Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles scrambles as the Dallas Cowboys' Jourdan Lewis closes in during their game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on October 14, 2018. Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone couldn't have been any more blunt on Monday when meeting with local media and rehashing his team's performance in a 40-7 loss to Dallas on Sunday. That lopsided loss came on the heels of a similar beating administered by Kansas City the week before.
A talented defense that two weeks ago led the NFL with the lowest average on points and total yards allowed has suffered back-to-back meltdowns. In the last two games, both on the road, the Jaguars have allowed a total of 70 points and 802 total yards. The offense can point to 21 points it scored and 706 yards it totaled, but don't be fooled by those numbers. All of the points and a majority of the yards came after halftime when the Chiefs and Cowboys were willing to give up short passes and were only concerned about getting beat deep. The Jaguars offense failed to show any resolve in the first 30 minutes of the two games as they failed to score before intermission in both games, the first time that's happened in two decades.
As for Marrone, he stated the obvious and included himself as among those who need to do a better job.
"Obviously, talking about the game and even (the last) two weeks, we haven't performed well," the Jaguars coach said. "When you're playing poorly as a team or coaching poorly, you have to take a good look at yourself. I really have always believed and I told this to the team, 'If you come out there and you're not ready to play, that's all on me.' There is no doubt about it. I have to take a good look at what we do, and I have to do a better job. It goes down (the team). It goes down to the coordinators next. They have to do a better job. The coaches, the assistant coaches have to do a better job. We have to play better as a team. I think that's what it is.
"We have not played well. It's a challenge. Is it a concern? Yes. I'm not going to stand here and say, 'Hey, everything is fine. We will be OK.' We are not. But, in saying that, the only way you go ahead and get through this stuff is you've got to work harder. You have to put more in. You have to make the plays. You have to be able to perform. You have to do all of those things and that is exactly how it is. It doesn't take a rocket scientist. We are not a well-coached team and that starts with the coaches. That starts with me first. I am accountable to all of it."
Whether Marrone's message to the team has an impact remains to be seen. The Jaguars have a number of concerns in all three phases of the game -- offense, defense and special teams. How quickly they can be remedied will determine what direction the Jaguars season goes the final 10 games.
Marrone feels there's a simple solution to the Jaguars woes, but it involves a number of groups to improve their play.
"We know we have to play better in all three phases," Marrone said. "I know that I have to coach better. We as coaches have to coach better. It is not going to be one entity. It is not going to be the coaches just have to do a better job or the players have to go out there and perform. I know a lot of people say that about the players, but it is going to take all of us. You rely on this team more than the other team, as far as the three groups of special teams, offense and defense."
Free safety Tashaun Gipson is one of the veteran leaders, often serving as a spokesman for the secondary. It's a talented group with three of the four starters having been named to the Pro Bowl at least once in their career. Gipson also had some strong comments on Monday regarding the Jaguars locker room. They came less than 24 hours after the secondary had been torched for 172 passing yards and two TD passes.
"We have a mature group of guys in this locker room. By the end of the day, I think the guys will truly bounce back and get this thing headed in the right direction," Gipson said. "It's nothing I'm not too concerned about. We've got mature guys in here that know how to handle adversity and adversity is definitely hitting this locker room right now. It's definitely uncharacteristic for us to get beat like that but that's the only answer I can give you because that's what I believe.
"I still believe we have the guys to turn things around. Nobody is panicking right now. Are we frustrated, are we pissed off? Absolutely, but no one is panicking. There's not a panic button that anyone is reaching for, at least there isn't in my mind. Everyone in the division except the Colts is 3-3, so if you get into the playoffs, anything can happen there. My positive outlook about things right now is that we're 0-0, we're all in a deadlock. We still have time, we have 10 games left, but we also don't want things to get out of control."
Players and coaches alike know what must be done. But knowing it and doing it are often on different pages. The Jaguars need everyone on the same page and that includes players and coaches.
--WR/PR Jaydon Mickens became the eighth starter or top reserve to be placed on the Jaguars injured reserve list following an ankle injury suffered in the Dallas game. Mickens had yet to catch a pass this season but had been the team's starting punt returner. He finishes the season with 12 returns for 59 yards with a long return of 16 against the Patriots.
--WR Rashad Greene was re-signed by the Jaguars to take Jaydon Mickens' spot on the roster. Greene was released a week ago and will now compete with a couple other wide receivers (Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark) for the punt return job.
--LS Matt Overton saw his first action of the year in Sunday's game against the Cowboys. Overton was signed to the roster when regular long-snapper Carson Tinker was placed on IR for the second year in a row.
--TE Niles Paul suffered a knee injury in last Sunday's game with the Cowboys, the severity of which isn't known yet. Marrone said that Paul would be observed for the next couple of days before a decision is made as to his status.
--DE Yannick Ngakoue has come alive after a slow start. Ngakoue, who recorded 12 sacks a year ago, failed to record a sack in his first three games this year. But in the three games since then, he's been credited with four sacks.
--OT Ereck Flowers was signed by the Jaguars late last week, picking up the former Giants starting left tackle who was released by New York earlier in the week. Flowers is a former first-round selection (9th overall in the 2015 draft) who played in five games this season, with one of his two starts coming in the season-opener against Jacksonville.
--OT Josh Wells, who started three games before he suffered a groin injury against Kansas City, was placed on injured reserve. Flowers was added to the Jaguars roster when Wells went on IR.
--RB Leonard Fournette ran in practice on Monday. "We'll see how he progresses the rest of the week," said head coach Doug Marrone about Fournette possibly playing in Sunday's game against Houston.
--PK Josh Lambo failed to add to his field-goal streak of 19 consecutive field goals when the Jaguars failed to call his number for a try in Sunday's game.