JACKSONVILLE – The emphasis has been strong, and it has been real.
Gus Bradley, in his first year as the Jaguars' head coach, said he doesn't know why the team has struggled at EverBank Field, but he does know this:
That's a trend he wants changed.
"We have a great opportunity Sunday with our home field," Bradley said as the Jaguars (1-8) prepared to play the Arizona Cardinals (5-4) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
"It's Military Appreciation Day and it's our home field and I think we've got to gravitate towards that. We really look forward to this opportunity."
The Jaguars, after losing their first eight games, beat the Tennessee Titans, 29-27, last week in Nashville, Tenn., and players this past week talked of the need to continue improving more than necessarily winning a second consecutive game.
Improvement has been a theme of Bradley's throughout his first season, but he has emphasized a second theme this week – the need to play better at EverBank.
The Jaguars are 1-10 at EverBank over the last two seasons, and their three losses at the stadium this season have come 28-2 to Kansas City, 37-3 to Indianapolis and 24-6 to San Diego. They lost a home game at Wembley Stadium to San Francisco, 42-10, on October 27.
The Jaguars haven't played at EverBank since losing to San Diego October 20.
"Well, it seems like it was a long time ago, those games, but hopefully we've progressed," Bradley said. "Hopefully we've gotten better since those games, but what a great test this Sunday will be."
Said Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri, "It's very important. We've really had trouble at home getting going and playing a good game. There's a lot of focus on making sure we come out and play at a high level this week at home, especially coming off a win last week.
"This will be a great opportunity at home, to play against a good opponent and bring our best game to the table. We can't afford to come out flat or come out slow."
The Jaguars ruled two players out Friday, wide receiver Stephen Williams (Achilles) and wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion). Will Rackley (concussion) is doubtful and likely will be replaced at left guard by Mike Brewster.
Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is questionable with a concussion. If he can't play, then Russell Allen would start at middle linebacker, with rookie John Lotulelei starring at strong-side linebacker. Here's a look at the coverage of Cardinals-Jaguars this week on jaguars.com::