JACKSONVILLE – Confidence remains high. Very high.
Wide receiver Christian Kirk believes that, and safety Rayshawn Jenkins agrees. The two Jaguars veterans spoke to the media Tuesday afternoon, and belief remains strong despite six losses in seven games entering this week's Week 11 bye.
"It's all about believing that we can be the best," Kirk said Tuesday, the first of two practice days for the Jaguars during the bye week. "You know you're building something special.
"We know right now the season hasn't really gone the way we wanted it to, but you don't feel anybody giving up or kind of cashing it in. Everybody's still looking forward to what's in front of us. Those are the type of people you want to be around and you want to go to work with.
"It's a long season. The NFL is hard. It's hard to win football games. But we're here to produce championship-level football."
The Jaguars (3-7), after snapping a five-game losing streak with a Week 9 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-17, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday. It was the Jaguars' first loss by more than eight points this season and their first game this season in which they did not lead.
They are third in the AFC South behind Tennessee (6-3) and Indianapolis (4-5-1).
"We've got seven games left," Jenkins said. "We can finish with double-digit wins but it's going to be hard. Everyone just needs to be on their stuff and really be dialed [in].
"You've got to be dialed in this league. The margin for error is small and it's killing us lately. We do have a young team, but we get paid so you've got to come out here and perform."
The Jaguars through 10 games rank seventh in the NFL in total yards offense at 362.2 yards per game, and they are the only NFL team with a losing record and positive point differential for the season (plus 11). They have struggled in recent weeks defensively, allowing 25 points per game over the last five games after allowing 16 points a game over the first five games.
"It's a team sport so you can't really point fingers at whoever," Jenkins said. "But I would definitely say we can definitely tighten the screws a bit as a unit – just settle down and really be on every detail of the game. This is a game that is more mental than anything. It can't just be, 'Run and hit, run and hit.'
"It's thinking about, 'How am I getting set up this play? How are they trying to attack me on this play?' We have to be more cerebral on stuff like that."
While the Jaguars are tied for eighth in the NFL with 14 takeaways after forcing a league-low nine last season, they have struggled in coverage at times in recent weeks and are tied for the sixth-most touchdown passes allowed with 16. They are 27th in the NFL with 16 sacks.
"The thing we need to fix is being more consistent," Jenkins said. "The consistency is not there. As a unit we make a lot of good plays and you see a lot of flashes throughout most of the game, but when we get in those times that we really need everybody to be on their stuff everyone needs to be conscious of that moment.
"We've gotten after the ball this year. Our defense is much faster and really physical. We just need to do the right stuff all the time."
- Head Coach Doug Pederson said Monday there are no plans to open the kicker position to competition. Kicker Riley Patterson has missed three field goals in the last two games – a 41-yarder against the Raiders and second-quarter attempts from 51 and 41 yards Sunday. Kicker James McCourt has been on the practice squad all season. "During the week of practice, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, we let both guys kick, so there's a little bit of competition there," Pederson said. "It's unfortunate. Those are missed opportunities that we've just got to have. Especially against good teams, you have to hit those balls through the uprights. He knows that. He understands that. But no competition right now."
- Jenkins: "I feel like this is a week to kind of restart, reset ourselves. What did we do well? What did we do bad? This is a self-scouting week to change the trajectory."