The Jaguars have misplaced 4 straight. They nonetheless consider in their very own potential

To grasp how far the Jacksonville Jaguars have come, look again to January, throughout their end-of-season media availability for the 2021 marketing campaign.  

Then-interim head coach Darrell Bevell and gamers judged their season, a dropping one at 3-14 crammed with dysfunction, by the lens of the closeness of their locker room and the way they confirmed up every day. Because the 12 months concluded with a surprising victory over the Indianapolis Colts, ending the AFC South foe’s hopes of constructing the playoffs, cornerback Tyson Campbell stated, “I was just happy to see us do well in the last game.” Linebacker Damien Wilson (now with the Carolina Panthers ) stated the win was necessary in that it confirmed the franchise that it will probably beat groups within the division and play with extra consistency. 

Lots of the remarks had been typical of a dropping crew: discovering ethical victories within the small issues; little speak of successful at a excessive stage. 

“I think the question that you guys kept asking me was, ‘what do these guys have to play for? What do they have to play for?’ Right?” Bevell stated of successful within the 2021 season finale. “It showed you right there that they did have a lot to play for. … Out of the playoffs. A divisional opponent. To be able to get those guys when a lot of people thought there wasn’t a lot to play for, I think that’s really what I’d like to hang my hat on.”

The present Jaguars dangle their hats on extra than simply pleasure. 

They dangle their hats on successful, too. 

Simply take a look at edge rusher Josh Allen, one of many leaders of the crew, visibly pissed off, speaking about Jacksonville’s struggles ending video games after Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the New York Giants — not solely their fourth straight loss, however their fourth straight loss by one possession. 

There was urgency in his voice. 

“It’s not a, ‘we gonna be aight. We gonna be good. We have to move forward.’ We have to figure this s–t out. Right now,” Allen stated. “It’s going to take everybody in this locker room to figure it out right now, coaches included. We have to figure this out right now. It’s important to us, important to this team.” 

At 2-5 and tied for the league’s longest dropping streak, the 2022 Jaguars may simply be chalked up as “the same ol’ Jags.” However they’ve tasted success below new coach Doug Pederson, who’s introduced stability to the franchise. They received back-to-back video games by 20-plus factors early within the season after not successful one recreation by 20 in 5 years. 

Albeit for a quick time, Jacksonville was buzzing, with an ascending Trevor Lawrence taking part in environment friendly soccer and a protection limiting factors and creating takeaways. In September, Lawrence was the AFC Offensive Participant of the Month and linebacker Devin Lloyd was the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Month. 

The Jaguars nonetheless consider they’re that crew that caught everybody’s eyes at the beginning of the 12 months. 

“You just have to move on to the next one and go get the next one and just get some of this momentum back because we really believe we’re a great team,” Lawrence stated Sunday. “When we put it all together, we are. I think that’s important. … I believe that we’re going to do it, and we just have to go do it.”

Did nationwide media hype from the two-game successful streak get to the Jaguars’ heads? No, based on receiver Christian Kirk.

“We feel like the underdog always and we’re always going to be the underdog,” he stated earlier this month, after Jacksonville’s loss to Philadelphia, the beginning of the skid. “And we’re just going to keep fighting to prove to ourselves that we can be the team that we know we can be. When we’re at our best, we feel like we can play with anybody.”

Rediscovering that success ought to begin on protection for the Jaguars. Via the primary 5 video games of the season, Jacksonville had 9 takeaways and was permitting simply 16 factors and 313.8 yards per recreation. Within the final two video games, the Jaguars allowed 28.5 factors and 435 yards per contest. They have not pressured a turnover in three weeks. 

Pederson acknowledged that groups have been taking part in with extra tempo and utilizing the fast passing recreation and RPOs to neutralize the Jaguars’ defensive entrance. 

However he additionally sees methods to assault that. 

“Let them maybe come off the ball a little bit faster, roll off the ball, more straight rushes, whatever it is we can do to push the pocket,” Pederson stated Monday of attainable changes. “I think it’s just a matter of us sticking to our game plan, whatever the game-plan rush package is that week, and if we need to make changes in-game, we make changes in-game. Somehow let these guys free up and rush.”

There’s a mindset that the Jaguars can do it. Get the season on monitor and be one of many higher groups within the league. 

On the very least, the Jaguars have an angle that was absent in earlier seasons. 

“You should have heard the guys in the locker room after the game,” Lawrence stated. “Guys are so passionate about it. You put so much work in. That’s the cool thing is that the only thing that anybody cares about is winning. It’s not about stats. It’s not about someone getting the ball or a guy getting a bunch of sacks or whatever it is. It’s just everybody wants to win, and that’s why people are so pissed off because we’re not finding a way to do that right now. 

“It will come although,” he added. “I consider that and we simply need to go do it.” 

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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