The Jaguars lost their fifth straight game, 29-26 to the Colts in Indianapolis. Now with a 3-6 record, the Jaguars have lost as many games this year as they did all of last season. Here's what Doug Marrone and the Jaguars' players said after the game (quotes via Jaguars and Colts public relations departments)
Head Coach Doug Marrone
“Obviously, it was tough when you get down early. We gave up 29 points in the first half – that’s not what we want to do. Obviously, we had some people running free and a guy like Andrew Luck is obviously going to find them. I thought offensively they were fighting. We were able to get that field goal right at the end of the half, which made it 29-16. Then we come out in the second half and have a 17-play drive and we got it to one score. Defensively, we did a good job and then offensively, we’re trying to move the football. In the fourth quarter, after Telvin’s (Smith Sr.) interception, which was a really good play, I would have felt like we would be able to move the ball a little bit better. We had some changes in the o-line. Obviously, (Brandon) Linder was down and we had to put (Tyler) Shatley in. Then obviously, (Josh) Walker was limping around and then (Ereck) Flowers got hurt. So we’re shoveling guys in and out. We just got to put a game together from the beginning to end. That’s what we’ve got to focus on and we have to stay together and work ourselves through this.”
Five straight losses, three games under 500. How do you keep the team from feeling as if the season has sort of derailed to a point where it can’t come back?
“Yeah, I just think you talk about being a pro, you talk about having pride, you talk about staying together. Because if you don’t, it only gets worse as it goes on. So we all have a job to do – it’s my job to keep everybody together and make sure we’re all going on the right path to do that. And it’s their job too, as professionals, to do it – and I really believe that.”
The issue with guys running free in secondary, it’s been something that’s been happening all season. Why do you think that continues to happen?
“That’s a good question. I mean, we work on it. We do it during the week and, obviously, when people make mistakes, especially at that part – it’s like missing a block. Someone goes for the wrong guy or you’re going to see someone coming straight through for the quarterback – same situation when you miss something in the back end. Obviously, it’s something that’s disappointing and it’s obviously something that we need to correct.”
What were the problems with the pass rush today, especially in the first half you didn’t get much heat on it? Was it the breakdowns with the secondary or were you not getting pressure up front?
“Probably both you know. They get the ball out quick, they do a good job of that – they have a really good offensive line. Max pro, things of that nature and third down, they were getting the ball out quick – perimeter screens, things of that nature. It’s always tough on a d-line when you get to third-and-long and you got to hold the ball a little bit longer and give yourself a chance. But when guys were open early on, they were wide open. It’s tough to get to the quarterback. I think we might have hit him two or three times, but they were all on deeper third down plays.”
How tough is it when it looked like you were going to get more than a field goal there at the end?
“It’s tough. We’ve got to do a better job. Like I said, unfortunately we lead the league in reception fumbles after we’ve caught the ball. So, we’ve got to do a good job of hanging on to the football and giving ourselves a chance. Right there, we have a chance to go for the win and obviously we have the field goal for the tie and we have enough time on the clock to do all that. It’s disappointing when you don’t give yourself an opportunity to go and win a game.”
What did you see on the replay? Did it look like a fumble to you?
“I don’t get the replays like that. I just see what everyone else sees up there.”
Were you surprised about the return?
“First thing I thought is that we got the play off. But we obviously didn’t. It got called in from the officials.”
What kind of lift did Leonard Fournette give you coming back today, offensively? Did it open a lot of things up?
“Yeah, I just think we played the way we want to play. I think it’s helpful. I think we’ll get better at it. You know, first time coming back and getting him the ball, Carlos (Hyde) the ball, T.J. (Yeldon) the ball. They all were a big part of what we tried to do. The more that we’re together and working and playing in this type of style, it’s obviously a style that we’ve game planned for, worked hard to do. And I think that it, obviously, helps us. We saw that today to a certain extent.”
What was the purpose of rotating the left tackles?
