JACKSONVILLE – The challenge is clear, and Gus Bradley knows it.
Players know it, too, and have said as much in recent weeks. It was Bradley, the Jaguars' second-year head coach, who said it this week as the healthier-than-usual Jaguars prepared for their third home game of the 2014 regular season.
Improvement is great, and the Jaguars have improved in recent weeks.
Positives are great, too – and there have been those.
But with the Jaguars 0-6 for a second consecutive season, there is a step beyond positives, growth and improvement, and Bradley said the step is obvious.
"Our challenge is where we're at right now," Bradley said as the Jaguars (0-6) prepared to play the Cleveland Browns (3-2) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "There are some positive things, but obviously the one thing we're not getting is the 'Ws .'
"What we're building off of is we're getting closer and closer and closer, but we haven't done enough to earn it yet. That's what our team is trying to figure out.' What else can we do?'"
The Jaguars, after losing their first four games by double digits, lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-9, at EverBank two weeks ago before losing to the Tennessee Titans, 16-14, in Nashville, Tennessee, this past Sunday.
Rookie Blake Bortles has started the last three games for the Jaguars, throwing four touchdowns with seven interceptions while working with a receiving corps that has gotten healthier in recent weeks. After missing at least one of their front-line wide receivers in each of the first five games, all five of the top receivers – Cecil Shorts III, rookies Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee and second-year veteran Ace Sanders – are expected to play for a second consecutive week.
Running back Toby Gerhart will miss a second consecutive game with a foot injury, and Bradley said Friday the approach against the Browns at the position likely will be similar to what the Jaguars did Sunday at Tennessee. Rookie Storm Johnson started that game, carrying 10 times for 21 yards. Denard Robinson carried five times for 22 yards and Jordan Todman rushed for one yard on three carries.
Cornerback Alan Ball (ankle/knee), defensive end Andre Branch (groin) and tight end Clay Harbor (knee) were listed as probable on Friday's injury report and are expected to play Sunday.
Here's a look at the Browns-Jaguars coverage this week on jaguars.com