JACKSONVILLE – The offensive balance remains real.
The unselfishness remains real, too – and as Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk sees it, the latter part is very important.
"We're not in this thing for stats or personal rewards," Kirk said as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (7-8) prepared to play the Houston Texans (2-12-1) at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Kirk is one of three Jaguars receivers having a career season, with wide receiver Zay Jones and tight end Evan Engram also emerging as quarterback Trevor Lawrence has spread opportunities evenly among skill-position players.
"That's what's so beautiful about the players we have on the offensive side of the ball," Jones said. "It could be anyone's week. That's good to be a part of."
A look at the Jaguars' three top receivers this season:
- Kirk, a sixth-year veteran who signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals this past offseason: 76 receptions, 988 yards, seven touchdowns. The yards and touchdown are career-highs, and his previous career-high for receptions was 77 in 2021.
- Jones, a sixth-year veteran who signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Las Vegas Raiders this past offseason: 75 receptions, 778 yards, five touchdowns. The receptions and yards are career-highs, and the touchdowns are two shy of the career-high he set with Buffalo in 2018.
- Engram, a sixth-year veteran who signed as an unrestricted free agent from the New York Giants this past offseason: 68 receptions, 723 yards, four touchdowns. The receptions and yards are career-highs, and the touchdowns are two shy of the career-high he set with the Giants in 2017.
While the statistics matter, all three-spoke Monday of liking the other receivers' success as well as their own – a camaraderie Engram said has developed throughout the season.
"The biggest thing is getting to know one another," Engram said. "We spend a lot of time together. We have a lot of conversations. We have vulnerable conversations with each other. I've had moments and those guys are there for me, and vice versa. There's a level of brotherhood that's growing enough that there's no other way but to feel happy and root for your brother's success.
"That's the culture that's forming here."
Jones laughed Monday when asked if all NFL receiving rooms rooted for each other in similar fashion, adding that such an attitude "takes a sense of maturity to get to."
"I'd be lying if I said I was always like that," he said. "It's hard when production is posted and talked about all the time."
Jones said he experienced other receivers' support when he caught three touchdown passes in a 40-34 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15.
"Evan, Christian, [wide receiver] Marv[in] Jones … they showed me love," he said. "We're just all pieces of this big puzzle that we're putting together."
Engram and Kirk on Monday discussed a play from last Thursday's 19-3 victory over the New York Jets. Jones and Kirk on the play blocked for Engram on a screen pass, a play Engram called "selfless" and one that Kirk said defined the relationship of the Jaguars' receivers and tight ends.
"You don't see too many teams with two wide receivers blocking for their tight end and celebrating as he's running down the field," Kirk said. "It just shows whatever we have to do to win a football game, we're going to do that. And whoever's doing what they're supposed to do and making the most of their opportunities to help us win the game? We're going to cheer them on.
"That comes from winning football games. You win football games, the rest will come. We want to play to hold up a trophy at the end of this thing, and that's how you do it."
- This has been a season of first and breaking streaks for the Jaguars. A 36-22 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 14 marked their first victory in Nashville since 2013 and snapped a streak of nine consecutive losses there. A Week 15 victory over the Cowboys marked their first victory over an NFC team since they won a road game against the New York Giants in Week 1 of the 2019 season. "You don't get to where you want to go without being able to break those," Kirk said. "You talk about flipping the script and turning the page and making this the way we want to make it. It says a lot about this football team and the staff. We know this is our opportunity." The Jaguars have lost nine consecutive games to the Texans. "We definitely want to break that one for sure," Kirk said.