JACKSONVILLE – The facts are facts – and the facts aren't bad.
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson knows this is the case when it comes to where the Jaguars stand with 10 games remaining. But while they are 3-3 and tied for first place in the AFC South, they also lost to the Los Angeles Rams Sunday in a game they could have won.
As Jackson sees it, losing such games isn't nearly good enough.
"We're doing a lot better than we did last year, and we're going in the right direction," Jackson said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' 27-17 loss to the Rams at EverBank Field.
"All of that's cool, but we're looking at what we did yesterday."
The Jaguars, who won in Week 1 (Houston), 3 (Baltimore) and 5 (Pittsburgh) in one-sided fashion, have lost their Weeks 2, 4 and 6 games in equally disappointing fashion. They lost 37-16 to Tennessee at EverBank Field in Week 2 and lost 23-20 in Week 4 to the New York Jets in overtime on the road.
Sunday's loss was particularly disappointing.
That's because while the defense allowed just 249 yards and 12 first downs, the offense managed just three points after a 14-point first quarter – and most notably, the Jaguars' special teams allowed two touchdowns with a 16-yard punt leading directly to a Rams field goal.
That made Sunday a winnable game – one from which defensive end Calais Campbell said a young team must grow.
"One thing we've shown is we can bounce back," Campbell said. "We're very resilient. … We believe we're going to figure it out and start playing consistently. We've shown that we can do it when we do it right – and when we don't do it right, we lose ballgames.
"We're still a young team, so we're going to have our ups and downs. Eventually, it's going to click."
The Jaguars, after entering the weekend with a one-game lead in the AFC South, now are tied with the Houston Texans at 3-3. The Indianapolis Colts (2-3) and Tennessee Titans (2-3) play in Nashville Monday night.
"The beauty of it is it's still October," Campbell said. "We still control our destiny. That's all you can really ask for in this situation. If you're out a few games, it sucks. Nobody in our division is 6-0. We're still in a tie for first place in our division, so we're in a good place. We just have to bounce back."
The Jaguars will visit the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday in the Jaguars' final game before their bye week.
"It's a huge opportunity," Campbell said. "We have to bounce back and figure out a way to get this win this week. Division opponent, on the road – if we get this one, that will be huge.
"We can regroup, then hopefully we can come out and start stacking some wins."
Also on Monday:
*Rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook on Monday said he is confident he will be ready to play – and contribute – when he is eligible to be activated from injured reserve. Westbrook – a rookie fourth-round selection who was the 2016 Biletnikoff Award winner at Oklahoma – was placed on injured reserve on September 8 after core-muscle surgery, and will be eligible to return against Cincinnati November 5. "As of me and how I feel, yes," Westbrook said when asked if he believes he will be ready November 5. "I don't know what the trainers have, and of course [Jaguars Head] Coach [Doug] Marrone and [Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Coach [Tom] Coughlin and how those guys feel." Westbrook caught 13 preseason passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. "I've been playing this game since I was seven years old," Westbrook said. "One of the things for me is, 'Always be that playmaker the team needs.' Whatever way I can help the team win and be successful, that's what I'm all up for." ….
*While the Jaguars allowed the Rams just 10 points other than the 17 set up by special teams, Jackson said the defense has areas it can improve. Jackson cited the Rams' effectiveness running on first and second downs; the Rams faced just four situations of third-down and longer than six yards Sunday. "We need to earn the right to start rushing [the passer] again," Jackson said. Jackson also noted a late drive on which the Rams moved 57 yards on 12 plays for a 29-yard field goal that extended their lead to 27-17 with 2:32 remaining. "We have to be able to finish off games and get off the field," Jackson said. "We did it early, but we have to start doing it when it counts at the end of the game." …