“Well at the beginning, with Josh (Walker), we wanted to see what we had with Ereck (Flowers). You know what I’m saying? But then it became a position where Josh (Walker) had a foot and then Ereck (Flowers), I believe, had an ankle or a foot. But we were going to get Ereck in there in the beginning, just to see what we have.”
Telvin Smith Sr. was playing with two bad shoulders. Was it touch and go whether he was going to be able to go?
“No, he’s a tough guy. I mean, he came out and there was no indication during the week that he wasn’t going to go.”
RE: Having to be concerned with the Brandon Linder and Ereck Flowers knee injuries.
“Linder and Flowers, yeah. Linder’s a knee, I know that.”
What kind of strides has Rashad Greene Sr. made since he joined the team for him to be in that role where you’re comfortable with him being out there at such a critical part of the game?
“Yeah, I knew we’d be comfortable with Rashad. I think that he’s worked hard. When we first got here and I was an assistant, he was really doing well. And then he went out there and we targeted him some and didn’t play as well as we’d expected – then injuries came along. So he’s worked extremely hard through all of that, to come back. So he’s someone that I know I trust and Keenan (McCardell) trusts and, obviously, Nate (Nathaniel Hackett) trusts if he’s in the game.”
Do you still trust Keelan Cole? It seems like he was out there fewer times today.
“Yeah, like I said, we’ve got guys that are doing pretty good. He’s part of the rotation and he’ll keep playing. The guys that play well during the week, those are the guys that we’re going to focus on and we’ve got a bunch of guys back there – that’s how it should be at every position, really.”
Quarterback Blake Bortles
How disappointed are you? It looked like you had a shot to come back.
“It is tough. I thought offensively we battled all game long and I thought the running backs did a good job of finding some big yardage and stuffing it up in there. I thought guys were making plays outside and thought the o-line did a good job of protecting. The defense gave us a chance to win it at the end and we weren't able to do it. We have got to find a way. Obviously, we talk about the importance of taking care of the ball. Rashad (Greene Sr.) - it's tough to see that happen to him. Knowing him as a guy and knowing how much he works and how much he cares and the pride he has in this job, I really feel for him.”
At 3-6 and five straight losses, how do you hold it together at this point?
“I think you just have to rely on the character of the guys in the locker room. I know guys that have been here before, prior to last year, who have been through some other seasons. By no means is that where we want to go or where I believe we're headed. We have to stay together and get it fixed. It's on us and we've got to fix it as a group, fix it as a team and find ways to win a football games.”
Did it go the way you thought it would with Leonard Fournette? You went to him a lot. It seemed like there was one big play and everything else was hard fought.
“Yeah, and I mean anytime he's going to play and be on the field, guys are going to prepare to stop him after the year that he had last year and the stuff he put on tape. They did a good job. Give their defense credit, their front played well and made it tough. But I thought really Leonard (Fournette), Carlos (Hyde) and T.J. (Yeldon) all ran hard and were able to - for the most part get positive yards.”
Did the experience of last year, has it helped you now? You know you've been there. Does that help you in trying and get out of the current situation?
“I think so. I think - because you look around and you have we have some injuries, but we had injuries last year too. It's a lot of the same guys out there that were a part of the team and that run last year. So, I think there's a little confidence boost in knowing that. But also, the reality is that we're 3-6 and have lost five straight. So, we've got to get that stopped. We've got to stop the bleeding, get it turned around and finish the season strong. Whatever happens at the end happens. But this is not a team that should be losing games like this.”
Did more open up for you with Leonard Fournette in?
“Yeah. I mean they're a big zone team, just in general. So, they kind of make you take what's there and do a good job of taking things away. They play a ton of zone. We got a little bit of man to hit Donte (Moncrief) on that big one early. So, got them out of that for the most part. But some check downs and the underneath stuff was big, but I thought we did a good job offensively of attacking and staying with it, staying in the game and not trying to - going down 14 or whatever and not getting out of our comfort zone and trying to force anything. Just playing good, efficient football.”
Defensive Lineman Calais Campbell
How much pride was on the line in the second half especially what happened after the first?
