JACKSONVILLE – The motivation is real and clear.
And while an obvious storyline for the Jaguars Sunday is finally winning at EverBank Field, interim head coach Doug Marrone on Thursday said his focus lies more on the opponent.
Marrone, promoted from assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach to replace Gus Bradley early this week, said reality is the Jaguars have lost two consecutive games to the Tennessee Titans – and the most recent loss wasn't pretty. At all.
Marrone said that needs to not become a trend.
"The one thing you don't want to do is have a team feel like they have your number, where it's always a little more of an uphill climb," Marrone said Thursday as the Jaguars (2-12) prepared to play the Titans (8-6) at EverBank Field Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Jaguars, who will go winless at EverBank Field for the first time in franchise history with a loss Saturday, have split their last six meetings with the Titans. The last time a team swept the series was 2008, when Tennessee won both meetings.
But the Titans have won the last two games in the series, including a 36-22 victory in Nashville on October 27. The Titans produced 494 total yards in that game and led 27-0 at halftime.
"Obviously there are going to be some of the same players here next year," Marrone said. "You want to play well within your division. For us, the last two times we've played them, we haven't won. It's important for the organization – for the players who are here – that we go out and try to win this game so that Jacksonville doesn't think, 'OK, we're going to have to play our best game to beat them because we haven't beaten them.'
"You never want a team to think, 'We always have them.' That does happen from an attitude standpoint – not from coaches or in press conferences. But it's in the back of everyone's mind.''
On the injury front, Jaguars defensive Dante Fowler Jr. worked full Thursday after working limited Wednesday. He sustained a hip injury Sunday in a loss at Houston.
Six players remained out of practice for a second consecutive day, a list that included cornerback Aaron Colvin and wide receiver Allen Hurns.
Colvin sustained an ankle sprain against Houston, and Hurns has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury sustained in a loss at Buffalo.
"He is working like heck," Marrone said of Hurns. "He's working his tail off. Personally, I've always seen Allen do that – and I see him now working to get back. You see the expression on his face when he's watching his teammates go out there. He wants to be out there with them."
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (calf) and linebacker Sean Porter (hamstring) also remained out of practice with injuries sustained against Houston.
Offensive guard Chris Reed (toe) and running back Denard Robinson (ankle) remained out of practice. Reed missed the Houston game last week, and Robinson has missed the last two games.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey practiced limited with a knee issue for a second consecutive day and was one of four players working limited for a second consecutive day. The others were left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee), tight end Ben Koyack (knee) and offensive lineman Josh Wells (clavicle).
Wide receiver Arrelious Benn and tight end Neal Sterling remained in the concussion protocol. Neither practiced on Thursday.
Quarterback Blake Bortles practiced full for a second consecutive day with the right shoulder issue he has played through since late November.