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Still fighting


Jack Del Rio's not quitting on the season.

"You know how I feel about that," the Jaguars' head coach said when asked Monday his outlook for the rest of the season. "Until you drive a stake through me, I'm going to always fight for every inch."

Del Rio said while that's true, the Jaguars' prospects – 2-6 at the season's midway point with losses in six of the last seven games – mean there are other focuses aside from postseason talk as the Jaguars prepare for the 2011 bye week. The focuses:

*Get rested and reset.

*Do what's necessary to beat the Indianapolis Colts (0-8) on November 13.

 "We're not conceding anything," Del Rio said a day after the Jaguars lost to the Houston Texans, 24-14, at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. "We're in a situation now where we have such a big hole we just have to put the next game first. We need to go out and win that game.

"To worry about anything else would just be counterproductive."

Del Rio spent much of his weekly next-day press conference answering questions about rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Gabbert, who has started the last six games, has thrown for less than 100 yards in the last two games, and on Sunday, he completed 10 of 30 passes for 97 yards and was intercepted twice. He also threw a touchdown pass for the fifth time in six starts.

"The main thing is we need to throw it and catch it better, but it's not all on him," Del Rio said. "It's a team game. The passing offense is about protection, route-running, quarterback decision-making and accuracy. Then when the ball is there – a catch. There are a lot of different components that go into it and a breakdown in any one of those areas lead to a play that doesn't go the way you'd like it to."

Del Rio said there are no plans to replace Gabbert as the starter.

"Like most of us, we feel like there are some missed opportunities there," Del Rio said. "He's very prideful and cares a great deal. I know we'd all like to see things going a little smoother right now.  We can do some things better around him and he can do some things better himself. That's not any one person and it's not any one thing.

"He's remaining very competitive and working at it. Obviously, we haven't gotten that phase of our football team going."

Del Rio said he hasn't seen Gabbert's confidence wane.

"He's our guy," Del Rio said. "We're going to grow around him and we need to play better around him."

While Gabbert's footwork, pocket presence and accuracy have been under public scrutiny in recent weeks, Del Rio said there's no one particular area about Gabbert's play that concerns him.

"You can't just say, 'If this thing here were better, then it would all be better' – that's just not the case,'' he said.

Del Rio also said while the Jaguars' original plan when drafting Gabbert No. 10 overall was to have him begin as a backup to since-released David Garrard, "We're way past that."

"We talked about how we wanted to it go," Del Rio said. "It didn't go that way. We know where we are. We know what we need to do and we're working at it. That's what we can do about where we are."

The Jaguars' offense is ranked 32nd in the NFL overall and 32nd in passing offense. They have yet to score more than 20 points in a game and he said Monday there is a chance the unit is pressing.

"It's not for a lack of want to," Del Rio said. "With the desire to succeed and play well offensively, some of the issues we've had, no question in my mind that would be accurate and guys would press. That really doesn't help, but it's human nature."

Also Monday:

*It appeared wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker on Sunday may have suffered with the aftereffects of the illness that kept him out of practice Friday, Del Rio said. Sims-Walker finished the game without a reception. "There were times he didn't seem to have a lot of energy," Del Rio said.

  • Del Rio said had the Jaguars regained possession in the fourth quarter Sunday and pulled to within 21-20 with a touchdown he was leaning toward attempting a two-point conversion rather than tying it with a point-after kick.

*Del Rio said no further information was available regarding injuries sustained by guard Will Rackley (ankle) or Gabbert (ribs) Sunday. Each player was injured in the first half and returned to finish the game.

*Del Rio said he wasn't sure if a first-half hit by Texans linebacker Brian Cushing on Gabbert as the Jaguars' quarterback slid at the end of a play was within the guidelines of NFL rules. "I don't know that I'd classify it like that," Del Rio said when asked if the hit was dirty. "It's one of those bang-bang plays and the league has made such an emphasis on player safety. He did slide feet first and with that, he's supposed to get protection. Those things are now often called and often are fined and all of that, so I'll let the league worry about that. We were glad our guy got up and returned to the game."

*Del Rio said the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement have limited how much bye-week work and study players can accomplish this week. Under NFL rules, players must have four consecutive days off over the bye and Del Rio said the Jaguars will have off from Thursday through Sunday. "We can't give them a ball and we can't supervise any workouts over the four days," Del Rio said. "We won't do anything over those four days, but prior to those four days, we'll get some extra practices in, get some extra weightlifting sessions in – conditioning, meetings. We'll do all the things we can do as a staff and as a team to try to develop ourselves and grow a little bit. At the same time, there's a need for rest and rehab for some of our guys who are a little nicked up. We want to come out of the bye a little healthier."

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