaguars’ head coach said.

Bradley, speaking a day after a 37-3 loss to the Colts at EverBank Field, said after reviewing video of the game it was difficult to lay the entire responsibility for the outcome or the offensive struggles on Gabbert.

“We may be talking (to Gabbert) about, ‘Throw the hitch and trust that it’s going to be open,’” Bradley said. “It’s hard when you watch the tape and you see that maybe the receivers – they (the opposition) had a good coverage called to that particular route.”

Gabbert completed 17 of 32 passes for 179 yards and no touchdowns with three interceptions Sunday, and after missing Weeks 2 and 3 with a lacerated hand, he has completed 33 of 67 passes for 300 yards, no touchdowns and five interceptions in two games this season.

Bradley had talked extensively last week about the need for Gabbert, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, to play with more freedom, and to not worry as much about mistakes. Bradley on Monday said he saw Gabbert doing that at times on Sunday.

“I think I saw him use some freedom,” Bradley said. “I saw him scramble around and make a play to (tight end) Clay Harbor. I saw him scramble around and throw it to (wide receiver) Ace (Sanders) on an explosive play. I saw him do some things. He took off and ran, although we have to teach him to slide better.”

Bradley also cited a fade ball early to wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, a play on which Shorts leaped for the ball and deflected it before Vontae Davis intercepted for the Colts.

“He was trying to do it,” Bradley said of Gabbert’s throw. “Now, we’d like to have it more over the top, but he’s doing those things that we’re seeing. If you watch the film in that manner, you’d say, ‘OK, we have to find ways to use his strengths and our players’ strengths.’ ”

The Jaguars rank 32nd in the NFL in total offense.

“(Offensive coordinator) Jedd (Fisch) and I had a long talk today about that, and we really spent a lot of time looking at what we do well,” Fisch said. “We did it last week, but this week we said, ‘OK, let’s do it again and go through it.’ Some things came to light for us.”

While Bradley said he will remain consistent in culture and approach, he said the coaches will spend more time this week than normal evaluating specifics of game plan. Normally, such evaluation occurs extensively mostly during the bye week.

“We continue to look at ways for us to maybe . . . develop a running game, or maybe develop a downfield passing game,” Bradley said. “We may have to look at creative ways. So, we may have to look at ways to say, ‘What really is the truth? Let’s take a look at all the tape and see where are our explosive passes coming from? Where are explosive runs coming from?’ If that’s the case, we may gear more toward that. That’s the flexibility we have to have.

“You might generally do that in the bye week. You might look at all the stats and self-scout yourself, but we’re trying to find things now. It might not be as in-depth as a bye-week study, but we still have to take a look at it.”

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