JACKSONVILLE – Doug Pederson made his message clear.
The message compared in theme to the previous week – that the Jaguars' issues are largely self-inflicted and largely about "pressing." It was the tone of the message that was new. And very pointed.
"I painted a pretty vibrant picture for them this morning," the Jaguars’ head coach said Monday, a day after a 37-17 Week 3 loss to the Houston Texans at EverBank Stadium.
The Jaguars, after a Week 1 road victory over the Indianapolis Colts, have lost home games the past two weeks – to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Texans. After leading the AFC South alone at 1-0, they are tied with the Texans and Tennessee Titans at 1-2 a game behind the Colts at 2-1.
"It doesn't take us out of anything, but we do have to change our mindset slightly, and just understand every Sunday's a different challenge and you just start on Monday," safety Andre Cisco said. "On Monday you have to come in with the mindset of, 'It doesn't matter who we're stepping across from, you just have to do your job and execute our plan.'''
The Jaguars outgained the Texans 404-366, but committed two turnovers to none for the Texans. The Jaguars defensively also did not sack quarterback C.J. Stroud, with the special teams allowing an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and kicker Brandon McManus missing a 48-yard field goal with another field-goal attempt blocked.
The two failed field goals led directly to two Texans touchdowns.
"This is a game where – and it's very rare – where all three phases really had a hand in this loss yesterday," Pederson said.
Jaguars center Luke Fortner on Monday called Pederson's next-day message "not a very good one."
"He came in and he was honest," Fortner said. "He told us, 'Hey, we're not where we want to be, and we have a long way to go. And collectively we're going to have to work every single day, every single week, to get to that point.'''
Fortner added, "Anytime you drop two in a row, as a head coach, you have to be looking at every little detail and trying to find out what the issue is. The big messaging after losing one is you can't let it turn into two and we let it turn into two. I think that's really upset him yesterday is we had these opportunities to bounce back and to respond and we didn't."
Pederson during his next-day media availability Monday was asked when was the time for the "it's-early-excuse" to stop. He replied, "Yesterday."
"We're too far down the road," he said. "We've been together for two years now. We know each other: Players coaches, coaches players. I just think there's just a sense of guys are just pressing a little bit too much trying to make plays and not just letting the game come to them and that's put us in a bind."
The 20-point loss marked the Jaguars' second largest margin of defeat in Pederson's tenure and the second loss by more than 10 points. The Jaguars lost on the road to the Detroit Lions, 40-14, in Week 13 last season before winning their final five regular-season games and winning the AFC South.
"I think so; I hope so," Pederson said when asked if the Jaguars could play similarly after Sunday's loss. "I know that this is not who we are as a team. There's a lot of pride in the locker room [and with the] coaching staff. We understand this is what's on tape. This is what we're putting out there.
"Atlanta [Sunday], Buffalo [in Week 5] and all our opponents the rest of the season, this is what they're seeing. We know that we're a better team. Guys are just trying to make plays instead of allowing the play to happen. We just have to get back to being us."
- Pederson on Monday discussed the 85-yard kickoff return by fullback Andrew Beck that gave Houston a 24-10 third-quarter lead, calling McManus' short directional kick "a great kick." Added Pederson, "The ball's on the ground. We had a great opportunity to pin him deep right there and then we just lost leverage." Beck recovered his own fumble around the 15, then broke multiple tackles running to his right and stepped away from running back D'Ernest Johnson as he approached the goal line. "Guys see the ball on the ground and just made a beeline for the ball," Pederson said. "We had about four guys – five guys – miss tackles. That's just unacceptable and that can't happen when you have such a great kick."
- Linebacker Devin Lloyd sustained a thumb injury Sunday and likely will miss practice Wednesday, Pederson said, adding that rookie right tackle Anton Harrison should be "good to go" after X-Rays on an ankle injury sustained Sunday were negative. Wide receiver Zay Jones remains "day-to-day" with a knee injury sustained in Week 2 against Kansas City that kept him out of Sunday's loss.
It's time to lock in 🔒 View top shots throughout the Week 3 divisional game in sunny Duval ➡️