WARE, United Kingdom – The last few days for the Jaguars have been good.
The next few must be better, with Head Coach Doug Pederson emphasizing Wednesday that the immediate future matters more than the recent past.
"It's a short-term memory," he said at Hanbury Manor, where the Jaguars are practicing this week.
Pederson, speaking as the Jaguars prepared to play the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Sunday, spoke of snapping a two-game losing streak this past Sunday over the Alanta Falcons. He spoke, too, of the potential return Sunday from suspension of starting left tackle Cam Robinson.
Another theme Sunday: A second matchup this season against an AFC power, with the Bills having won the last three AFC East titles.
"As an AFC game, it's a big one," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. "This is a big game, an AFC matchup, a team that's playing really good football right now who's been one of the top teams in the AFC for the past few years."
The Bills are one of five 2022 division champions on the Jaguars' 2023 schedule. The Jaguars lost to defending Super Bowl champion and defending AFC West Champion Kansas City, 17-9, in Week 2 in Jacksonville. They will play Cincinnati (AFC North) December 4, San Francisco (NFC West) November 12 and Tampa Bay (NFC South) December 24.
"They do a great job; that's why they've had a lot of success," Lawrence said. "They're a really good team on both sides of the ball, and we're just going to have to execute. I think that's what it's going to come down to offensively and defensively, is what team executes better."
After a season-opening loss to the New York Jets, the Bills have won their last three games by a total of 90 points – including a 48-20 victory over previously unbeaten Miami, 48-20, this past Sunday to move into first place in the division.
"This is a great football team – a great quarterback (Josh Allen) and obviously well-coached," Pederson said. "The fingerprints of [Head] Coach [Sean] McDermott [are] on this defense. It's a challenge for us and something where we can learn maybe from the Chiefs game: preparation, hard work … all that going into is week. Our guys will be ready and we look forward to that."
Also key this week: the potential return of Robinson, the team's starting left tackle from 2017-2022 who missed the first four games of the season on NFL suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
"He's in a really good frame of mind," Pederson said. "He has prepared himself for this moment. He knew all along what he was doing and what he needed to do to get ready."
Pederson said Robinson's role for Week 5 will depend on practice this week. Walker Little has started the first four games at left tackle, with Tyler Shatley replacing Ben Bartch at left guard this past week. There is a possibility that Little could move to guard moving forward.
"For us as a staff, it's just going out there, how he executes this week and how he gels with Walker [Little] or possibly [guard] Shatley at guard, all those different combinations that could happen," Pederson said of Robinson. "I know he's mentally ready. The physical part is sort of natural to him."
Pederson called Robinson "another leader, another veteran player" whose return could help a line that observers believe has been inconsistent at times this season.
"He's somebody who's played a lot of games at left tackle," Pederson said. "There's physicality there and a mindset that he brings. There can be a little bit of comfort level or stability with the offensive line. My hat's off to Walker Little, he's bounced around in the short time that I've been here on the offensive line. He's somebody that you can definitely count on. Cam definitely brings that leadership and maybe a little more stability to the offensive line."
Pederson said while there are multiple possibilities on the left side Sunday, center Luke Fortner will remain the starter at center. The second-year veteran has started the first four games of the regular season with rookie Anton Harrison at right tackle and veteran Brandon Scherff at right guard.
"Luke is solid in there," Pederson said. "We have no issues with Luke at all. He's done an outstanding job. We do know that Shatley is a backup center for us, so if something would happen to Luke, Tyler would be the one to go in. There's no conversation at all about that, I'm fully confident in Luke."
NOTABLE - INJURY UPDATES
- Wide receivers Zay Jones (knee) and Jamal Agnew (quadriceps) practiced limited Wednesday and remain day-to-day, Pederson said. Jones has missed the last two games, with Agnew missing Sunday.
- Outside linebacker Josh Allen and defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi practiced limited after playing through shoulder injuries Sunday.
- Rookie wide receiver Parker Washington missed practice with a knee injury sustained Sunday and inside linebacker Devin Lloyd also missed practice, with Lloyd not having made the trip to London after thumb surgery last week.
- Rookie safety Antonio Johnson practiced limited after missing the first four games with a hamstring injury and veteran outside linebacker Dawuane Smoot (Achilles) practiced limited after the team opened his three-week window to return from the season-opening Physically Unable to Perform list. "We just want to see where he is physically from a football standpoint," Pederson said of Smoot. "He's been cleared and ready to go I'm excited for him to get back with the team and get back on the grass. We'll monitor that day-by-day."
Change of scenery 🌳 Check out practice photos in the countryside of London as the Jaguars prepare to face the Bills in a week 5 matchup. ➡️