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A great opportunity

Posted Oct 27, 2012

Jaguars to visit Green Bay Sunday trying to get a victory “we so desperately need”

Paul Posluszny’s not hearing it.

And even if the veteran linebacker does happen to hear it, he and his Jaguars teammates darned sure don’t accept the commonly held belief that they have little or no chance this Sunday.

Yes, they know the record of the teams.

And yes, they know the general perception that the Jaguars – playing without Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew and having lost three consecutive games – will have trouble matching up with a team and an offense widely considered one of the NFL’s best.

But that’s perception.

Posluszny said the reality is that it’s the NFL, and that means it’s professional football, which means any team can play with any other – and that very much includes the Jaguars Sunday.

“We don’t view it that way,” Posluszny said as the Jaguars (1-5) prepared to play the Packers (4-3) at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday at 1 p.m.

“If you look at our roster top to bottom, everybody can run. Everybody’s big. Everybody has size. The NFL is so close between winning and losing and the margin for error is so small that we are never outmatched no matter who we play. It will never be that way.”

That’s true even considering that many, many people feel differently.

The Packers not only finished 15-1 last season and won the Super Bowl following the 2010 season, they are again one of the NFL’s most dangerous teams. While they are 4-3 and in third place in the NFC North, they lost a controversial game at Seattle and quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains one of the NFL’s most-effective offensive weapons.

Rodgers has completed 183 of 262 passes for 1,979 yards and 19 touchdowns with four interceptions this season, with wide receiver Jordy Nelson having caught 40 passes for 532 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Randall Cobb has 37 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns, with wide receiver James Jones having caught 29 passes for 323 yards and seven touchdowns.

“I think they just have guys out there that are weapons that he (Rodgers) trusts that are going to be in the right spot,” Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said. “He’s always been an accurate quarterback. He’s got great confidence.”

The Jaguars enter the game with serious injury issues that extend beyond Jones-Drew.

Not only is the three-time Pro Bowl running back out with a sprained foot, starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert will start despite a shoulder injury sustained last week against Oakland. He practiced full throughout the week.

Safety Dwight Lowery is out for a second consecutive game with an ankle injury, and the Jaguars’ starting cornerbacks – Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis – are questionable entering the weekend with back and groin injuries. The Jaguars on Friday re-signed cornerback Kevin Rutland, and Mularkey said the status of Cox and Mathis will be determined as the game approaches.

The same is true of wide receiver Laurent Robinson, as well as fullback Greg Jones, while two-time Pro Bowl fullback/special teams player Montell Owens is listed as doubtful entering the game.

The Jaguars have lost their last three games since a Week 3 loss to Indianapolis, and while the offense is ranked 32nd in the NFL and playing without their most high-profile player, players this week said those things aren’t the focus. Because they can’t be.

“We’re in a bad spot,” said running back Rashad Jennings, who will make a second start of the season in place of Jones-Drew Sunday. “We’re not winning but there’s nothing that we can do but continue to press on and try to make the improvements that we need to make."

“We finally played a solid game on defense (against Oakland) which was positive for us to see," Posluszny said. "We didn’t get the results that we wanted and we gave up too many points, but we finally made some of the plays that we hadn’t made so far up until this point in the season.

“So bad record, yeah, but we’re going to continue to fight and continue to try to get things moving in the right direction. . . .I would say regardless if we got criticism or we got praise it’s about getting a win on the board and that’s what we’re not doing right now. So as grown men in this locker room we’re taking it amongst ourselves to go out here and get a win.”

And whatever the perception outside the team, those inside the team see it that way – that whatever the record and circumstance, Sunday is an opportunity, and one of which they hope to take advantage.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri said. “It’s a great challenge and a great opportunity for us to get a win we so desperately need. A win against a team of this caliber would be just what the doctor ordered. From our standpoint, we’re looking it at as a chance to – again – get things turned around against a really good team.”


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