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Jaguars Monday presser: ‘Winning motivates everybody’

Doug Pederson met the media on Monday following the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 23-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium

NFL: London Games-Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One London game down, one to go.

Doug Pederson met the press on Monday on the back of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 23-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium. Needless to say, the head coach was in a visibly better mood than he was this time last week - and was the first to admit that bouncing back from two consecutive defeats was important:

“I like the way they responded after last weekend with Houston. We knew we didn’t play well; they knew we didn’t play well as far as the players go. We had a good week of preparation and good travel over here. Guys were focused on Friday, on Saturday and Saturday night at the meetings they were good. There was a lot of energy on the sideline during the game, there was a lot of enthusiasm. Guys were into the game, which is really good to see. I think that was part of the success yesterday, was just how well these guys showed up and responded extremely well. That’s really good to see.”

So, far, this trip across the pond has been a success. Pederson acknowledged directly after the game on Sunday that it came at the right time for his team, who perhaps needed to reset. Remaining in the UK another week is new for the franchise, but the head coach was taking the positives from the extended stay:

“It kind of feels like the old days of training camp where you used to go away and stay in a hotel or dorm to have training camp. It kind of has that vibe to it. The best I can do is keep the week normal for the guys and really focus on the football. We have a great football team that we’re planning for Sunday. I want to keep it as normal and as similar for the guys. But at the same time, I want them to get rest and all that. Being at one spot and one location right now, there’s no drivetime. Guys just walk downstairs to meetings or meal room or out to practice. It’s definitely one of those team-bonding experiences this week, which I think is positive.”

Some of the team mentioned seeing the sights during their downtime early this week. That philosophy didn’t seem to extend to the coaching staff:

“Not a lot of time for coaches, we’re going to be game planning for the next couple of days. I don’t plan on getting away from the hotel very much.”

Personnel questions

The Jaguars made a gametime decision to hold Jamal Agnew out on Sunday. Pederson acknowledged after the final whistle that he didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Asked for an injury update on Monday, Pederson began with his kick returner:

“[Jamal] Agnew is doing extremely well. We’ll incorporate him back into practice on Wednesday on a limited basis and see where he is, he’s kind of day-to-day right now, but we’re optimistic. Parker [Washington] will probably be out this week, it’s a little more significant with the knee. He’ll undergo further testing today and tomorrow to get some more images on it. I would expect him not to be available this week.”

Another area of interest this week is the offensive line. Pederson was reluctant to confirm whether Tyler Shatley would retain his starting spot at left guard after surprisingly replacing Ben Bartch against the Texans. He was, however, more forthcoming on Monday with his plans for Cam Robinson, who returns to contention after his suspension:

“Those are things that we’re going to discuss this week, today and tomorrow before we get back on the practice field on Wednesday. We’re definitely going to incorporate him back into the lineup, get him out there and see where he’s at physically from a football standpoint. I know he’s in really good shape, he was in the meetings the last couple of weeks. Mentally, I think he’s in a really good spot. Now, it’s just a matter of where he’s at football wise and we’ll see come Wednesday. We definitely want to get him in there and get him in the mix to see how it all shakes out throughout the week.”

Pederson elaborated on what Robinson would bring to an o-line that in his own words last week is ‘good, not great’ - and it begins with helping the run game:

“I think he can definitely boost us. He’s a bigger body, powerful and physical guy in the run game. We recognize that we need to be better in those third-and-one, fourth-and-one situations, and we must stay on the field. Yeah, I think he can definitely help us there.”

Building up to Buffalo

Third down conversion was obviously a priority for Pederson. The Jaguars moved the chains just four times on 15 attempts on third down on Sunday, and it’s a stat the head coach is keen to improve:

“Well, we’ve got to stay on the field. We did a little bit better yesterday, one of the things that coming away from the game, Trevor [Lawrence] did a nice job with his legs running in a couple of situations. Just wish he would’ve ran the one that he threw to [Jamycal] Hasty in the back corner of the endzone, he had a first down there. Those are some of the decisions that Trevor made, and he was really good running the football yesterday. We know we got to be better there and continue to work at it, especially in those third-and-one and fourth-and-one scenarios where we can stay on the field more.”

One name that came out of the game on Sunday with due credit was Chad Muma. After being juked out of his cleats on Bijan Robinson’s first touch, the linebacker bounced back to make two big plays in the second half from key pass deflections. With Devin Lloyd not making the trip after having surgery on his thumb, Muma will be a starter again this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Pederson was pleased with how Muma acquitted himself:

“Yeah, Chad [Muma] is a good player. He did a nice job out there, obviously involved in special teams. Made a couple of plays and he’s a very instinctive player. Things that we saw during training camp that showed improvement from a year ago, it was really good to see him out there. He played well and it’s something that when he watches the film tomorrow, he can make those corrections and be better this week.”

So after a testing start to the campaign, is the feelgood factor finally returning to the team, in time for a key AFC matchup at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this coming weekend? Pederson seems to think so:

“I think winning motivates everybody, the spirit is definitely better this morning than it was last Monday. Definitely winning helps, but at the same time, it’s a short-term memory and we’re onto Buffalo. They have a great football team and scored a lot of points yesterday in their win against Miami. Our work is cut out for us, but we’ll take it one day at a time.”