JACKSONVILLE – Calais Campbell is hardly new to tough NFL seasons. Where does this one rank?
"It's up there," Campbell said Monday.
Still, the 11-year veteran defensive end said it's wrong to think nothing can be gained from the Jaguars' 2018 season. That's true despite being eliminated from the postseason and despite nine losses in the last 10 games.
"Hopefully, we can build some character coming through this," Campbell said a day after the 4-10 Jaguars' 16-13 loss to the Washington Redskins in the '18 regular-season home finale. "It's been an ugly year. But there are a lot of guys on this team who can play football at a high level.
"They're going to learn tough lessons. Hopefully, we can use this kind of season to give us that motivation going forward. I guess if there are any positives to take it's that there are a lot of lessons to be learned that can be beneficial to this team going forward."
Campbell said what made the season difficult wasn't just the recent losing. It was also his high expectations entering the season.
"This is as bad as it gets," Campbell said. "I truly believed we were capable of winning a Super Bowl this year, and we underachieved at the highest level. It's all bad. That's hard to deal with sometimes. But at the end of the day, you have to take it for what it's worth and try to learn from it."
Campbell said the final two games represent a chance for young players and players playing in place of injured players.
"A lot of times guys are in the background," Campbell said. "You don't know what they can do until they get out there. Some guys are gamers. They practice OK, but they get on the field and play well. … Any time you get an opportunity to play, you're pretty much auditioning.
"This is an opportunity for you to show you belong, that you can handle one of these jobs."
Campbell said that applies to experienced players, too.
"You're only as good as what you've done lately," he said. "It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business. You're always trying to show what you can do. You never relax. You never hold back. You have to always play your best ball because people are going to remember you for what you did last."
The Jaguars will visit the Miami Dolphins (7-7) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Campbell said the motivation for that game is the same as it has been in recent weeks.
"You have to play the game the same way, the way the game is supposed to be played," Campbell said. "No matter if you're playing for the Super Bowl or if you're playing just to play the game, you have to play with the same kind of love the right way: for one another.
"You have to try to have fun and enjoy yourself. You can't make it about anything other than playing the game the way it's supposed to be played."
*While the Jaguars' offense struggled Sunday with 192 total yards and 11 first downs, a bright spot was reserve running back Dave Williams' 32 yards rushing on five carries. Williams, who signed with the Jaguars off the Denver Broncos' practice squad on October 9, rushed four times for 31 yards in the second half. "Whenever you get time and get more experience, it's a good thing," Williams said. "Whenever opportunity calls, you have to be prepared. I prepared myself even when I was inactive like I was playing on Sunday. It just carried over to the game."