JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At 7-3 the Jacksonville Jaguars have a one game lead in the AFC South division and are on pace for their best record in the past decade. Of their six remaining games only two are against teams that have a winning record. By most measures their performance this year would be defined as success but that’s not the case with head coach Doug Marrone.
I haven’t defined [the current four-game winning streak] as success,” said Marrone. “I think that is where that becomes difficult. I have always told the players. Last week was, ‘Six games in college gets you bowl eligible. It gets you nothing in the NFL. I hate to tell you, but seven games doesn’t do anything for you in the NFL either.’”
According to football outsiders Jacksonville currently has a 98% chance to make the playoffs. It would be the first time the organization has done that since 2007. For many outside the Jaguars locker room all of this come as a surprise. When Calais Campbell decided to sign with the Jaguars this type of success is exactly what he had in mind.
“I think we had a chance to be what we are,” said Campbell. “I was very hopeful and I made my decision because I felt this is what we could be. I’m feeling really good about it because the potential has always been here. I’m really glad that I thought it could.”
The Jaguars first five wins all came by a margin greater than two touchdowns. Naturally the question raised was how they would fair in close games? In the last two weeks the outcome of the game wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter. Although the Jaguars are checking all of the imaginary boxes that define what a good football team is, they’re still not buying into their own hype.
“I think we’ve had more good than bad,” said Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. “I think you look at it kind of on a week-to-week basis and say let’s win the week. You go through each day and say let’s win the day, let’s figure out how we can get better, how we can go out there and execute and if we go mess up or we make mistakes, let’s make sure we fix them so we get something out of it to essentially be able to go and execute on Sunday. I think you take those one at a time and you get as many in as you can until the end of the season and hopefully you win a lot more than you lose and you’re looking at a chance to play late into January and February.”