JACKSONVILLE – Mindset will be key.
"They're going to make plays; it's the NFL," Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said.
And while that NFL truism relates to any game, it's perhaps particularly true of the Jaguars' Week 1 opponent.
Yes, the Jaguars figure to be one of the NFL's best defenses. And yes, they believe they can stop any team any time.
But the Kansas City Chiefs are potent enough that big plays – even successive big plays – are to be expected against even the best defenses. Campbell, the Jaguars' most-tenured defensive player, said it's how a team responds to such situations that often decides the outcome against high-powered offenses.
"The biggest thing is one play at a time," Campbell said as the Jaguars prepared to play the Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "We're going to make plays, too. We have to keep fighting. Keep winning the play in front of us. If we lose the last one – it is what it is. OK, cool. We'll grade it on Monday, but the next play is just as crucial.
"If we can make a play, it could give us the opportunity for us to win the game. It's four quarters. They're very, very talented. They're going to make plays. We know that, so you have to stay encouraged and take it one play at a time."
Campbell said while taking advantage of opportunities for sacks, interceptions and fumble recoveries always matters, it's particularly important against an offense such as that of the Chiefs.
"When guys don't take advantage of turnover-worthy plays, they're going to go score points," Campbell said. "When you get those turnover-worthy plays, you have to capitalize. You can't miss those plays. When the ball's on the ground, we have to come up with it. It can't go back to them.
"If you get a third-and-long, you have to get them off the field. But they're really good at converting third and long, too."
Also around the Jaguars this week:
*Head Coach Doug Marrone was effusive in his praise for the Chiefs' offense, calling the unit on par with the great NFL offenses he has seen in recent decades. He also lauded Chiefs third-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the 2018 NFL Most Valuable Player. Marrone noted that Mahomes last season was the third player in NFL history with 50 or more touchdown passes in a season and noted the other two – Peyton Manning and Tom Brady – are future Hall of Fame selections. "He's one of three in what he's done," Marrone said. "You keep him in the pocket, he can beat you with his arm. If you get him out of the pocket, he can beat you down the field. He can make all the throws. He's a runner. He can scramble. There's a reason why you give him MVP of the league. You're the most Valuable Player. You're the best player in the NFL. That's what he's done. It's a new year and a new season. We'll go out there and do the best job we can."
*Mahomes is one reason the Chiefs are one of the NFL's best offense. So is wide receiver Tyreek Hill. But a player who hurt the Jaguars in their 2018 meeting was tight end Travis Kelce, a four-time Pro Bowl selection and one of the NFL's best receiving tight ends. He caught five passes for 100 yards in the Chiefs' 30-14 victory over the Jaguars last season. "Obviously, he has a great catch radius," defensive coordinator Todd Wash said. "If you put a smaller body on him, you're probably going to have some issues because he's such a big, physical guy. We have to put a bigger body on him. Who that might be, we're not sure yet. But we have to get somebody on him who we know is a bigger body. We've seen throughout the years they try maybe a nickel on him, and he bodies them up. If you put a guy who can't run, he'll run by you. He's a tough matchup for us and everybody in the league. You have to mix it up."