A day after struggling with the disappointment of a 30-12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings that was one of the low points in Jack Del Rio's time as coach of the Jaguars, Del Rio reaffirmed his energy, resolve and commitment to reverse the fortunes of his team.
"There's not going to be any quick fix. What I recognize is it's going to take a commitment and a resolve and I have both as we close out this year and look to build for next year … knowing it's going to get better," Del Rio said at his Monday press conference.
At 4-7, the Jaguars are left to play out a five-game string that is certain to send the team into an offseason of change. Five prominent players are unsigned for next season and decisions on others are likely pending.
Del Rio is in the first year of a five-year contract and he may be five weeks away from leading the team into a second rebuilding process during his time as coach. His comments on Monday made it clear that he's energized for the process.
First, however, there's a matter of five games remaining to be played this year, of which the first of those is a nationally-televised game in Houston next Monday night.
"We must do things better but not all things are bad," Del Rio said in leading off Monday's media session. "I've got the resolve and commitment to make sure we get things turned in the right direction again. We have to teach it better and then get our guys going."
The Jaguars may be in their best physical condition of the season, though they may lose their punter. Adam Podlesh sustained a knee injury against the Vikings and Del Rio said a decision will be made this week as to whether or not the team has to sign a punter to replace Podlesh.
That's minor stuff, however, compared to the bigger task, which is getting his team to stop a skid that began after the bye week. The Jaguars have lost four of their last five games and now turn into what might be the toughest stretch of their schedule: at Houston, at Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis and at Baltimore.
Critics have been quick to say the Jaguars have quit and that Del Rio has lost his team, but Del Rio sternly denies both assertions.
"That's never going to be an issue in Jacksonville," he said. "I don't think you can look at it and say that. They watch three, four highlights on TV and make comments like that. I'm not going to be overly concerned with a guy that watches five minutes of highlights and then makes a comment."
One thing would seem to be for sure: When this season ends, Del Rio is going to take the necessary steps to make sure he's not facing the same questions next season.