JACKSONVILLE – No way, no how, not going to happen.
That was Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone's stance Wednesday when asked during his weekly meeting with the media to discuss playoff scenarios.
The Jaguars (9-4), winners of six of their last seven games, lead the AFC South by a game over the Tennessee Titans (8-5). The Jaguars can clinch their first playoff appearance since 2007 with a victory over the Houston Texans (4-9) Sunday.
Marrone was asked his thoughts on the matter Wednesday.
"You're not taking me there – I'm not jumping," Marrone said as the Jaguars prepared to play the Texans at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
Marrone said the reason for his approach is simple.
"Listen, I really mean this and I've said this before: We're focused on what we have to do today,'' Marrone said. "We've got a team coming in that's getting players back in a division game. They want nothing more than to beat us as we want nothing more than to beat them.
"Right now, I'm trying to keep this team focused on today – preparing today for this team (the Texans). That has been the way it's been all year. I understand it. I've got to do questions and everything, but I promise you: None of you is going to be able to take me there."
The Jaguars have several scenarios to clinch their first AFC South title, but that can't happen Sunday. They can clinch the title by winning their next two games (Houston, at San Francisco) if Tennessee loses one of its next two games (at San Francisco, Los Angeles Rams). The Jaguars also can win the South by winning two of their final three games if one of those victories is at Tennessee in the regular-season finale December 31.
The Jaguars are currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC. They can move into the No. 2 seed with a victory Sunday if Pittsburgh (11-2) beats New England (10-3) in Pittsburgh Sunday.
Marrone was asked if players were discussing the possibility of clinching.
"Not in front of me; I won't let that happen," Marrone said. "It's not productive to what we want to accomplish. We're playing a division opponent. We're playing them at home. We want to win this game, obviously. It's the most important thing for us and we want to do it in front of our fans. They (Jaguars fans) are a big part of this.
"Our season has shown that we have to be ready every game. We have to be ready to play every single game. Our team knows that. Anyone that's been in this league for a while knows that."
*In injury news, weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith was removed from the concussion protocol and is therefore expected to play Sunday. He had missed the last two games after sustaining the injury shortly before halftime against Arizona November 26. …
*Rookie running back Leonard Fournette (quadriceps) and rookie left tackle Cam Robinson (back) were among four Jaguars players not expected to practice Wednesday with the others being wide receivers Larry Pinkard (concussion) and Allen Hurns (ankle). Fournette, Robinson and Pinkard all played against the Seahawks this past Sunday and Hurns has missed the last four games. Quarterback Blake Bortles (right wrist) and wide receiver Marqise Lee (foot) were expected to practice Wednesday. …
*Marrone said 12-year veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis may have played his best game in the last several years Sunday. "As far as the in-line play, physicality, winning matchups, I thought from the time I've been here it was probably his best game," said Marrone, the Jaguars' assistant head coach/offensive line in 2015 and 2016 before taking over as interim head coach in Week 16 last season. "He had a lot of emotion. He had a lot of good plays, ones that people don't see. He did an outstanding job in the running game, I thought." ... The Jaguars rushed for 156 yards – their highest rushing total since a Week 7 victory at Indianapolis – Sunday against a Seattle defense that entered the game seventh in the NFL against the run. …
*Marrone on Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney: "He can take over a game. He's an outstanding football player. There aren't many players in this league who can do it, but he's one of them who can literally take over a game and dominate a game." Clowney, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, has nine sacks this season.