Rested and rejuvenated, the Jaguars returned to work today with a singular purpose for the remaining seven games of the season. That thought is: Win them all.
That's what it would take for the Jaguars to have any chance of making the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, and that quest begins this Sunday against the visiting Seattle Seahawks (3-7).
"The focus has been good," coach Tom Coughlin said of his team's attitude during its bye week. "We told the team exactly what we're trying to accomplish. I hope they're excited."
Most exciting for the Jaguars is their improved health, which saw defensive end Renaldo Wynn, linebacker Lonnie Marts and wide receiver Jimmy Smith return to practice today, though Smith was limited by the combination knee/hamstring injury that forced him to be sidelined for the first time in his Jaguars career in the team's win in Dallas on Oct. 29.
However, the Jaguars may have lost middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson and rookie running back Shyrone Stith temporarily. Coughlin revealed today that Nickerson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last Friday, as did Stith earlier last week. The Jaguars are not obliged to release information regarding the two players' conditions until Wednesday's injury report is presented, though neither Nickerson nor Stith practiced today.
"We had a chance to get a lot of people rehabbed and rested," Coughlin said of his team, which also hopes to get offensive tackle Leon Searcy back in the lineup before Nov. is complete. Searcy suffered a quadriceps tear in the first full-pads practice of training camp.
"The pressure to win is always there. There's no question why everyone is here. You're here to win," Coughlin said.
"We talked about this being a seven-game schedule. So many things at this time of the year are so unpredictable about our game. We talked about being part of the excitement. We could make ourselves heard in the second half of the season," Coughlin added.
"It's a funny game. Double-digit wins can get you in the playoffs," wide receiver Keenan McCardell said.
"I believe it's possible," safety Donovin Darius said. "If we just make plays at the critical times, we could run the table."