JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With the way the Jaguars offense performed a year ago, and with the addition of a couple free-agent starters in tackle Kelvin Beachum and running back Chris Ivory, Jacksonville was of the belief that this year's offense would be among the league's best.
Just worry about the defense, was the mantra, and the offense will hold up its end.
Three games into the 2016 season, that's not the belief any more.
Instead, the first question being raised about why the Jaguars are 0-3 for the third time in the Gus Bradley coaching era is, what's wrong with the offense? More specifically, what the heck is wrong with quarterback Blake Bortles?
Bortles' totals of 843 yards and 5 touchdowns with a completion percentage of just over 61 percent don't appear to be a step back. But six costly interceptions, including one in the first quarter of each game, eats into a QB rating which stands at a pedestrian sub-80 figure.
It's more than just the numbers that appear on paper, however.
Clock management, game control, finding the open receiver and knowing when to throw the ball away to avoid a sack all have to be taken into account. The latter category is one that quarterbacks generally improve on the longer they're in the league, but Bortles appears to be stepping back three games into his third season as the Jaguars starting quarterback.
Bortles passed for a franchise record 4,428 yards and the league's second highest TD total (35), also a new team mark, in 2015. While he threw 18 interceptions, no one seemed to make much of that figure as long as he was moving the offense and scoring points. And while Bortles is on pace to eclipse his passing yardage from a year ago, he's also on pace for the touchdowns to drop into the mid-20s and the interceptions to jump into the 30-range.
That's why the Jaguars offense, and Bortles in particular, are under fire after just three games.
"We had unbelievable field position and continued to tremendously underachieve as an offense," Bortles said after the 19-17 loss to Baltimore in Week 3. "That's nobody's fault outside of mine, I believe. I think Olly (offensive coordinator Greg Olson) called some plays that put us in good positions and we didn't get it done.
"We had way too many turnovers, played careless with the ball. We've got to continue to work and try to establish a running game, but there are times when that's not going to work, so you have to win in a different way. Whether it's throwing or doing different stuff, you've got to find a way to win and we haven't done that yet."
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley would like to see more results out of his quarterback but also feels he's doing a lot for the offense right now.
"He's hurting, no doubt about it. He puts some weight on his shoulders like any NFL quarterback," Bradley said. "He's going to be his own worst critic and if there's criticism, he's going to accept that. He's put a lot on himself right now because he wants to play better and give more to this team.
"When you look at the whole game, you see some great throws and how he extended some plays. But like everybody you want more. For Blake, he knows there were some missed opportunities out there for explosive plays. We only had three explosive plays on offense and that's not who we are."
The Jaguars now prepare for their annual trek across the ocean to London, where they'll meet the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. While Jacksonville has built a good fan base overseas, Bortles likely won't encounter anywhere near the public criticism that he took from this latest loss.
It should put him in a more relaxed atmosphere where he can play his normal game. It could be the perfect setting for what the Jaguars quarterback needs to get back on track and get his harshest critics off his back.