JACKSONVILLE – Doug Pederson grasps the issue. Players do, too.
The Jaguars have lost four consecutive games – close losses, with crucial mistakes at crucial times. And if this past week was similar to the three before that, the Jaguars' head coach said the solution is to continue to work.
As a team. Always as a team.
"It's frustrating," Pederson said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' 23-17 loss to the New York Giants at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. "The thing is, the guys know. They've played a lot of football. They understand what mistakes are made.
"It's on us as coaches to make sure that one, they understand; and two, that we help fix it and help correct and give them the answers; that falls on the coaches. The players having to execute the game plan and knowing their assignments … that part of it is on them. That's why it's a two-way street.
"But these mistakes have kept us from winning these close games."
The Jaguars, after back-to-back victories to move to 2-1 and first place in the AFC South, have lost their last four games in frustrating fashion. All losses have come by a score or less, decided in the final minute, and they remain in third place in the South behind the Tennessee Titans (4-2) and Indianapolis Colts (3-3-1).
"It all comes down to the last quarter and just finishing," cornerback Tyson Campbell said. "We're always right there. We just have to get over that edge and keep fighting. Eventually, it's going to fall through for us. It just comes down to making smart plays and not shooting yourself in the foot."
The Jaguars have led or been tied in the second half of four of five losses this season. They have allowed the go-ahead touchdown in the final six minutes the past three weeks, with the Giants rallying from a 17-13 fourth-quarter deficit Sunday.
"We just have to learn how to finish," Pederson said. "We talk about finishing a play in practice or a period in practice and then finishing a practice. It's the same way with a game. You have to learn to finish a play, then finish a quarter, a half and ultimately the game.
"We'll just keep working at it and keep pushing at it and creating opportunities for ourselves."
Rookie center Luke Fortner on Monday said confidence "absolutely" remains high.
"It's obviously frustrating and it's something where you have to look within yourself and focus in on practice," Fortner said. "It's about continuing to harp on the details and lock down the preparation, and make sure what comes out on Sunday is the finished product.
"A lot of people when things get tough start pointing fingers, or start cracking. That's the last thing you can do. The dam is going to fall. Keep pressing, keep continuing to push it. It will all come together."
Pederson on Monday discussed quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who completed 22 of 43 passes for 310 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions Sunday. Lawrence, who committed seven turnovers in Week 4-5, hasn't committed one since.
The Jaguars on Sunday had a season-high 452 yards, with six drives of 60 or more yards. Their final drive ended when wide receiver Christian Kirk was stopped on the Giants one-yard line after a 16-yard pass from Lawrence, who had led the Jaguars from their 25 in the final minute.
"The last two weeks he's done a nice job leading the football team," Pederson said. "He played tough from a physical standpoint [Sunday]. He took some shots, standing tall. He's on the right track. We just have to keep him heading in the right direction, keep him focused.
"We can't be discouraged with where we are. We're still right there with everything that's going on. We just have to find a way to get one win."
- Pederson on Monday addressed running back James Robinson, the Jaguars' leading rusher in 2020 and 2021 who had no rushes on Sunday with second-year veteran Travis Etienne Jr. rushing for a career-high 114 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Robinson, who has rushed for 340 yards and two touchdowns on 81 carries this season, has averaged 7.5 carries for 27.5 yards over the past four games with Etienne averaging for 82.75 yards on 10.5 carries in the same span. "He has been dealing with some lower-body (knee) issues," Pederson said. "He's a big part of what we're doing. Travis is playing well right now, too. It doesn't take anything away from James. It just so happens in certain situations Travis is getting the ball. As we move forward, we're always going to continue to find ways to get James going and in the mix. It kind of goes back to how well Travis was playing at the time. I have a lot of confidence in James. We're going to continue to find ways to get him on the field. As an offense, we're better when both of those guys are playing."