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Staying professional


However tough the circumstance, Maurice Jones-Drew said one thing is certain:

You can't play miserable in the NFL – not if you want to win.

That's why the Jaguars' two-time Pro Bowl running back said even in the middle of a five-game losing streak while you might see scowls and deep frustration on game days, such things must disappear quickly.

 "We have to have fun," Jones-Drew said Tuesday as the Jaguars (1-5) began early preparations to play the Baltimore Ravens (4-1) at EverBank Field Monday at 8:30 p.m. "We want to win and everybody wants to win, but if we don't have fun and we don't enjoy coming to work every day and don't enjoy the process of going through the weeks, why do it?

"You see guys down after the game, but you put your heart and soul out there. You fight and strain and do everything you can to win. When it doesn't happen, you're emotionally and physically drained because you didn't win."

The Jaguars, after a regular-season opening victory over Tennessee, have lost five consecutive games, and trail the Titans by two and a half games in the AFC South. Those are tough circumstances, and it's a situation the team didn't expect, but Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said playing through the situation is about not wanting to lose.

"You've got to be a professional," Knighton said. "We're all paid to try to win and that's the type of guys we have on this team. You just have to stay positive, regardless of what the record says. You just have to be professionals, show up to work and try to win every day.

 "We just have to continue to work on ourselves. We can't worry about what they're doing. We have to continue to work on ourselves and how we approach the game and how we execute our game plan."

Said Jones-Drew, "I've been playing this game since I was eight or nine years old, and I've always had fun. I've always been the sorest loser, too, but each week you have to have that switch where you can be like, 'Well, it's one week – get back and have fun."

Also Wednesday:

*Knighton said while the defense has played well enough this season to be ranked No. 8 in the NFL in defense, the unit needs to improve early in games. The Jaguars have allowed touchdowns on their opening drive each of the last three weeks. They fell behind the New Orleans Saints 14-0 in Week 4 and the Steelers 17-0 in Week 6. "That's going to be our thing for the week," Knighton said.

*Jones-Drew on reports that former Jaguars wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker could re-sign with the team as early as Wednesday: "Is he? Mike was a great receiver and he definitely helped us out a bunch. He's someone who could help us out. We have a lot of guys who can play, but to add one more weapon wouldn't hurt. I think that'd be great." Sims-Walker caught 11 passes for the Rams in four games this season before being released Monday. He caught 43 passes for 562 yards and seven touchdowns last season for Jacksonville and had a team-leading 63 receptions for 869 yards and seven touchdowns the year before that.

*The Jaguars placed defensive end Austen Lane, tight end Zach Miller and cornerback Rod Issac on injured reserve. Lane sustained a shoulder injury in the Jaguars' loss to the Steelers Sunday and Issac suffered a hamstring injury. Miller has been nursing a shoulder injury. The Jaguars also waived Jamar Newsome from the practice squad. Cornerback Walter McFadden was signed to the practice squad.

*Left tackle Eugene Monroe appeared to be working with the offense in practice Tuesday, as did cornerback Derek Cox. Monroe (shoulder) missed a second start in three weeks against the Steelers Sunday, and Cox (groin) has been inactive the last three games. Safety Chris Prosinski appeared to be working on the side during the portion of practice open to the media, and running back Montell Owens appeared to not be practicing. Offensive lineman Eben Britton and wide receiver Kassim Osgood were not at practice, and defensive end Aaron Kampman appeared to be working on the side. The Jaguars will be off Wednesday and release their first injury report of the week Thursday.

*Jones-Drew on an offense that ranks last in the NFL in total yardage, last in passing and is averaging 12 points a game. "At the end of the day, we're getting close. For the last four or five weeks we've said that. As soon as we win, you'll see how close we are. What we're trying to do here is find a way to pull games out."

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