LONDON – Stateside, overseas, wherever … these things aren't easy at 0-3.
They're sure not easy within the context of this season.
We're talking about this "10 Things" feature – a list of 10 things the Jaguars must do to beat (insert opponent) and a weekly jaguars.com game-week tradition long before this season and long before this decade.
It's a detailed, specific list of what the Jaguars must do to win the current game, and there surely are specific things the Jaguars must do to beat the Indianapolis Colts at Wembley Stadium Sunday. We'll get to listing them to soon enough with the following caveat:
What the Jaguars need to do win Sunday really isn't anything specific or tangible.
They just need to figure out how to do it.
It's not as if they don't have the talent. It's not as if they haven't put themselves in position. They played Green Bay tough in the regular-season opener. The ball touched the hands of the team's best player, Allen Robinson, in the end zone in the final seconds and … incomplete.
The Jaguars played well enough for the most part to win. They just didn't.
Skip past the Week 2 debacle in San Diego and fast forward to this past Sunday. The Jaguars played well enough for the final three quarters against Baltimore to win, and they did a lot of winning things defensively throughout the fourth quarter. There were multiple occasions in that quarter when you thought sure the Jaguars were a play from winning …
And they just didn't.
That has been the story of the season so far. A twist here or a turn there and the Jaguars could be 2-1. They aren't. They are 0-3 and when you're 0-3 it doesn't matter how close you were to 2-1. You're just 0-3 and 0-3 stinks.
What do the Jaguars need to do to change that Sunday? Here are 10 things:
1)Get better quarterback play.This theme has been done this week to the point that it feels overdone. Maybe it has been overdone, but Blake Bortles can't turn the ball over and take sacks as he has done this season if the Jaguars are going to win.
2)See No. 1.It's that important.
3)Catch the ball on defense.Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will make mistakes. He'll also make plays to make up for those mistakes; that's what elite quarterbacks do. You must take advantage of enough of his early mistakes to withstand the part when he makes up for them. When he throws you the ball, catch it.
4)Contain Luck.Many, many things make Luck dangerous. His ability late in games, his poise, his arm strength … and so on. But one thing that truly sets him apart from other elite quarterbacks is his ability to run effectively and throw on the run with equal effectiveness. Interior pressure and containing could be key Sunday. If Luck gets outside the pocket too often, that's real trouble.
5)Run. There will be people who scream "Aaaaarrggh" at this because the running game hasn't worked and screaming "Aaaaarrggh" is a way to ease frustration. Scream "Aaaaarrggh" all you want, but the Jaguars still must run better than they have if they're going go win.
6)Get a lead early.Yes, we're harping on the fast-starts thing again, but we're harping because it's a real thing. The Jaguars have led three times this season – twice briefly against Green Bay late in the first half and once briefly against Baltimore in the second. It's hard to play from behind all the time. Get a lead, extend the lead. Take some of the late-game pressure off.
7)Throw the ball to A-Rob. Allen Robinson is your best player. Yes, defenses are making it tougher on him by playing safeties deep to take away the deep pass, but he showed last week he can make plays in the face of increased/altered defense.
8)Get Marqise Lee involved.The third-year wide receiver showed some serious signs of improvement last week, and he is showing more and more of the speed and playmaking ability that made him a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. He looks like a big play waiting to happen. Make it happen.
9)Contain T.Y. Hilton.Few receivers in the NFL make big, game-changing plays as consistently as Hilton. The matchup when Jaguars rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey covers Hilton will be one to watch. Ramsey has fared well so far early this season; Hilton may be his toughest task yet.
10)Win.Just find a way.