JACKSONVILLE – This is no time to complicate things.
The Jaguars must stop the run better in the final seven games of the season, and defensive tackle Abry Jones said the key to doing so can be put succinctly.
"We've got to come in with a mindset, stand up and knock it out," Jones said Thursday as the Jaguars (4-5) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (5-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m.
"We've got to stand up. That's pretty much all it is. The Colts and other teams down the line … there are a lot of great running teams we still have to play. We've got to be disciplined in everything we do."
The Jaguars through nine games rank 22nd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, and have had multiple games – at Denver, home against New Orleans, home against Tennessee, at Cincinnati and home against the New York Jets – in which they have played well in the area.
But when the Jaguars have struggled there, they have really struggled. They allowed 285 yards rushing in a loss at Carolina and 216 in a Week 9 loss to Houston in London just before this past Sunday's bye.
"We just have to consistency stopping the run," defensive coordinator Todd Wash said Thursday, adding that the area was a major topic when the coaching staff self-scouted during the bye.
Wash also noted the team has allowed more "explosive" runs than in his first three seasons as coordinator, with Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey scoring on a 84-yard run in Week 5, Carolina running back Reggie Bonnafon scoring on a 59-yard run and Houston running back Carlos Hyde registering a 58-yard run in London.
The Jaguars struggled at times in the first nine games with defenders out of their lanes and gaps, which in a gap-control defense such as the Jaguars play often means breakaway runs.
"We have to be consistent and stay locked in," Wash said. "A couple of them were maybe some checks, that maybe we missed and didn't communicate all the way back. Maybe a guy didn't think the line was doing this and thought he was doing something else.
"That's really the communication and consistency within the game plan each and every week."
The Jaguars are 4-0 in games holding opponents under 100 yards rushing, and they have nine of their 10 takeaways in those games with 19 of their 30 sacks. They are 0-5 when allowing more than 100 yards rushing with one takeaway – a forced fumble at the end of Hyde's 58-yard run in London.
"It's huge," linebacker Najee Goode said. "We've done it before. We just have to consistently do it so we can consistently get back to the defenses they've had here in the past. It's just a matter of getting it done. When we've played as one cohesive defense, we've held teams to 12 and 13 points.
"We have to consistently go in and keep jelling. Now's the time to do it. We definitely can make it happen. When we play as one team, it's hard to block everybody."
Also around the Jaguars Thursday:
*Running back Leonard Fournette on Thursday reiterated something he has said before this season – that this Jaguars team is closer than the past two seasons. "We know what's at stake, what's important right now," Fournette said. "As a team, everybody's bond is greater than since my three years here. I think this team is a lot closer than any other team I've played with. The thing I've told these guys, 'We're not as talented as we were the last two years, but this year is still closer – the bond we've created with each other.' I think that's when everybody fights – the bond we have with each other, to fight each and every day." Fournette cited cornerback Tre Herndon starting in place of since-traded Jalen Ramsey and quarterback Gardner Minshew II starting eight games for them-injured Nick Foles as helping the facilitate the closeness. "All the things we went through this season, we had to step up for each other," Fournette said. "A lot of these have gone on and we had to understand each other as humans and players." …
*The Jaguars remained close to full health Thursday, with all active players practicing for a second consecutive day. Four players – wide receiver Dede Westbrook (neck/shoulder), cornerback D.J. Hayden (neck/shoulder), linebacker Leon Jacobs (hamstring) and linebacker Quincy Williams (hamstring) – were listed on the injury report as practicing full for a second consecutive day, and safety Ronnie Harrison (eye) and tight end Seth DeValve (oblique) were added to the injury report Thursday. Center Brandon Linder (shoulder), left tackle Cam Robinson (knee) and defensive end Calais Campbell (back) practiced limited for a second consecutive day Thursday. …