JACKSONVILLE – Mike Caldwell is encouraged by the week so far.
The Jaguars' defense had a difficult day this past Sunday. That came after a couple of really good performances in back-to-back weeks. Caldwell, the Jaguars' defensive coordinator, said it's how the unit has responded this week – and how it responds Sunday – that may define it moving forward.
"That's what you look for," Caldwell said Thursday as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (2-2) prepared to play the Houston Texans (0-3-1) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
"If you fall down, you've got to get back up."
The Jaguars, after entering the game ranked No. 1 in the NFL in rushing defense, allowed the Eagles 210 yards and four touchdowns rushing on 50 carries Sunday. They are now ranked eighth in the NFL in rushing defense, with another difficult task looming: Texans running back Dameon Pierce, a rookie who is 10th in the NFL with 313 yards rushing and two touchdowns through four games.
"We just need to put all 11 hats on the ball," Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen said. "He's a good, young, physical back. We just need to get to him. We need to win one on ones up front, shed off and make a play. We know that. We're going to do what we have to do."
The Eagles and Texans approach the run differently, with the Eagles emphasizing run-pass options and the versatility of quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Texans are more traditional, depending primarily on backs – particularly Pierce.
"He's another option they have," Caldwell said of Hurts, "but at the end of the day, we were out of our gaps. We didn't play fundamentally sound. We've got to get back to doing what we do. You just want to be successful in the run game no matter who's running it. They (the Texans) have a really good running back, and we have our work cut out for us."
Caldwell, too, said the Jaguars' 18 missed tackles Sunday were "many more" than what is acceptable.
"In this game, you have to tackle," he said. "It helps us on third down. Instead of it being third and short, it's third and medium, and you're in a different thought process."
Caldwell said the biggest lesson learned Sunday was that "we're still in the process of becoming a good defense."
"We have to take this loss and learn from it," he said. "They did a great job of getting back to work, working fundamentals, go back out there and line it up again. We're trying to go 1-0 this week. We're going to go back and be ourselves and get back to the way we play football, and we'll see how it goes."
- Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor on Thursday discussed quarterback Trevor Lawrence's four lost fumbles against Philadelphia, noting that two of four were "unforced" – one when Lawrence was running outside the pocket and one on a botched snap – with two happening when Lawrence was hit in the pocket attempting to pass. "Those [the unforced fumbles] were the disappointing ones," Taylor said. "When it happens in the pocket, it's going to happen from time to time. You want to do everything you can to not let that happen, but we understand that. The two unforced were the ones that really hurt us." Taylor said Lawrence's ball security "is something we've emphasized since the day we got here, and continue to emphasize with him," adding: "He understands that and that's something he's working to correct for himself as well." Taylor reiterated what Head Coach Doug Pederson said early this week, that the team will discuss with Lawrence wearing gloves in future inclement weather – but that the decision ultimately will be Lawrence's. "We'll talk about anything that will help us," Taylor said.
- Defensive end Foley Fatukasi on Thursday was listed on the injury report as not practicing for a second consecutive day after sustaining a quad injury against the Eagles. "It would be a big loss, but we have guys that are ready and able to go behind him," Caldwell said. "If he's unable to play, the next man will be up, and we'll go." Outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (ankle), wide receiver Zay Jones (ankle) and guard Cole Van Lanen (hamstring) practiced limited for a second consecutive day after missing the loss to the Eagles with the injuries.