Weary from their second Monday night game and sleepless Tuesday morning in the last month, the Jaguars returned to practice yesterday and coach Tom Coughlin was pleased by his players' effort.
"The players were tired, but they worked. They were focused. We're really trying as hard as we can to zoom in on this execution thing," Coughlin said.
This is a week of continued introspection for the 2-5 Jaguars. They want to know why they have lost four games in a row. They want to know what their mental state is for the remainder of this season, beginning with this Sunday's game against the visiting Washington Redskins.
To that end, Coughlin is conducting individual meetings with selected players who are considered to be team leaders.
"You're trying to tell them what you're seeing … and still keep their (spirits) up," Coughlin said.
However, the players say winning is the only fix. "I don't think it's team meetings. You can talk all you want. They just make everyone feel better. You've got to win," offensive tackle Tony Boselli said.
"Whenever you're losing, you're looking for one thing so it can be an easy fix. It's not just one thing. It's the old snowball theory," Boselli added.
The theories continue to mount. Most recently, it has been advanced that maybe the Jaguars aren't as talented as they were a year ago. Of course, they have lost key players to injury.
"You tell me that since winning 15 games last year, everyone has forgotten how to play football?" Boselli replied.
Wide receiver Keenan McCardell wouldn't cite injuries as a reason for the team's fall. "You can't use injuries as an excuse. It's football. Injuries happen," said McCardell, who says the Jaguars are on the edge of being eliminated from postseason contention.
"We've got to run the table. We've got to have 11 wins. Whether it's an ugly win or a pretty win, it doesn't matter. You just have to win. We need points. Points win games," McCardell said.
McCardell is expected to be joined in the lineup Sunday by wide receiver mate Jimmy Smith, but Smith didn't practice Wednesday and Coughlin said Smith probably wouldn't practice this afternoon. Smith has a bruised knee.
Smith's presence in the lineup is a desperate need for a desperate team that continues to search for reasons it's losing.