Despite a league-low 31 points and no signs of progress through four lopsided losses, Bradley remains upbeat and consistent.
He’s sticking to the process. And he’s trying to get his players to do the same even though he acknowledges that it is human nature for them to start questioning things as the losses mount and the talk shifts to whether the Jaguars will win a game this season.
“It is a results league and we’re trying to stay away from that,” Bradley said Monday. “Not that that’s not important. It’s very important to us, but we feel the quickest way to get there is our process. But I understand that’s in the back of their heads. We’ll utilize that. If there is some frustration by the players, that’s OK as long as we utilize that to help us get better.”
Jacksonville’s latest loss was the worst of the season — so far.
Little went right in the 37-3 drubbing against Indianapolis, which was the franchise’s 11th loss by at least 16 points in its last 19 games.
The Jaguars play at St. Louis on Sunday.
Maurice Jones-Drew ran 13 times for 23 yards — his lowest total in 14 career games against the Colts. The team’s offensive centerpiece is off to his worst start since his rookie season in 2006, when he played behind Fred Taylor.
Jones-Drew has 138 yards rushing and a touchdown. He’s averaging 2.4 yards a carry, and his longest run has gained 10 yards.
“It’s been pretty tough,” Jones-Drew said. “It’s been the same every year, though. People load the box when they play us. We just have to go back to what we do best and that’s all of us getting back on the same page and running the ball with a mindset of let’s get it going.”
The Jaguars never imagined they would have so much trouble running the ball. Even though Jacksonville’s offense has been one of the worst in the league the last three years, the Jaguars have always been able gain yards on the ground. And they returned four of the five starters on the offensive line who helped pave the way for Jones-Drew to lead the league in rushing in 2011.
Throw in first-round draft pick Luke Joeckel at right tackle and a new zone-blocking schemes, and Jones-Drew figured this year could be even better than 2011.
But the interior line has struggled, and tight end Marcedes Lewis being sidelined most of the season with a calf injury has only compounded the problems.
“We’ve got to figure out something,” he said. “I don’t know how many yards we had (Sunday), but that’s not going to cut it. We’ve got to continue to figure how we’re going to run the ball, how we’re going to get our playmakers the ball, our receivers, our tight ends and just continue working.”
The passing game was equally inept.
Blaine Gabbert, who missed the past two games because of a hand injury, threw three interceptions against the Colts. All of them bounced off receivers’ hands. Cecil Shorts III bobbled two of those, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
It should help that the Jaguars are getting fellow starter Justin Blackmon back this week from a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Blackmon caught 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.
“He’s done tremendous these last four weeks,” Bradley said. “The biggest thing I wanted to see from him was to compete. I know he’ll compete on the field. I want to see him compete off the field. His body fat has dropped and his weight has gained. He’s in really, really good shape right now.
“He’s done everything that we’ve asked of him. He went on the trips with us. … He’s a in a great frame of mind right now.”
Bradley insists the team is sticking together, too.
“Their attitude is great, they’re doing everything we ask, and so for their sake, you’d like to have it come together,” Bradley said. “We all want it to happen fast, but I think the biggest thing for me with this group is to stay consistent and stay strong. I believe it. That’s what I told the team: we’re going to stay strong in these areas. You can count on that.”