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Jaguars not in denial


It has become not only the unexplainable, but also the undeniable. Say this about the Jaguars: They pointed the finger right at themselves.

"When we find a way to be more consistent, we'll have more fun on Sundays," coach Jack Del Rio said following Sunday's 20-7 loss to the Denver Broncos.

It was a loss that awakened memories of two similarly undeniable sleepwalks last year. Both of those were at the hands of the Houston Texans, the first one immediately following a rousing Jaguars victory in Indianapolis, and the second one on the heels of an icy win at Lambeau Field that had the Jaguars franchise feeling better about itself than it had at any time in five years.

How did it happen? How could they follow such highs with such lows? This season was dedicated to fixing that flaw but, just four weeks into it, the unexplainable has occurred again.

"We didn't show up today," quarterback Byron Leftwich said. "We played like we didn't have a lot of energy. We acted like we were tired and we were not tired. I don't have an answer."

The malaise hung in the air like a threatening cloud. Blame it on the humidity? Then blame it on what? Nobody seemed to know.

"It appears that way to us as well," tight end Kyle Brady said when asked if the media and fan perception that the Jaguars were flat is correct. "We know that if we want to be an upper echelon team, we need to bring a consistently high level of play each week."

This was not a high level of play.

• Fred Taylor gained 14 yards rushing on eight carries.

• Leftwich was intercepted twice and produced a passer rating of 65.8.

• The defense allowed 188 yards rushing that translated into a 16-minute time of possession advantage for the Broncos.

The Jaguars neither ran the ball nor stopped the run and that's a formula for losing, always.

"A disappointing day," is how Del Rio described it. "The first quarter of our season is over. We're 2-2 and that's what we've earned. We started with four consecutive games against playoff teams from last year and we weren't able to scratch out any more than two wins."

They are biting words, but they are no less the truth. Against four teams that were in last year's postseason, the Jaguars finished the first quarter of this season without having made a definitive statement. All we can do is wait and watch to see what they do from here on. The final 12 games will have to define this season because the first four absolutely didn't. At least, we hope they didn't.

"This football team should expect to do a whole lot better. What we have to do is, like men, respond. Today we took one on the chin," said Del Rio, who was asked if he buys into the theory that his team had become satisfied by the previous week's win over the Jets.

"No, I don't buy that," Del Rio said. "One thing I don't question is the desire and heart of the men in that locker room. They want it bad."

So, the malaise continues to be unexplainable. Just when it appears that all is right in their world, it turns upside down.

Why? They don't know, but they're not rejecting the question. Maybe they'll have another opportunity this season to prove they found the answer. All their fans can do is wait for that time and its corresponding response.

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