The week was long and short at the same time.
That's how it is when you're on a five-game losing streak facing a quick, four-day turnaround, but considering the circumstances, Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said he was pleased with the week that was.
Actually, he was more than pleased.
"I think it's been phenomenal, what they've done," Mularkey said as the Jaguars (1-7) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at EverBank Field Thursday at 8:20 p.m.
How to turn that into a much-needed victory?
That's the question facing the Jaguars Thursday in their second home game in five days, but center Brad Meester said in terms of preparation and approach he agrees with Mularkey that the week has been productive.
"I thought everybody did a tremendous job, and they've been truly focused in," Meester said. "That's what you have to have, especially on a short week like this."
The Jaguars finished their preparations for the nationally-televised NFL Network game with a walkthrough, non-padded practice Wednesday afternoon – this coming one day after a full practice and full day of meetings on Tuesday. The team held a late walkthrough Monday evening.
"We got a lot done," Mularkey said. "To come in Tuesday, their normal day off, and have a really good practice – a lot of guys stepped it up. It was very impressive on their part."
Mularkey on Sunday after a loss to Detroit had talked of the need to prepare as if the Jaguars were 8-0, and as if they had had success last week.
"Exactly like we talked about after the game – they did just that," Mularkey said, adding that part of what has made the results thus far this season surprising is the Jaguars consistently have prepared well.
"We've had good preparation," he said. "We really have. That's what a lot of the frustration is; they've done what we've asked. We just have to get it transformed out onto that game field. Every time I've stepped on the field with this team, we all have felt like we're going to win the game. Regardless of where we're at, the record, who the opponent is, I think we all have felt as if we prepared well during the week and we felt like we should play well. It's the natural process.
"The one thing we can't do is not have good preparation during the week. Then we don't give ourselves a chance Sunday. That's one thing that will not drop off."
The short week also has another effect:
Injured players get three fewer days to get ready, and with Mularkey already having ruled out running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) for a third consecutive week the Jaguars on Wednesday also ruled out safety Dwight Lowery (ankle) and fullback Greg Jones (hip).
Meester (foot), fullback Montell Owens (shoulder), cornerback Derek Cox (back) and quarterback Blaine Gabbert (non-throwing shoulder) all are listed as probable.
Mularkey said a decision will be made on Mathis by game time and that Cox – who played last week after being limited in practice – likely will play. He also said Owens likely will play after missing a loss to Detroit last week.
The Jaguars' focus this week was less on injuries and more on figuring a way to snap a five-game losing streak that began a week after a Week 3 victory over Indianapolis.
The Colts have won four of five games since that game, and Mularkey said the play of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne have been huge reasons. Wayne, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, has played perhaps as well as he ever has played in 12 NFL seasons, Mularkey said, and he also said Luck has played exceptionally well.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, played well at times in road losses at Oakland and Green Bay, but have continued to struggle at home. They were 0-1 at home when they beat the Colts, but since that game, they have lost to Cincinnati, Chicago and Detroit at home by a combined 99-27. For the season, they have lost four home games, with each loss by at least 15 points.
"We have not played our best football at home by any means," Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "We've played poorly here, which obviously should not be the case. It should be the exact opposite. I don't know what the problem is, or why we're playing like this at home, but that's something that can't continue."
And while players and coaches continue to look for solutions, one thing Meester said hasn't stopped is the effort put into the search.
"We're not where we want to be, but from Day 1, I've loved this group of guys because we're doing everything the right way," Meester said. "Coaches, players – everything's being done the right way. We have the right group of guys, and that hasn't fallen off.
"Anything can happen when you're 1-7. This team has continued to work hard. By continuing to do the right thing, we're going to get this thing on the right track."