Quarterback David Garrard led an offense-only meeting on Monday for the purpose of rallying the group for a five-game finish that will determine the Jaguars' fate in 2009.
"That was a big step for this offense. Even though we had a day that wasn't very productive, we still did a lot of good things," Garrard said of the tone of what was said at the meeting, a day following the Jaguars' 20-3 loss in San Francisco.
The meeting was conducted by veteran members of the offense. Garrard mentioned tight end Marcedes Lewis as a driving force in the meeting.
"It can't be just one guy. It's got to be guys who've been here and done things," Garrard said.
Garrard has been a proactive team leader since the offseason began. He kicked off an offseason dedicated to a new attitude by losing weight and improving his stamina. As the Jaguars head into a game against Houston this Sunday that will be the first of three consecutive home games, Garrard understands the importance of proper perspective.
"It's not a time to let that pressure mount on your shoulders," he said. "All games moving forward are must-win. You can definitely write that down."
Left on the Jaguars' schedule are home games against Houston, Miami and Indianapolis, followed by two on the road to end the season, at New England and at Cleveland.
"It's great but you have to win them," Garrard said of the three games in a row at home. "It's great not having to travel to the West Coast. We can just relax and be at home."
Garrard had a good game statistically in San Francisco, but fumbles, missed field goal attempts and an overall failure in the red zone kept the Jaguars out of the end zone.
"We just came off a good stretch of wins. We had a setback. We still hold our destiny in our hands. That gives us confidence and makes us feel good," Garrard said.
He acknowledged the popularity of Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow among Jaguars fans and the appearance of signs and jerseys at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium this season promoting Tebow for Jaguars quarterback of the future.
"Does it bother you?" Garrard was asked.
"No, it doesn't bother me," he said. "Joe Montana was pushed out of San Francisco. Brett Favre was asked to do business elsewhere. One day it'll probably happen to me. I think Tebow is a great dude and I understand he's from this area," Garrard said.
Has he seen the signs?
"I haven't seen them but I have friends and family who've seen them. If we go to the playoffs, all that stuff can die," he said.
The most important news as the Jaguars began preparations for Sunday's game is that cornerback Rashean Mathis will miss his third consecutive game with a groin injury. Mathis' absence this week is especially disconcerting because the Texans possess the league's third-ranked pass-offense and have one of the game's premier receivers in Andre Johnson.
"He will not play this week," Del Rio said of Mathis on Wednesday. "We'll hope for next week. He is starting to run. He'll have to show that for a good period of time before we can put him out there."