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Posluszny: “We want to play our best football here”

Posted Nov 3, 2012

Jaguars look to turn “close” into a victory Sunday against the Detroit Lions

The time is now. Right now.

And while defensive end Jeremy Mincey said ideally the time already would have come, that doesn’t change a simple truth as the Jaguars arrive at the midway point of the season.

They really need a victory. And they really need it fast.

“It’s imperative,” Mincey said as the Jaguars (1-6) prepared to play the Detroit Lions (3-4) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. “It’s huge.”

Mincey and other Jaguars will tell you that’s true for a variety of reasons – mainly to show that players and coaches are right when they say the record doesn’t reflect the team’s progress and potential.

“We’re not there by any means, but we’re going into the right direction,” Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said.

Posluszny and Mincey aren’t alone. The Jaguars have been close at times this season, particularly in recent weeks in losses to Oakland and Green Bay. Very close. Players and coaches will tell you there have been good things going on during a four-game losing streak since a dramatic Week 3 victory over Indianapolis.

The defense has improved, playing its best football in the last two games.

The offense during those last two games also has been productive, with quarterback Blaine Gabbert playing well in Oakland before a shoulder injury, then returning from that injury a week later to have the best statistical game of his career in a loss to Green Bay.

Players are hesitant to talk positives during losses, but they talked this week of having made progress –  and of building on those steps.

“Overall, the general feeling on the team is we lost and we’re obviously extremely disappointed with that, but we can tell we’re starting to play better,” Posluszny said. “We’re starting to play better football, and as long as we continue to go with what we’re doing, continue to make improvements and learn and get better each week, eventually we’ll have a great brand of football. There’s no reason we can’t keep taking the next step and get a win this time.”

If the Jaguars enter the Lions game confident, they also enter it dealing with uncertainty at several positions, with running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and safety Dwight Lowery having been ruled out for Sunday. Rashad Jennings will start a second consecutive game for Jones-Drew, and Chris Prosinski will start a third consecutive game for Lowery.

Cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin) also has been ruled out, and Derek Cox (back) is expected to be a game-day decision.

Whatever the injury situation, the priority is to play better against the Lions than in three previous home games. While the Jaguars won at Indianapolis and played competitively in three other road losses, they have lost three home games by double-digits or more.

“We want to play our best football here,” Posluszny said of EverBank. “We want to make our home atmosphere a place that opposing teams do not want to come in here and play. We haven’t done that to this point. We haven’t played well at home. That’s something we need to change fast. We need to say, ‘You know what? We’re in front of our home crowd. This is our home field. We need to play our best football here.’”

Mincey, for one, will tell you players believe the team is close to doing that – and that it has been closer all year than many believe.

“Every game was a few plays away,” Mincey said. “It’s always a few plays from winning games. We just have to learn to pull together and finish it. We’re right there on the brink of greatness. We just have to pull it all together and get a ‘W’ with it. Everybody’s still trying to get better, get together and focus. We’re trying harder and harder each week to win. Once we find out how to win, I think we’ll win a whole lot of games.

“That’s trial and error. You have to fail to succeed sometimes in life. The failing hurts, but when you fall you have to get back up and keep it moving.”

But while the last two weeks showed signs of progress, and while players and coaches will tell you those signs are real, they’ll also tell you something else: Progress without victory is hollow, and the Jaguars very much want to avoid a hollow feeling come Sunday.

“We had a moral victory last week, but moral ain’t good enough,” Mincey said. “Moral doesn’t sell tickets, and moral doesn’t pay the bills.”

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