JACKSONVILLE – The task at hand matters. A lot.
But while the Jaguars on Wednesday continued preparing for their biggest regular-season home game in at least two decades, they did so with a broader perspective.
That perspective involved Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills who remains in critical condition in Cincinnati, Ohio, after suffering cardiac arrest in the first quarter of a game with the Cincinnati Bengals Monday.
"It's certainly something that's on everybody's mind," offensive coordinator Press Taylor said Wednesday as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (8-8) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (7-9) at TIAA Bank Field Saturday at 8:15 p.m.
"There's certainly kind of a cloud in the air that everybody's conscious of and aware of. [Jaguars Head Coach] Coach [Doug Pederson] has done a great job of making resources available for the team and letting everybody know, 'Whatever you need, we'll provide for you – whether that's somebody to talk to, more answers as we move on …'
"As we move forward, everybody's thoughts and prayers are with Damar and everybody involved."
Titans-Jaguars Saturday will decide the AFC South, with the Jaguars winning the division with a tie or victory and the Titans winning with a victory. But thoughts around TIAA Bank Field Wednesday also remained with Hamlin.
"It's scary for everybody to see that, and you just hate that something like this happens especially to someone like Damar," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said, noting that he played against Hamlin twice collegiately while Lawrence was at Clemson and Hamlin was playing for Pittsburgh.
"It's just a tragedy, so obviously our prayers and thoughts are with him and his family. It's scary for us who play the game and everyone who has played the game – and the stadium full of people who witnessed that. …
"It really puts things into perspective. Life is fragile and you know what can happen."
Jaguars players and coaches discussed Hamlin during a meeting Tuesday.
"It's a difficult situation," wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. said. "Nobody wakes up that day and expects something like that to happen on the field. All we can do is pray and show support for him and his family and what they're going through – and for him to be acknowledged that this did happen.
"We talked about it and we had a prayer for him. That's what we can do, is show our support."
Taylor, in his first season as the Jaguars' coordinator, is the brother of Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor. Press Taylor said the two spoke Monday evening as Zac Taylor was leaving the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after checking on Hamlin.
"I called him that night just to check in on him," Press Taylor said. 'It's a traumatic experience for anybody that was involved in that situation. Whether it's football, whether it's outside the building, you watch somebody in a life-threatening situation, everybody's affected by that. I wanted to call and talk to him, make sure he was good.
"It's certainly something you don't plan to deal with, you don't have a plan for. We as football coaches and football players like the structure of our job. We like knowing we have a meeting here, or we do this at this time or we do this at that time. There's no playbook, there's no manual, for somebody being in a life-threatening situation."
- Taylor on Wednesday praised Jones' performance this season in a different role than he played last season after the offseason signings of wide receivers Christian Kirk (78 receptions, 1009 yards, seven touchdowns) and Zay Jones (78, 802, four) and tight end Evan Engram (69, 739, four). Marvin Jones, who caught six passes for 61 yards against the Houston Texans Sunday, caught 73 passes for 832 yards and four touchdowns in 2021 after signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the '21 offseason. He has 44 receptions for 500 yards and three touchdowns this season. "Marvin's been a steady, consistent pro," Taylor said. "He's filled his role to the best of his ability knowing it has kind of been built for these other guys. Marvin has done a great job and any time we've needed Marvin to come through, he has come through. Whether that be a third down, whether that be in the red zone, he has somebody we certainly know we can count on. He has done it throughout his career. We're happy we have Marvin on our team right now."
- Lawrence practiced on a limited basis Wednesday with a toe injury after being listed as not practicing Tuesday; he has played through the injury the last four games. Five other Jaguars players were listed as practicing limited Wednesday: safety Andrew Wingard (shoulder), outside linebacker Travon Walker (ankle), right guard Brandon Scherff (abdomen/ankle), defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi (ankle) and safety Rayshawn Jenkins (shoulder). Long snapper Ross Matiscik (back) was the lone active Jaguars player not practicing Wednesday. Wingard, Walker, Matiscik, Scherff and Fatukasi played through the injuries against Houston Sunday.