JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dropped passes were a problem for the Jacksonville Jaguars throughout the preseason and it has bled into the regular season.
Now that they played a critical part in the team’s 20-9 loss to Carolina on Sunday, will that be enough for the players to address the issue and get it fixed?
They are saying the correct things.
"At the end of the day we’ve got to man up to it," said receiver Allen Hurns, who dropped two passes and had a fumble. "The things that’s going on, it’s on us. You’ve got to own up to it.
"If the opportunity comes your way, you’ve got to make those plays. You can’t have a catch this play then come back and have a drop."
Receiver Allen Robinson, who dropped an easy pass along the sideline on the first play of the Jaguars’ second drive, rolled out the "it’s fixable" comment.
"That’s something in our [meeting] room that we hold ourselves to high standards," he said. "That’s something that’s easy to be fixed."
That’s true, but why hasn’t it? Why, after members of the first-team offense dropped seven passes in the preseason, do they continue to drop passes? Lack of concentration is cited, and though that sounds like a legitimate answer, it also leads to this: Why is that happening, especially at critical times in the game?
Coach Gus Bradley has a very positive attitude and also doesn’t allow any frustration he feels to show up publicly. Some might be seeping through a bit regarding the drops, though, because drops are one of the few things over which the Jaguars have complete control.
"I think we dropped three or four balls [and] three of those could have been explosive plays," Bradley said. "We are good enough to catch a ball. We do it in practice. We need to carry those things over to the game field. If we do that, we get more explosive opportunities."
The most critical drop against the Panthers came midway through the second quarter after linebacker Paul Posluszny set the Jaguars up at the Carolina 24-yard line with a 19-yard interception return. Bortles threaded a pass between safeties Roman Harper and Kurt Coleman for what would have been a first down inside the 5-yard line, but rookie receiver Rashad Green dropped it.
Rookie kicker Jason Myers missed a 44-yard field goal on the next snap.
"We’ve got to make those plays," Bradley said. "Catch the balls that are thrown to you, that type of mentality, and I believe in these guys. Rashad Greene, I believe in him very, very strongly. He came back from that and made some good plays. Now he just needs to be more consistent, along with everybody else.
"It’s concentration and focus and things like that that. We’ve got to learn through that."