JACKSONVILLE – This game is no more important than the others.
That's an NFL truism you'll hear from Jaguars players throughout this week – and pretty much any week. Veteran tight end Evan Engram agreed on Wednesday, with an addendum:
A victory Sunday would be cool for a pretty cool reason.
"It's self-explanatory," Engram said Wednesday afternoon as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (1-1) prepared to play the Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday at 1 p.m.
The reason, Engram said, is that the Chargers are really good – good enough to be considered one of the favorites to not only win the AFC West but to advance to the Super Bowl. They are led by one of the NFL's top young quarterbacks, Justin Herbert, and also feature elite-level defenders pass rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack and safety Derwin James.
"We want to continue to go win," Engram said. "We have a really good opponent this week, with a really good defense. They have a lot of guys over there. They're in a crazy (division, the AFC West). We're on the road, going cross-country against a team that's favored to compete in the AFC.
"You know the predictions they have for us – the expectations in the media. We don't listen to that stuff, but it's a great opponent to go beat. That's our goal."
The Chargers through two games are second in the West, having lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 after beating the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1. The Jaguars, after a Week 1 loss at the Washington Commanders beat the Indianapolis Colts, 24-0, in Week 2.
The Colts game represented the Jaguars' most one-sided victory since a 45-7 victory in December 2017, their lone AFC South-title-winning season. It also moved them into sole possession of first place in the division for the first time since Week 2 of the 2018 season.
"As far as just your mentality, you kind of have to flip the page," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said Wednesday. "You don't just luck into a win like we Sunday. The preparation to get there, the focus, those things, you just replicate it. That's the biggest thing. That's the positive that you take from it, and you just try to do it again and again.
"As far as that result, that's not going to win you the game on Sunday, you've got to stick to your processes and do it every day of the week."
- Head Coach Doug Pederson on the Jaguars' 0-5 all-time record in road games against the Chargers and their 3-15 record all-time in the Pacific Time Zone: "The No. 1 thing is this is a different team, honesty. We have different faces, different guys in that dressing room. We've brought in a level of experienced veterans to this team who have won where they have been, so they know how to do that and educate and teach. It's a different group. We take them one at a time. We keep kind of preaching that mentality."
- The Jaguars through two games have gotten encouraging production from a slew of recent early draft selections: Lawrence (Round 1/2021, three touchdowns, one interception), running back Travis Etienne Jr. (Round 1/2021, 67 yards rushing, 51 yards receiving), cornerback Tyson Campbell (Round 2/2021, interception), outside linebacker Travon Walker (Round 1/2022, sack, interception) and inside linebacker Devin Lloyd (Round 1/2022, interception). "That's what you want," Pederson said. "When you draft first-, second- and third-round guys you want them to make an impact right away. They have to make an impact. It's a credit to [General Manager] Trent [Baalke] and the personnel staff and all the work they do leading to the draft."
- The Jaguars on Wednesday listed no players on their official injury report. They reported no players on the injury report last week after listing only defensive end Foley Fatukasi (calf) on the Week 1 report. "It's good," Pederson said. "Knock on wood, it has been good. It's a credit to the players and how they have worked in the weight room, their conditioning. It has been pretty clean coming out of both games other than some minor bumps and bruises."