JACKSONVILLE – It's time to move forward.
So, while a season-opening loss bothered Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson, his focus Wednesday was on the immediate future:
A home AFC South game against the Indianapolis Colts.
"We've got a young team that's eager to get back on the practice field," Pederson said Wednesday morning as the Jaguars (0-1) prepared to play the Colts (0-0-1) in the 2022 regular-season home opener at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
The focus as they do so: Correcting what Pederson called correctable errors that made a season-opening loss to the Washington Commanders difficult to accept.
"We just hurt ourselves, with penalties and mistakes," he said. "Those are things we don't do. That's really what set us back in the game. They (losses) should all sting. You've heard the phrase, 'You should hate losing more than you like to win,' especially when it's self-inflicted.
"I can handle a loss if you get beat: Good games, back and forth, it comes down to the end and you get beat. But when you make the mistakes we did on both sides of the ball, it's harder. It's harder on your stomach."
Pederson said he had no regrets about the run-pass mix Sunday, or about overall opportunities for running backs Travis Etienne Jr. and James Robinson. The Jaguars rushed 18 times for 123 yards Sunday and passed 42 times for 275 yards.
Robinson rushed 11 times for 66 yards and a touchdown with one reception for a three-yard touchdown. Etienne rushed four times for 47 yards and caught two passes for 18 yards.
"I'm a believer that you throw to score in this league and you run to win," Pederson said, adding that the Jaguars monitor play-calling during the game "just to make sure we staying as balanced as we can."
"Obviously if there's a hot running back or receiver, you try to find more ways in the game plan to keep getting them the football," he said. "You just keep finding ways to get those guys the ball."
Pederson noted that Etienne was targeted on two red-zone incompletions Sunday, one on which quarterback Trevor Lawrence missed a complete-able throw and another on which Etienne didn't complete the reception on fourth-and-goal from the 3.
"Those are touches," he said. "Those are opportunities to put the ball in their hands. When you look at the same and how it unfolded, we had opportunities to hit those guys even in the passing game."
Pederson also on Wednesday said the game "solidified who James Robinson is for us," with the third-year veteran performing at a high level and emerging from the game healthy after missing all four preseason games while returning from an Achilles that forced him to miss the final two 2021 regular-season games.
Robinson, a third-year veteran, led the Jaguars in rushing each of the last two seasons.
"I'd obviously seen him on tape, but we didn't really see much preseason other than in practice late," said Pederson, who took over as the Jaguars' head coach on February 6. "What he was able to do kind of excites you moving forward. It's good to have two different runners like that. You can mix the run game up, mix the play-action pass up, the screen game – whatever it might be."
Pederson on Wednesday also discussed improving red-zone offense.
The Jaguars against the Commanders produced 383 yards offense, scoring two touchdowns – both in the second half – on five possessions inside the Commanders' 20. They failed to score on two of those five possessions, with kicker Riley Patterson missing a 37-yard field goal to end one possession and Lawrence throwing incomplete to Etienne on fourth-and-goal from the 3 to end another.
Lawrence also missed Etienne in the end zone on an early red-zone possession that ended with a field goal.
"It's just a matter of being on the same page," Pederson said. "We've got to continue to work at it, get better at it, and still find ways to get our playmakers in position to make plays."
Lawrence on playing AFC South rival Indianapolis in the ’22 home opener: "I'm pumped. Those are the ones you really look forward to – to be in our stadium, to have our crowd here. It's going to be awesome. Anytime we play any team in our division it's a big game. It's going to be really exciting."
Buy tickets to the Jaguars 2022 Season Home Opener, here.