JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It has been an interesting week for the Jaguars. A lot of discussion of things that are not football related. Even with the focus for many fans shifting way from football, gameday is inching closer and the Titans will be at the Bank on Sunday ready to play.
A win would silence much of the outside critiques. Yes, 0-4 is bad, but 0-5 is worse. That may seem obvious, but it is worth mentioning that a win on Sunday puts the Jaguars right back into the thick of the race for the AFC South.
It is early in the season, but I mentioned on the News4Jags podcast this week that this game feels like a must-win for the Jaguars. Here four things the Jaguars must do on Sunday to get their first W.
Avoid the Distractions
It is never a good thing when the head coach is trending on Twitter and the owner of the team has to issue a statement about the situation. The Jaguars had to address the Urban Meyer situation on both Monday and Wednesday of this week.
Even if those meetings only lasted a short time, that is time away from focusing on football. And let’s be serious — the Jaguars need to focus on football as much as they can. They are 0-4 for a reason. But what many people outside of the team are calling a distraction may really be a nonissue for the players in the locker room.
Jaguars defensive end Jihad Ward said as much on Thursday.
“I think everybody just tries to pick all the negative stuff that is going around. I promise you we are 100% not worried about this,” he said.
Ward is one of the most authentic players on the roster so I tend to believe that the players are not worried about anything but football.
Stop Derrick Henry
Jaguars fans know this is a must! Derrick Henry has run wild against this team. Henry, who is from Yulee, always seems to look at home when he plays here on the First Coast. During his media availability, Henry even wore a Yulee Jersey with his high school number on it. Just a subtle reminder that he is at home at the Bank. The Jaguars’ defense needs to make Henry feel like he is on the road. That is not an easy task, and it will take all 11 players on the defense to pull off. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins said slowing down Henry is no easy task, but discipline is key.
Play four quarters
For the last two weeks, the Jaguars have had a lead at halftime. In the second half, it all came crumbling down. Winning teams play four quarters of football. For a franchise that has lost 19 games in a row, it is easy to understand that learning to win is a process.
Jenkins said young players make mistakes. When those happen in key moments, they can hurt the team.
“Now you are starting to see those young mistakes creep in from experience here and there. I would say just keeping those rookie or premature mistakes out of the game in critical moments,” Jenkins said.
Stay turnover free
In Week 4, Trevor Lawrence played his first turnover-free NFL game. When I mentioned this to Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, he gave a big fist pump. This is a key for Lawrence’s development and the Jaguars as a whole. Turnover-prone teams don’t normally stack very many wins throughout the season.
“You can see how the game is different you are in the game and can do different things offensively,” Bevell said.
Well, the Jaguars are still at the bottom of the league for turnover differential (minus 8), so there is still work to be done. If Lawrence can continue to take steps forward like protecting the football, the Jaguars will be in a much better place than if we see a return of Turnover Trevor.