JACKSONVILLE – Nick Foles' message remains the same.
The Jaguars' starting quarterback realizes the team is struggling, and he knows these are difficult times. He also remains certain of one thing:
Patience, perseverance and positivity are the only solutions.
"This is a trial," Foles said as the Jaguars (4-7) prepared to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m. "This is a trial that shows culture and it shows character.
"Culture is something we talk about a lot. The big thing is this is where you find out what culture you have. A great culture is a culture that can go through adversity and stick together and not point fingers and not give up.
"A bad culture is a culture that when you're out of it or things aren't going well, you know what: 'This doesn't benefit me. I'm sort of going to shut it down. I'm not going to be a part of the team.' That's unfortunate. We have to continue to build together."
Foles, after missing eight games with a broken clavicle, has started the past two games – both Jaguars losses. He has talked extensively about the importance of culture after both games and has continued to emphasize the topic during his weekly media availability.
Head Coach Doug Marrone on Tuesday was asked after Foles' emphasis on culture.
"You really have to ask him; you know what I'm saying?" Marrone said. "There are a lot of buzzwords and everyone has different definitions of it. I always look at it in this profession: winning. If you win, you have pretty good culture.
"If you're losing, then either you don't have a good culture, or you're not good enough putting the players in the best position or you don't have talent. Really, that's kind of how I look at it."
Foles, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, completed 33 of 47 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns with an interception in a 33-13 loss at Indianapolis November 17. He completed 32 of 48 passes for 272 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 42-20 loss at Tennessee this past Sunday.
"The more I'm playing, the more I'm getting more comfortable," Foles said. "The game speed is starting to come back, the feel of the game. Obviously, we're not executing and doing what we need to do to win these games as a team, but there are positives to build on.
"I think we're beginning to learn who we are as an offense and getting to where we need to be. That process is always evolving."
Foles said the Jaguars had "a great workday Wednesday" and called it a "step in the right direction."
"That's a positive thing," Foles said. "I've always believed you have to look at everything critically, but you have to remain positive and you have to keep working. You can't just give up. You're going to go through adversity."
Foles acknowledged that the Jaguars' three-game losing streak – and last-place status in the division – means "this is not an easy time."
"But there are a lot of teams in the NFL that aren't doing well, that are struggling," Foles said. "That's the nature of this business. You're going to have teams that do really well. You're going to have teams that don't. But just because you're losing, just because you're struggling, doesn't mean you have a bad culture. Great teams are built in times like this if you handle it the appropriate way.
"That's sticking together, and continuing to move forward, and not pointing fingers. That's very hard to do."
Foles emphasized ignoring outside criticism, adding that he has been through similar situations in an eight-year NFL career.
"We have a great opportunity here," Foles said. "We are in a trial. But it's exciting. You get to be excited in these moments because you get to see who the real people are. You can't be fake in this moment. You can try to be fake, but eventually you're going to be sought out.
"I say that in a positive way as approaching it as, you know what? I can either sit down and leave the building and say, 'I can't do this anymore. I give up.' Or I can say, 'I believe in my teammates. I believe in myself. I'm going to continue to work. I'm going to give everything I have and I'm going to embrace this struggle and I'm going to endure this. We either give up or we endure or go forward.'
"When I say excited, it's either excited or you give up. I say that with intensity because that's what I believe. I believe that with every part of my heart, that we have an opportunity here to improve, to grow, to build something here. It's going to take time.
"Going through tough times is what makes us a team."