Thursday's roundup: Titans roll over Jags
Nashville, Tenn. — Gus Bradley isn’t worried at all about his job security as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
His quarterback Blake Bortles says he doesn’t think about that topic.
Yet, being routed by a pair of former Jaguars coaches in the span of five days can’t be very helpful to Bradley’s future in Jacksonville, and some of his other players are concerned.
After Jack Del Rio and his Oakland Raiders beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville 33-16 on Sunday, the Tennessee Titans and Mike Mularkey — the coach owner Shad Khan fired after one season — embarrassed the Jaguars 36-22 on Thursday night in a game where their play matched the flat mustard of their uniforms.
“I’m not making any excuses,” Bradley said. “It was bad.”
This loss dropped Bradley’s record in four seasons to 14-41, and he already came in with the second-worst winning percentage for any coach in NFL history with at least 50 games of experience. Only Bert Bell (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh) fared worse, and he also was the owner.
The Jaguars melted down so much late in their loss to the Raiders that Khan reportedly spoke to the Jaguars on Monday trying to learn what has gone wrong after he spent millions upgrading both the roster and their home stadium. Khan made it clear earlier this year that a winning record was the “reasonable expectation.”
Bradley said the session with Khan went about an hour.
Jacksonville already has had its bye earlier this month, and this will be the last time the Jaguars (2-5) have more than a week between games the rest of this season if Khan decides he can’t wait to make a coaching change. Asked if he expects to still be the coach when the Jaguars visit Kansas City on Nov. 6, Bradley said he does.
“I worry about this team and why did we perform like that in the first half and figuring out OK, how can we get it right?” Bradley said.
Bortles said he knows the NFL is a business. But he said the coach wasn’t the person committing penalties, turning the ball over or not making plays.
“Somebody’s got to take the blame eventually, I get that,” Bortles said.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns said he is worried about Bradley being fired.
“No matter what it is, you try not to listen to it or let it get to you, but it’s kind of impossible now,” Hurns said. “Hopefully they just stick it out with him.”
As ugly as that loss to Oakland was, the Jaguars looked even worse against the Titans.
Tennessee nearly had more points (24) than the Jaguars had total offense (29) late in the second quarter. The Jaguars did have more personal foul penalties (two) than first downs (one), and they even had the ball go off the back of Arrelious Benn’s helmet when he drew a penalty for interfering with Marc Mariani trying to catch a punt.
Jacksonville rarely threatened Marcus Mariota. He had plenty of time to throw most of the night, and he found Titans running wide-open over and over again. By halftime, Tennessee had outgained the Jaguars 354-60 and led 27-0.
“The first half was inexcusable,” Bradley said. “We didn’t come out to play. I don’t know what the answer is. Do we play with some anxiety? Yeah, I can say I felt like we pressed too much. … There’s not a lot to be said, but it wasn’t good enough obviously.”
Bortles struggled to find time to throw against Tennessee’s pass rush. He even bounced one pass after Bradley gave him a vote of confidence early this week, saying: “I firmly, firmly believe in Blake Bortles, without a doubt.”
But the Jaguars’ run game was so poor that Bortles also led them in rushing with 11 yards on two carries through three quarters. He finally helped Jacksonville avoid being shut out when he found Julius Thomas for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Bortles added a two more TDs in the final 3:11 to make the final margin more respectable.
“It’s a broken record,” Bortles said. “It’s a lack of execution, it’s dumb mistakes. The same stuff every week.”
Denver RB has surgery
C.J. Anderson was bracing for a prolonged recovery as he prepared to undergo surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee late Thursday.
Before heading into the operating room in California, the Broncos’ leading rusher tweeted thanks to his fans for their prayers: “We will not know til after the procedure if i am done for the season or if I can come back to help my team to #51.”
Anderson was Denver’s offensive star in Super Bowl 50, rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos’ 24-10 win over Carolina. That helped garner a four-year, $18-million offer from the Dolphins in restricted free agency that the Broncos matched. The front-loaded contract paid him $6 million this year.
Anderson is the Broncos’ leading rusher with 437 yards on 110 carries and four touchdowns, including a season-best 107 yards and a TD on 16 carries Monday against Houston in his best performance of the season.
Smith wants back in
Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith has applied to the NFL to be reinstated from his one-year suspension.
A person with knowledge of the application said Smith has asked commissioner Roger Goodell to be allowed back once his ban for violating the league’s substance abuse policy ends Nov. 17.
Smith was suspended for one year last November for violating the substance abuse policy. That stemmed from an arrest in August on charges of drunken driving, hit and run, and vandalism, which led to his release by the 49ers. That was Smith’s fifth run-in with the law since he joined the NFL as a first-round pick in 2011.
Washington cornerback Josh Norman and tight end Jordan Reed have been cleared to fly with the team to London for its game against Cincinnati after dealing with concussions. It’s unknown if they will play.
... Bills safety Aaron Williams intends to wait until the offseason to decide whether to continue playing after sustaining his latest neck injury.
... Vikings wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson has a concussion after his best game of 2016.