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Looking for the positive

Posted Oct 1, 2012

Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey: "I'm always looking for a positive in everything that happens"

Paul Posluszny gets that it’s not easy to hear.

But Posluszny, the Jaguars’ middle linebacker, said while those who follow the Jaguars may not want to hear about “staying the course” following three losses in the first four games, that’s really the only approach that can be taken.

The Jaguars believe in what they do, Posluszny said. They know what they do well.

To do anything else, Posluszny said, makes little sense.

“I wish I could give you a great answer, you know what I mean?” Posluszny told reporters Monday, a day after the Jaguars’ 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field Sunday.

“I wish there was a magic thing we could do or say, but there’s nothing else to do but continue to improve on things we know we can do better.”

The Jaguars, after a come-from-behind victory over the Colts a week before, led the Bengals early on Sunday before Cincinnati scored 24 of the game’s final 27 points. Cincinnati outgained the Jaguars 382-212 and sacked quarterback Blaine Gabbert six times.

“There’s a lot of football left to be played,” Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri said. “You just go back to work. You have to go back to work, and find ways to be more efficient, and you have to get ready for your next opponent. We’re obviously frustrated and we put ourselves in this position, but we put ourselves in a hole and we have to dig ourselves out.”

The Jaguars are 1-3 at the season’s quarter mark, and while Head Coach Mike Mularkey said that was far from the goal in his first season it doesn’t mean the season is over.

“We say, ‘It’s a good thing you don’t stop the games after first quarter,’’’ Mularkey said. “We need to win some of these quarters coming up. We still have three quarters of the season to go. There’s a lot of football to be played.

“There’s a lot of things we can get better at. Fortunately, we have a lot of time to do that.”

The Jaguars, who have lost their two home games by a combined 37 points to the Texans (3-1) and Bengals (3-1), will play host to the Chicago Bears (2-1) Sunday at 4:05 p.m. The Bears visit Dallas Monday night before traveling to Jacksonville.

“We’re not hitting any panic buttons,” Nwaneri said. “Obviously there is frustration there, but we have to find ways to become more efficient as players and as a unit so we can minimize the frustrating plays on the field.

“You just have to go back to work. You have to keep your nose down and grind it out. This is a situation we put ourselves in, so we have to find a way to get ourselves out.”

Mularkey, who on Sunday spoke of staying the course, said while observers may want a change in approach or philosophy, that’s not the plan. He said the reality is the Jaguars must make more plays when given the opportunity.

“We see improvement,” Mularkey said. “There are things we’re seeing that we’re going to continue to build on. I feel their frustration, but there’s a plan of attack here we’re sticking to.”

Asked if players are frustrated, Mularkey replied, “I think they’re thinking the same way we’re thinking as coaches, that we’re disappointed after a loss. I think they’re seeing the same thing we’re seeing, that we’re not making plays that need to be made.

“I think they know it’s there, but we need to see more consistency from all three units.”

Posluszny said one of the most frustrating aspects of Monday was that the game was not one that should have been lost.

“We know we didn’t play well, and I don’t think that’s a team we should have lost to,” Posluszny said. “When that happens, you’re going to be upset... We shouldn’t have lost. To me, going into the game, you look at that team, you say, ‘There’s no reason we can’t be very competitive against this team.’ We did not make plays. Defensively, we did not make plays and they did.

“It’s too close. Everybody’s too competitive and everybody’s too close as a team to not make those plays to win. If you don’t, you don’t have a chance. Everybody’s too good.”

Posluszny said the approach now is not about changing philosophy or schemes, but about each player playing better. Mularkey on Sunday talked about the Jaguars needing to learn to make plays, and Posluszny said that’s something that needs to happen.

“We have to realize each and every one of us and say, ‘Hey, I can do this a little bit better,’’’ Posluszny said. “We have to say, ‘I can do my job a little bit better.’ You do that across the board you start to see big changes going on.

“A negative attitude isn’t going to help anything. We’re not going to make any changes. We’re going to go out, practice, work on the things that need fixing and go from there. I know we can play better than what we’re playing, so because of that, I believe we can turn this around.”

Mularkey, too, said while the circumstances may be difficult, a positive approach is the only one he knows. Mularkey’s first team in Buffalo in 2004 started 0-4 and 1-5 before finishing 9-7 and missing the playoffs by a game.

“There’s a lot of football still to go,” Mularkey said. “I’ve seen a lot of teams come out with good endings when it starts like this. I’m always looking for a positive in everything that happens. Even in the worst-case scenario, there’s something rosy.”

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