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Offense finding a rhythm


There was progress Sunday, and if it wasn't enough to win, it was still a step.

The task now for the Jaguars:

Build on it, improve and most of all, turn it into a victory.

The Jaguars on Wednesday gathered at EverBank Field to begin preparation for the Detroit Lions, and while there was a confidence and a good feeling based largely on an improving offense, the bigger issue remained clear:

Confidence is great. But winning is far more important.

"We all believe in each other," Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings said as the Jaguars (1-6) prepared to play the Detroit Lions (3-4) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

"When we execute and play ball like we know how to, it does prove to us we're headed in the right direction. But there are no moral victories in the NFL. It's always about the 'W' and the 'L' column.' Right now, we're not getting the 'W,' so it's frustrating, but at the same time we're building.

"We need to go out here and get a win this Sunday."

The Jaguars, losers of four consecutive games following a Week 3 victory at Indianapolis, have had two of their better offensive stretches of the season in the last two weeks. Those came in road losses at Oakland and Green Bay, with quarterback Blaine Gabbert looking efficient and productive during each game.

Gabbert, who threw for 110 yards and a touchdown before leaving a loss at Oakland in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, played through that injury in Green Bay last week, throwing for a career-high 303 yards and a touchdown in a 24-15 loss.

Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey on Wednesday said it's the hope this week that the Jaguars will use the positives from those two games and improve from the first three home games, three losses in which the Jaguars were outscored 95-20.

The Jaguars have lost two overtime road games, and won at Indianapolis, and while Mularkey said the team has played well at times at home, they have been outscored in the fourth quarter at home 41-0. That includes a 41-3 loss to the Bears in which they were outscored 28-0 in the fourth quarter.

"Like I told our team this morning, 'We don't play bad at home,''' Mularkey said. "We don't finish very good at home.' We have just failed, especially in that fourth quarter and especially the last time we were here, but I don't want anybody to think we come in here and lay an egg. That's not the case.

"I still don't know what the difference is between here and away, but we have to fix some things."

The Jaguars enter their fourth home game of the season with far more momentum offensively than at any point this season, with Gabbert's performance Sunday a huge reason.

He not only completed 27 of 49 passes, Mularkey said he had nine other passes dropped, and Gabbert on Wednesday talked of having been able to find a "rhythm" offensively against Green Bay.

"When you get in a rhythm, and I think Coach Mike said this early in the week, it makes everybody's jobs a lot easier," Gabbert said. "The plays you call, regardless of the play, it's going to work, because when the offense is flowing any play you get in the headset you're going to go out and execute.

"It makes Coach (Offensive Coordinator Bob) Brat(kowski)'s job a lot easier. It makes my job a lot easier. The more you can get in a rhythm like that, the more points you're going to score. You've got to get into a rhythm. It's like anything. When you have confidence that any ball you're going to throw is going to be a touchdown potentially, you're more willing to take those shots and the receivers are going to go up and make those plays."

Paul Posluszny said the reasoning extends beyond the offense. The Jaguars' defense has played its two best games of the season the last two weeks, and the Jaguars' middle linebacker said the better the offense plays, the more chance the defense will do the same.

"That's huge," Posluszny said. "When you see him throwing strikes downfield, making big plays, moving the ball, changing field position, it's huge for us. We know the offense is going to score points and put points on the board. We know we have to play complementary football.

"When we know the offense is going to be able to score, it changes plays we're going to see. We're going to see more passing situations and have chances to get to the quarterback. The two go hand in hand."

Jennings, who will start a second consecutive game in place of Maurice Jones-Drew Sunday, said while there is confidence, and while there remains a knowledge that that confidence is nothing without winning, said the approach won't change.

The offense, Jennings said, has believed in itself since the beginning of the season, and the last two weeks only helps build that belief.

"It's the exact same thing we've been preaching the whole entire time, and that's believing in what we're doing and growing as a unit," Jennings said. "With the success of this team and the failure of the team, we still come in and watch the film and correct what's wrong and build on what' right. We've been doing that every week.

"Regardless if we're undefeated, or if we've lost every single game, we still go about it the same way because we believe in our head coach, this organization and what we're doing here."

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