CHICAGO, Ill. – Game’s end notwithstanding, Gus Bradley liked much of Thursday.
And for the Jaguars’ head coach, that was true beyond the play not only of the Jaguars’ starting quarterback, but of the rapidly improving, highly-scrutinized player backing him up.
The Jaguars lost to the Chicago Bears, 20-19, in the second game of the 2014 preseason Thursday night, with the Bears rallying from a 19-7 deficit with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns long after the starters had left the game at Soldier Field.
The two late touchdowns gnawed at Bradley afterward.
“It was unfortunate that it ended the way it did,” Bradley said after the Jaguars outgained the Bears, 393-312, a total that included a 275-133 advantage in the first half.
But Bradley said he liked the effort and energy early, when the Jaguars took a 6-0 lead and turned it into a 13-0 lead on a six-yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback
The Jaguars never lost that lead through the first three quarters, and led by 12 points as the fourth quarter began. The Jaguars had beaten the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 16-10, in the preseason opener last week.
“I thought our guys came out (and played) really hard from the start,” Bradley said. “To go on the road like this is a good lesson for our young players. To go out and play with the same emotion and enthusiasm that we do at home – I thought that part was good.”
Henne completed 12 of 17 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, a significant statistical improvement from a 4-of-7-for-30-yard performance in the preseason opener.
“We got more opportunities,” Henne said. “The tempo helped out. Overall, we got the ball moving and got in our regular offense.”
Bradley, as he has done throughout the offseason, emphasized that Henne is the team’s starting quarterback. That remained a topic after Friday’s game, with backup
“We feel very strongly about Chad,” Bradley said.
Bradley also said the Jaguars’ running game took a step forward Thursday, rushing 28 times for 92 yards. Running back
The Jaguars also had eight explosive plays, with seven in the first three quarters.
“I thought we moved the ball better,” Bradley said. “We really made an emphasis on running the ball and trying to establish the run.”
Bradley also said he liked the run defense early, noting that much of the Bears’ effectiveness came late in the game.
“I know it’s preseason, but we’re building a mentality,” Bradley said. “We want to play with great enthusiasm, great confidence, play smart. We’ll go anywhere to do that. This was just another opportunity for us to showcase that.”
Bradley pulled safety
On the play, Guy hit Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery when Jeffery was already down.
The play assisted the Bears’ first-half touchdown drive. Bradley pulled Guy from the game for one play, replacing him with
“He made a mistake,” Bradley said. “We brought him off the field, and then he had to go back on. I said, ‘Now, calm down. You have to go out there, forget it, next play.’’’
Said Guy, “It was great. I didn’t want to come out, but he talked to me and said, ‘This is one of those adversity situations.’ He wanted me to refocus my mind. I did that and went out there and just kept playing.”
The Jaguars rotated the interior of the offensive line significantly Thursday, starting
“We’re just trying to find the best combination,” Bradley said. “We’re pleased with Mike Brewster, but we want to see other guys just to have some versatility.”
1. Bradley said one positive was the chance to get the team’s “Cheetah” group in the game. The package features four Leo pass rushers, and is a variation on the team’s three-Leo “Lightning package. “It will be good to evaluate them.”
2. The Jaguars also committed 14 penalties for 141 yards. “We’ll go back and evaluate that,” Bradley said. “There are going to be some called in a game, but it’s the foolish penalties we have to take a look at. It didn’t show up last week but this week it did.” …
3. The Jaguars originally planned to play Henne the entire first half and Bortles much of the second. Instead Bortles entered the game with 3:55 remaining in the second quarter. Bradley said the move was made because the first-team offense had run 30 plays, which was around the ideal number for that unit Friday. …
4. Lee caught four passes for 27 yards after not catching a pass in the preseason opener. “You could see in his demeanor his confidence grew as the game went on,” Bradley said of Lee. …
Bowanko sustained an ankle sprain in the third quarter and did not return after being assisted from the field by trainers.
1. Gerhart on a first-quarter 18-yard gain: “It was power, my bread-and-butter I guess from the old days. It was nicely-blocked, he hit right through it and it was a big gain.”
2. Gerhart on Henne: “That’s one of Chad’s greatest attributes: his command of the offense and his leadership. He’s in control, he knows what he wants and he’s checking to the right things and making the offense go.”
3. Henne on Lee: “Marqise has done a great job all camp. We expect a lot out of him and he showed it tonight that he’s a great playmaker and he’s going to get in the end zone a lot.”
Zane Beadles(@zanebeadles) August 15, 2014
The Jaguars will visit the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich., Friday at 7:30 p.m.