JACKSONVILLE – New week, same story.
As Head Coach Doug Pederson sees it, what's ailing the Jaguars recently is clear. And while fixing it isn't easy, the approach is clear and uncomplicated.
"Keep coaching it, keep talking about it," he said.
The Jaguars (8-6) this past Sunday lost their third consecutive game. As was the case in losses to the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, self-inflicted errors and avoidable mistakes defined a 23-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Stadium Sunday.
The Jaguars enter Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needing a victory to ensure they remain in first place in the AFC South. Their objective Sunday is similar to the objective much of the season:
Reduce avoidable errors and stop hurting themselves.
"It's frustrating," outside linebacker Josh Allen said. "But at the end of the day, make the plays that come to you."
Allen, who leads the Jaguars with 13.4 sacks through 14 games, spoke extensively Monday of the need for players to hold each other accountable.
"Leadership's all around this team," Allen said. "We have to find that go-to. We have to find that spark. When one person makes that mistake, don't let it keep happening. It's up to that person. It's up to me as well. If I see something like that happen, there's no more because I want to win a Super Bowl. We can't make mistakes like these each week. It's football. Things happen. But when it's a continuous thing, that becomes a problem."
As Pederson did recently, Allen on Monday spoke of the need for mistake-free practices throughout the week leading to games.
"Those are problems we can't have," he said. "It starts in practice. Coach (Pederson) emphasizes practice makes perfect. When we start having clean practices and everybody starts being where they need to be, then we will start seeing the results that we need.
"We have the playmakers, the players – everything that we need – to be a great team. If we hold each other accountable, we'll start taking this next turn. But if we don't do that, then we'll still be making the same set of mistakes we're making now."
The Jaguars entered Sunday's game having committed eight pre-snap penalties – false starters and delay of game – in the first two games of the losing streak. They committed three such penalties Sunday, and drove past the Ravens 40-yard-line four times in the first half without scoring.
Jaguars kicker Brandon McManus missed first-half field goals of 50 and 55 yards, with quarterback Trevor Lawrence losing a fumble at the Ravens 19 in the second quarter. The Jaguars allowed the clock to expire on the Ravens three-yard line at the end of the first half.
"You put up 181 yards in the first half on a really good defense and you do some really good things – then we do some dumb things," Pederson said of a first half that ended with the Jaguars trailing 10-0. "To me, that's the ballgame. At least, keeping us in the game.
"You have to hang onto the football. You have to make your kicks. We can't jump offsides (false starts on the offense) when we're at home. Those are all things that we can control."
- Jaguars second-year outside linebacker Travon Walkeron Sunday registered a sack with a quarterback hurry and a tackle for a loss. The No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Walker has six sacks this season and played perhaps his best game of the season Sunday. "He played really well," Pederson said. "He was able to collapse the pocket. He was around the quarterback quite a bit, chasing some plays down from behind. I just thought he played the type of ball that he's very capable of playing."
- Allen: "You just have to make your plays. We talk about making the plays that come to you and being where your feet are. When a play presents your way, you make that play. You get energy, you celebrate, we all celebrate, and we feed off that energy. We feed off that momentum and that's what we need more of. Once we hit our wave, we have to believe and trust in each other, have confidence in each other. If we can play with that, I think we'll put ourselves in the best position."