A SURE THING
The Jaguars held the Packers to 238 total yards Sunday, a defensive effort that has resulted in praise to several areas.
The Jaguars had two sacks, and a secondary that played without three starters allowed no pass plays over 31yards, but Head Coach Mike Mularkey said the most important element may have been tackling.
Tackling was a major issue early in the season, but the area was strong Sunday, Mularkey said.
"We did a lot of good things defensively, and the No. 1 thing was tackling," Mularkey said a day after the Jaguars' 24-15 loss at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. "We didn't let anything get over the top of us. We kept everything in front of us, and when they threw it underneath, we tackled them.
"Our intent was to make them earn their scores. They earned them."
With Will Middleton and Aaron Ross starting for Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox at corner, and with Chris Prosinski making a second consecutive start for Dwight Lowery, the Jaguars held Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to 186 yards passing on 22-of-35 attempts.
"Everything worked hand in hand," safety Dawan Landry said. "The front four got a lot of pressure and we had a lot of disguises. We gave the front four a chance to get to him. We kept him off balance, and the guys who played – Aaron, Will, (Mike) Harris – those guys have played throughout the whole season, so it wasn't a big thing when they had to step in in this game."
MULARKEY: NO EVIDENCE SEEN
Rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon caught four passes for a season-high 67 yards Sunday, but it wasn't his catches that drew the notice of some observers.
Rather, there were observers who believed Blackmon didn't give full effort on at least one pass thrown his way as the Jaguars drove for a potential go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. The feeling was widespread enough that Mularkey said he reviewed game tape specifically to study the issue, and that he came away satisfied with what he saw.
"I had heard that – actually, I heard it this morning," Mularkey said. "I don't see evidence of that. I was looking for it, because that's not acceptable. I don't want to hear it from anybody, and I certainly don't want to hear it from the weatherman when I'm watching the weather in the morning talking about it during his hurricane report.
"I do look for that. That is not acceptable in our offense or on our team, not to finish plays. I didn't see evidence of that."
The play most commonly questioned involved Gabbert throwing to Blackmon on 1st-and-10 from the 50, and Blackmon appearing to slow down during the play.
"Blaine threw it to a hole – I don't think Blackmon would have ever got to the hole," Mularkey said. "It looked like he slowed down, but that wasn't the case."
"I've just seen improvement (from quarterback Blaine Gabbert). That's the biggest word. (Quarterbacks coach) Greg Olson has done a remarkable job in a lot of ways. Greg will tell you himself we still have a ways to go, but there has been a gradual improvement from OTAs till yesterday. I like the improvement he has made."
"We made a lot of good plays, a lot of three-and-outs. We got the ball off Aaron Rodgers and held them to a low number of total yards. That's something to build on this week."
C BRAD MEESTER SAYS
"We were able to do some good things. We were able to move the ball pretty well. We were able to protect pretty well, but we have to find a way to finish drives. We can't keep kicking field goals. We have to find a way to finish drives and get touchdowns."
DE ANDRE BRANCH SAYS
"We definitely took a big step forward the last couple of weeks. We know what we have in our room. We just have to do it."
Some Mondays are better than others. And while the ideal in the NFL is Victory Monday, the mood in the Jaguars' locker room Monday was decidedly more upbeat than it has been in recent weeks. There was a feeling in the locker room that a lot of good things happened Sunday, and while some of that came from maybe the best game of Gabbert's career, a lot of it came from a defense that enabled the Jaguars to compete with one of the NFL's best teams for most of the game. No one around the Jaguars was thrilled Monday. There is no such thing as a moral victory in the NFL, and that wasn't how the team approached it. But the locker room felt a little more hopeful that what happened Sunday could build into something better sooner rather than later.
The Jaguars will be off Tuesday and hold a full practice Wednesday as they prepared to play the Detroit Lions Sunday in Jacksonville.
*Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) will miss a second consecutive game against the Lions, Mularkey said, and Lowery will miss a third consecutive game with an ankle injury. He said more will be known on other injuries, including that of Cox (back), on Wednesday.
*The Jaguars had a season-high nine dropped pass Sunday, something Mularkey said is frustrating considering the time spent on the area. "We're spending a lot of time after practice," Mularkey said. "They're doing a lot of things extra." Mularkey said the pressure to make a big play may be contributing to the mistakes. "It's just the consistency," Mularkey said. "I wish I had the answer. I would have fixed it five weeks ago. A lot of it is confidence. You have to have confidence in your hands that you're going to catch everything."
*Mularkey said kicker Josh Scobee this season has tried at times to do too much, something that happened again Sunday when a fourth-quarter kick off bounced out of bounds at the half-yard line. That was a penalty that gave the Packers possession at their 40. Mularkey said the kick was a mishit. "He has such a strong leg," Mularkey said. "He doesn't have to do any more than he's capable of doing. We've had a number of those things happen and it has cost us.'
*Rookie free agent Mike Brewster will remain the starter at left guard, Mularkey said. Brewster replaced Eben Britton in the lineup Sunday. "We felt like we weren't getting what we wanted to right now at that position and we felt like we needed a change," Mularkey said. "I thought Mike did a pretty good job there."
*Mularkey said overall the offensive line played well, particularly in pass protection.
*Mularkey said there were no injuries Sunday that should keep a player out next Sunday.