Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin said a short work-week won't allow him to dwell on Monday night's 43-14 loss in Indianapolis, but Coughlin clearly had the loss on his mind today, as the Jaguars began preparations for Sunday's game against visiting Pittsburgh.
"The inability to perform in the second half, when everything seems to be set, is a problem," Coughlin said of a trait his team has developed for being completely outplayed in the second half of big games. In the Jaguars' last three losses, including their AFC title game loss to Tennessee in January, the Jaguars have been outscored 77-13 in the second half. In Indianapolis, the Jaguars were outscored 22-0 by the Colts in the second half.
"We need to do something about it. That's going to be discussed when we get together with the team," Coughlin said.
It only took one reporter's question to send Coughlin into a dissertation about his team's ills, which are many.
"What is our identity? We've given up a tremendous amount of points. We talk about all of the weapons we have, but we've only scored 14 and 13 points" in the last two games, Coughlin said.
"I've got to be a little smarter, too," he added.
This is a week when everything about this team is open to criticism, and the coach has made a point of pointing the finger at himself. He got away from the running game in the second half of Monday's game, even though his offensive linemen felt good at halftime about their chances of controlling the line of scrimmage in the second half.
"I want to see production. I've been nothing but build their confidence all year long, but I'm not going to pull any punches with the way I see it," Coughlin said.
His team is in the midst of its toughest stretch of schedule this season. The Steelers, who are winless, are followed on the schedule by Baltimore, Tennessee and Washington.
"We got a tough ballgame this week, and that's all I'm thinking about," Coughlin said, refusing to look past the Steelers, who forced Tennessee to rally for a game-winning touchdown this past Sunday.
"They're starting to resemble the old Steelers team. We're going to have to grind away, particularly in a short week. We've got to move forward fast," Coughlin said.
The Jaguars will move forward without center John Wade, who re-fractured his foot Monday night and is expected to be lost for the season. Wade must have the fracture stabilized by having a pin inserted surgically.
Also out of the lineup this week is free safety Rayna Stewart, who suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for at least a month. He'll be replaced by Mike Logan, who had been backing up Donovin Darius at strong safety.