JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' defense hasn't quit. And it has progressed.
Defensive coordinator Todd Wash on Thursday said the latter has been his biggest takeaway from a 2020 season during which the defense has struggled at times and improved throughout.
"They've gotten better; that's the biggest thing," Wash said Thursday as the Jaguars (1-12) prepared to play the Baltimore Ravens (8-5) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., Sunday at 1 p.m.
"We've played a lot of young kids with not a lot of experience and they've gained experience as the season has went on. Our assistant coaches have done a good job of developing some of these younger guys, to get better as the season has come along. That's the No. 1 thing."
The Jaguars, after tying an NFL record by allowing 30 or more points in six consecutive games before a Week 8 bye, have allowed more than 27 points just once since. That game in a 31-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans this past week.
The Jaguars also improved sacks and takeaways during that span, playing playoff-contending teams such as Green Bay, Minnesota and Cleveland tight before losing in the final three minutes.
"I just hope people see the fight we have," linebacker Myles Jack said. "Obviously, things haven't gone how we wanted them to go. At the same time, guys are out there playing and guys are out there fighting. It's cool to see.
"Things happen and it's kind of similar to life and this whole year: 2020. Bad things happen, but we continue to keep going. It hasn't amounted to wins, but it's small morale victories that you can kind of take away and see guys aren't quitting—even this late in the season.
"We're not fighting for a playoff spot, but guys are still playing for pride."
Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson practiced limited for a second consecutive day with a knee injury Thursday. Robinson, the NFL's third-leading rusher, played against Tennessee this past Sunday after working limited Wednesday and Thursday last week. Other players practicing limited for the Jaguars Thursday: tight end Tyler Eifert (quad), defensive end Adam Gotsis (hip), safety Josh Jones (limited), cornerback Greg Mabin (hamstring). Cornerback Sidney Jones IV missed practice Thursday with an Achilles injury after practicing limited Wednesday. Tight end James O'Shaughnessy missed practice Thursday with a scheduled day off.
Jack on fans who believe the Jaguars should lose to improve their position in the 2021 NFL Draft: "I get it from a fan's perspective, but we're still out there fighting for our jobs, fighting for our livelihoods. At the end of the day, the NFL doesn't pay losers. They pay winners. You win, you get rewarded. You lose, it gets kind of ugly. So, from our perspective … we're not going out there tanking. If anybody's thinking that, we're not doing that. I promise you. If it was up to me, we'd be 16-0. That's just how it goes. We're not trying to tank."
Jack on Head Coach Doug Marrone: "Typically, we'll meet with Mr. [Jaguars Owner Shad] Khan after the season and sit down in his office and talk to him about certain things. He'll ask us what we do and don't like. Me, personally, I just have a lot of love for Doug. I just feel like it's been a rough year for him. The 2017 year, when we were really good, I felt like he didn't get enough credit. And then the years when we were bad, he kind of had to eat that. That all got thrown on him. I'm always riding with Coach Marrone. We've had a lot of personal conversations and things I've had to get over and deal with; he's always had my back. Even when I've been wrong in certain situations, he always has had my back. I'm always going to have Doug's back. So, if the man was to ask me, 'Do I want Doug back?' Absolutely. It's weird to say; it's not a great technical term – it just wasn't fair for Doug. It really wasn't. Just the cards he was dealt. I definitely feel Coach Marrone is a great coach. He's definitely somebody you would want in your corner. I'm vouching for him. Absolutely."
Jack on defending Ravens quarterback and 2020 NFL Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson: "That's tough. Just watching the games that he plays, you really just kind of have to deal with him and hope he decides to throw instead of run. Even when he throws, he can still make really good passes. He's a tough guy. He's very talented, MVP. Every time you turn on Madden, you see him. He's the real deal. He's definitely going to be a challenge for us this week. I'm excited to finally play against him in real life. That's a question a lot of people are still trying to figure out."