Sitting at 4-5, the Jaguars have a long ways to go if they want to reach the postseason. Their first task comes on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts (5-4). Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette understands the importance of this game, but isn’t as worried as some might think.
“We gotta fight at the end of the day,” Fournette told reporters shortly after practice on Thursday. “We know what’s at stake, what’s important right now. As a team, everybody’s bond is greater than since my three years here. I think this team is a lot closer than any other team I’ve played with.”
The Jaguars underwent significant roster and coaching turnover shortly before the season. Multiple veteran players were left off the roster and in their place came new, energized, young talent that was ready to flourish on the team. While the team might not be in the right place — record wise — right now, the Jaguars are in the right place mentally as well as physically as they enter the final seven games of the season.
“This year, we had to step for each other. A lot of young guys playing,” Fournette said before acknowledging that veteran cornerback Jalen Ramsey was no longer on the team, causing a much younger Tre Herndon to step up in his place. The Jaguars also underwent adversity at the quarterback position. Losing their starting quarterback within the first 11 offensive plays of the season is a near-death sentence, however the team rallied behind rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II in order to stay relevant thus far this season.
“The thing I’ve told these guys, ‘We’re not as talented as we were the last two years, but this year is still closer – the bond we’ve created with each other.’ I think that’s when everybody fights – the bond we have with each other, to fight each and every day.”
The team absolutely isn’t as talented as past teams — at least not the 2017 Jaguars. The 2017 Jaguars featured several Pro Bowl caliber players such as Mailk Jackson, Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, and Tashaun Gipson Sr. None of those players are on the team this season, however the young, rising talent on this team is intriguing.
Part of the solution for this season could come in the form of starting quarterback Nick Foles. Foles has captured the Jaguars’ locker room’s attention in a way no other player seemingly has over the past couple of years. Perhaps thanks to his genuine love for the players he has around him, or because of the accolades he brought with him to the team in winning a Super Bowl.
“His [Nick Foles’] speech kinda went viral yesterday. I didn’t see it until last night,” Fournette said. “I think that’s who Nick is. He’s a god-fearing man. He demonstrates that to us everyday — even before he got hurt — he always demonstrated that to the offense, so he always had that in him.”