JACKSONVILLE – Todd Wash remains steadfast in his belief.
Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks feels the same way – and if there was a takeaway talking to Jaguars defensive players Wednesday, it centered on that.
Yes, the unit's most recent performance was by any measure a difficult-to-dismal one, but it's not one they believe will be repeated. And it absolutely should improve Sunday.
"Oh yeah – we can do it," Marks said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-5) prepared to play the Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Wash, in his first season as the Jaguars' defense coordinator after three as the team's defensive line coach, agreed. He said he believes a one-sided, nationally-televised loss to Tennessee last Thursday in which the defense turned in its worst statistical game of the season was a one-game situation that needn't be repeated.
"I think we're a good defense and I think we're going to continue to play good defensively," Wash said. "That's what we expect from them."
And yes, Wash said his confidence remains strong.
"I told our team, 'I think I have more confidence in them than they do,''' Wash said. "I've had some meetings with our players. I still think we're a good defense. We did have a bad performance; we've had bad performances at other places I've been. Sometimes you can't put your finger on it.
"They know what we expect. It's a situation that I do think it's a freak thing. I really do."
The Jaguars are ranked 13th in the NFL in total yards allowed after ranking 24th in the area a year ago, and the defense had played solidly for the most part in the first six games of the season. They allowed 354 total yards in the first half against Tennessee, and the Titans finished with 494 total yards.
The most yards the Jaguars previously had allowed in a game this season had been 389 in 17-16 victory over Chicago on October 16.
"Every week is important, and whenever the defense doesn't play well I think the team doesn't play well," cornerback Aaron Colvin said. "Right now I think we have to take more initiative of that and treat every play like a Super Bowl play."
Wash called the defensive meeting after the Tennessee loss "a humble meeting."
"I told the group, 'I don't know what the hell happened,''' Wash said. "You flip on the tape and it was nothing that we'd seen before. We didn't do a good job coaching and we didn't play very well. We have to learn from it, but it was a bad performance. We're excited about moving on and concentrating on the Kansas City Chiefs."
Marks said while players haven't focused on having a better showing Sunday than the one in Nashville, it's obviously necessary – and there's no reason such improvement can't happen.
"It's a lot more common sense," Marks said. "We've been playing well as a defense. We kind of let it down last week. Especially for our fans base which wants to see us get better – and for the morale of the team – we have to go out and showcase that we can stop the run and we can contain them in the pass as a defensive unit.
"It mainly boils down to getting turnovers and getting back to what we were doing. That's a huge part of our team's morale and success."
"We're normal human beings. As much as we don't like to admit it, we have emotion. It's not easy to be 2-5. That's something I can't stand here and say. It's what we've done. We've put ourselves in the position and now we have to overcome it."
--Jaguars TE Julius Thomas