Jack Del Rio addressed issues at his Monday press conference that included charges that his team is dumb and that the Jaguars were blaming poor officiating for the loss to the Colts on Sunday.
"I always talk to the team about you get what you earn and we did not do enough to earn a victory. We're not in it for moral victories," Del Rio told reporters.
An Indianapolis columnist on Monday accused the Jaguars of being a dumb football team, using costly penalties the Jaguars committed on Sunday as the basis for his claim. When asked if he thinks his team is dumb, Del Rio said: "No. We have worked hard to become a smart and tough football team. I think we've shown that this year. There were a couple of examples where we weren't as sharp as we should be."
The Colts' 28-25 victory was punctuated by several controversial officials decisions and replay reviews, all of which seemed to go against the Jaguars. Del Rio didn't criticize the officiating in his postgame press conference, but defensive end Paul Spicer was one of a handful of players who referred to bad calls working against the Jaguars' efforts.
"You keep playing. That's what you do," Del Rio said when asked on Monday to comment about the officiating. "We got picked but you've got to be able to fight through that. They executed beautifully so you have to give them credit. Everybody has them (pick plays) in the league. On their part, it was well executed. The responsibility comes to us. It's not the first one we've seen and it won't be the last."
Del Rio was obviously using Monday's press conference to set a tone for accountability that might help his team focus for this Sunday's important home game against Carolina. At 8-4, the Jaguars are the leading wild-card contender but hold only a one-game lead over Cleveland and Tennessee.
Are the Jaguars close to becoming an elite team, the coach was asked?
"We've shown we're capable of playing with anybody. To become (elite), you have to win those sort of games," Del Rio said, referring to Sunday's game in Indianapolis. "In order to be part of that conversation, you have to have a quarterback playing at a high level. We have that right now. We're really happy with the way number nine (David Garrard) is developing."
The greatest issue confronting Del Rio this week is the decline of his defense, particularly the pass-defense, which has fallen to 27th in the league.
"Our personnel is what it is. We've played good defense with the personnel we have," Del Rio said.
The Jaguars could be without defensive end Reggie Hayward this Sunday, as Hayward sustained a groin injury early in Sunday's game. Defensive tackle Marcus Stroud returned to the Jaguars on Monday following a four-week suspension for violation of the league's steroids policy.
"We find ourselves with an opportunity to earn our way into the postseason," Del Rio said. "It's tough because it's a game we really wanted. The next one against Carolina is the biggest."