"It definitely wasn't pride; it was wanting to win. We started slow and we gave them some plays we don't normally give up. We had some mistakes and they capitalized. But in the second half, that's the team I know. That's the Jaguar team I know and love. We played well enough to win it and had an opportunity but they just made one great play at the end of the game. You have to tip your hat to them, that's a heck of a play right there with the momentum going against them and us driving up the field like that. But at the end of the day, if we played like we played in the second half, I believe we can beat anybody in this league."
What changed? What was different?
"I mean we cleaned up our mistakes. I have to watch the tape to really figure out what it was but I just know we were inspired, we were playing to win and it sucks, it's heartbreaking that we didn't get that win. Because we put ourselves in a position, even though as bad as we played in the first half. At the end of the day, our goals are still intact. I know it is hard, it's probably going to take seven in a row for us to be able to go on a run. But is it possible? Without a doubt. Have teams done it before? Yes. That's what it is going to take. Can this team do it? I believe we can. If we played like we did in the second half, I believe we can. So it all just comes down to doing it, that's to be determined but this team is very capable of doing it."
Running Back Leonard Fournette
That's about a tough of a way to lose a game as possible, isn't it?
"Yeah. I mean like I said, it's the little things we have to pick up on. Just happy to be back with my team and the team moving forward."
How do feel after the game and how did you feel during the course of it?
"I'm good. Like I said, just the little things we need to pick up. It was a tough loss, got to find ways, that's all."
The offense today responded, and it hasn't over the last couple of weeks since you've been gone. Thoughts on how the offense - first half 16 points, second half 10 points?
“I see it as self-motivation. Knowing we have the ability to score at any point. Just building confidence up with our offense. We have seven more games.”
What did you expect in this? Did you expect you'd touch it 29 times, be able to handle that kind of load?
"I mean - did I touch 29 times - I didn't know that. I wasn't really worrying about it that, was just looking for a way to win that is all."
Wide Receiver Donte Moncrief
Overcoming the deficit to put yourself in a position to win the ballgame, for it to end that way?
"Just a tough loss. We fought and had a mistake at the end, we just have to cut the mistakes out."
The resiliency from the offense when things weren't working and all of a sudden you make a play, hung in there and a team that could barely score in the first half the past couple of weeks. What was the difference today from before the bye week in terms of offense in the first half?
"Go back to the small things. Start small and then go big. We weren't making that many mistakes and were able to move the ball. We just have to continue to grow from that and continue not to make mistakes. Close the game out, that's a big thing we have to do."
Fair to say in the second half we were watching a desperate team? So much is on the line with this team, so many expectations, and in the second half, you played a lot better than you did in the first half.
"Oh yeah, we knew we had to bring it home. We came out and executed better, didn't make mistakes, made the plays that we had too. We have to continue to grow from that, and continue to stop making small mistakes."
How about your play on the touchdown?
"The corner got on the inside, they played man. I had an in and I was the guy to go to so I got open for him, gave him a chance and I made a play.”
Did it feel good to play back here in Indianapolis?
"Most definitely. I was here four years so just coming back and playing here was fun, seeing old friends and coming out here, my brother is here. At the end of the day, it was a fun game and wish we could have won."
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey
What did you guys say, do, what changed from the first half to the second half?
"I don't know exactly. We just buckled down I guess. Things got simple – I don't know."
A lot of communication breakdowns in the second half, what led to that?
"I guess that's what you can call it."
Is it surprising for you - I mean obviously you do a lot of work during the week but you guys have played together awhile too. Surprised to see some of the busts?
"Things happen. Nobody plays a perfect game. Just things happen. You have to try to bounce back from it but we dug ourselves in too big of a hole today."
Was the second half just better execution?
"I don't know. Yeah, I guess so, you can say that. I feel like things got a little bit simpler for us out there and we just played. We just went out there and didn't have to think about stuff and just play football like we always like to do."
You guys kind of looked like a desperate team, a team with its season on the line playing in the second half.
"That's how we were feeling before the game. I mean we really wanted to win out, we wanted to win every game from here out."