Gus Bradley: Jaguars too cautious on offense

Receiver Allen Hurns had two dropped passes in the Jaguars' season opener against Carolina. Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley thinks he knows why his offense performed so poorly in Sunday's 20-9 loss to Carolina.

The players were too tentative and worried about screwing up rather than just doing what they had been doing in practice and the preseason. It's not the same as playing scared, but it's still pretty concerning.

"As an offense we played very cautiously," Bradley said Monday. "We didn't want to make mistakes. I thought that some of the things that we saw in practice carried over to the preseason. In practice, we saw them do a bunch of really good things. Those things carried over to the preseason games. Our hope and our thought was that it would carry over to the regular season and it didn't.

"It didn't carry over to the game and that part was frustrating."

Here's what playing cautiously got the Jaguars at EverBank Field:

-- Four dropped passes, including two by Allen Hurns.

-- Two interceptions by Blake Bortles, including a pick-six.

-- A fumble by Hurns.

-- Five sacks allowed, including two by left tackle Sam Young, who was in the game as an injury replacement for Luke Joeckel.

-- Only 65 yards of total offense and never driving past their own 44-yard line in the second half.

"Obviously we didn't make as many plays as we would have wanted, especially in the second half," guard Zane Beadles said. "For whatever reason we didn't get in a good tempo. We didn't get in a rhythm and that definitely hurt us. When things are hitting on all cylinders and you're in a good rhythm and things are rolling, it's a lot easier to be flying around."

Bradley clarified he didn't have any issues with the plays offensive coordinator Greg Olson called. This is on the players. There were opportunities to make throws down the field, but Bortles either went with another read, threw it poorly (the one down the sideline to Allen Robinson is the most notable), or was victimized by a drop.

Bortles was not as decisive as he was during the preseason and that's puzzling because his confidence and willingness to take risks are two of the traits the Jaguars really liked about him coming out of Central Florida. However, Bradley said Bortles and the rest of the offense failed to respond well after Bortles threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown on their first drive of the third quarter.

The Jaguars punted on their next three drives.

"We talked about adversity is going to come our way," Bradley said. "Adversity did come our way with the interception in the second half for a touchdown, and I don't know if we could say we quickly recovered from that.

"Sometimes misfortune happens but how you adjust and how you handle it is even more important. I didn't feel like we handled it very well."

Bradley admitted that maybe there was a sense of confidence among the offensive players that eroded quickly after back-to-back three-and-outs to start the game and because of the drops and turnovers.

"The first game, sometimes it can give you a false sense of where you're at in the preseason," Bradley said. "There are some unknowns going into the regular season. You try to find out things. Now we know. We went through a game and we understand where we are and what we need to do. Now, it's just a matter of addressing it."

And not being cautious any longer.