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Jaguars Monday presser: “Their sense of urgency was greater than ours”

Doug Pederson speaks to the media following the loss to the 49ers

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports


Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson met with the media on Monday, fresh off the back of a humbling 34-3 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers. Naturally, early questions were focused on how the team was going to bounce back from their first setback since Week 3. Pederson was already looking at making the relevant corrections:

“You can’t dwell too much. Obviously, they’re in here and I want them to watch the film. I want them to make the corrections, they need to see it and I challenge them to be critical of their performance, good and bad. Then, take the constructive criticism that the coach might have. It’s the only way we can continue to get better. It’s disappointing that both sides of the ball, I thought special teams was decent yesterday, probably the one bright spot, but offense and defense just did not play our best. It’s a head scratcher and things that when you look at it, four giveaways, five sacks, no takeaways, two sacks I think, start the game with a touchdown, end the half with a field goal, start the third quarter with a touchdown. All things that are you kind of ‘eh’ right there. I want them to see it, I want them to make the corrections and move on.”

There was a feeling in the press conference that, in coming up against the 49ers on Sunday, the Jaguars were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whilst he was conscious to own any mistakes in both preparation and execution last week, Pederson somewhat agreed with the sentiment:

“I think there’s some of that. Obviously, we caught a San Francisco team that had lost three and I felt like their sense of urgency was greater than ours in the game yesterday. They played a little faster than we did yesterday. I think after the game someone asked me if they were desperate, and good teams are never desperate, they’re just good. They figure it out and that’s what we’re trying to do right now, I still think we’re a good football team and we’re still trying to figure some things out and some pieces. We got behind the eight ball quickly yesterday and just never could recover.”

Sunday saw the Jaguars lose at EverBank Stadium for the third time in four games this season. Asked what the team found so challenging about playing in front of their own fans, Pederson admitted it was perplexing:

“I wish I could honestly answer that question. It’s the darndest thing, you’re here in front of your crowd and fans and you’re at home. We’ve done it three times this year now where we haven’t played our best. All three losses, there’s got to be that sense of urgency like I was talking about with the guys. It wasn’t that they weren’t prepared or ready because there was a lot of energy and a lot of excitement pregame and all of that. When you look at it, the offense goes three and out, sack on third down. This is what’s crazy, we blocked the wrong guy, we got a false start, we got a missed signal on screen on the second possession. Then we ended up having a sack, we punt, punt on the third series, fourth series we had a delay of game, a fumble or a sack fumble. Fifth series, we finally got it together. We went down and got a field goal. Why does it take us to the fifth series to get it going? That’s offensively. It’s everything that we can control. These are the things that we show our guys and if we can eliminate this, it puts us in a better position.”

The post-mortem

As is customary at the Monday press conferences, Pederson ran through some of the injuries that the Jaguars are dealing with following the previous game. With numerous players leaving the field on Sunday, only two of them look to be significant concerns:

“Tyson [Campbell] has the same injury that he had. He just felt it grab in the game, he’s kind of day-to-day right now. He felt okay today, but he’s got a couple of days here before we get back on the field on Wednesday. I’m assuming we’ll probably limit him a little bit this week and just see where he’s at the end of the week. Jamal [Agnew] fell on his shoulder in the game, so he’s got a little shoulder issue going on. There’s a potential that as the week progresses, we’ll see where he’s at. But it doesn’t look promising right now on a Monday. We’ll see where he is during the course of the week. Everybody else just had little nicks and bumps and bruises, came out of the game okay.”

After only putting three points on the board on Sunday, Pederson was asked what the plan was for getting the offense back on track - a unit that has flattered to deceive on more than one occasion this season. The Jaguars head coach preached preparation and consistency:

“It’s been there, it’s been on track on times. It just comes down to the preparation, I talk to the guys all the time about their preparation when they’re outside this building. What are they doing a little extra? Are they studying extra tape, are they looking at every cutup of a certain route or coverage or defensive front blitz, whatever it might be? Just to stay sharp and stay up on what they could possibly see during a game. It just comes down to the execution. It’s plays that we’re now recycling because we’re so far along that you just recycle plays. It’s not anything new that we’re trying to invent or create. It just comes down to each person owning that responsibility.”

The 49ers have been touted as one of the heavyweights in the NFC, not least for the abundance of talent they have accumulated on defense. Pederson shared his thoughts on a challenging afternoon for Trevor Lawrence:

“They do a nice job of holding their safeties a little bit, but I think for the most part, we had a really good understanding and feeling of what they we’re going to do and where they were going to be. They did a nice job with our receivers and that’s the one thing, because they have such a good pass rush too, if you can hold coverage and different things a little bit longer, it buys you a little extra time and extra second for your pass rush to get there. Some of that happened yesterday, but we’ve got to do a better job of helping our players as coaches and make sure we’re putting them in good situations by play call or design. We just weren’t efficient on first down either. A credit to San Fran, they did a nice job.”

Bouncing Back

After such a big loss, it’s quite easy to forget that the Jaguars have just enjoyed a five-game winning streak - unmatched anywhere in the NFL. Getting back to that won’t be easy, but Pederson did suggest that getting healthy, particularly on the offensive line, should give the team more consistency:

“Well, that’s big. Having five guys that would’ve been here for nine games. There would be more continuity I think, Walker [Little] is still working himself back in with his first full game back in there. Really just understanding that there’s a lot of communication that has to go on up front, getting all of that down and the timing. It continues to improve but we can definitely get better there. We’re missing Zay [Jones] obviously, that’s a big piece to the pass game and hopefully he’s available either this week or next. We can get some of that continuity back a little bit.”

Does one loss affect the coaching staff’s opinion of their roster? Pederson was emphatic - absolutely not:

“I got a lot of confidence in the group, there’s no question or hesitation. They’ll continue to improve and get better.”

After the defeat to the Houston Texans earlier this year, Pederson looked visibly annoyed with his team’s performance. His candor was noticeably different on Monday - more upbeat and positive about getting back on track. It’s easy to forget that the Jaguars sit 6-3, and if the season ended today, they would be the 3rd seed in the AFC:

“I know, that’s the crazy thing about it. Again, that’s the positive I left with the guys. You’re in a good position, you’re still in first place in the AFC South and you’ve got two big matchups coming up. It’s still right there in front of us.”

Despite the setback, and the recent rise of the Texans, Pederson was still confident in his teams’ chances at a division title - and knows they’re currently in the box seat:

“No, there’s still no panic. I think if you panic, you almost wave the white flag a little bit. This is what I want our team to understand, is you’re still sitting in first place, everything is still right here in front of you, you control it, you put yourself in a good situation. If we can just eliminate or even minimize some of these mistakes that we’re making and shooting ourselves in the foot as we say, then it puts you in a better position to get into the fourth quarter and potentially win games. It’s also different being 6-3 than 3-6 or 3-7 as well. Sometimes too, you’ve got to play and you don’t worry about the record, you play as if your back is against the wall every day. You come out and give it your best shot.”

The Jaguars enter a key point of the season, with back to back AFC South games ahead. Pederson looks to embrace the next two weeks as a chance for his team to get a real stranglehold on the division:

“Obviously you don’t control the schedule, but I’ve been in situations where I’ve had four division games to end the season before. It is what it is. It just so happens you got Tennessee and Houston back-to-back. It’s just a great opportunity for us to get back on track.”