JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The losses continue to mount, but Urban Meyer sees the progress — even if it doesn’t translate into a victory.
“I refuse to believe we’re far off,” Meyer said of turning things around.
There’s been evidence of progress for Jacksonville, but it’s not been sustained long enough to offer any sort of hope that it’s here to stay.
Two steps forward and five steps back. A solid day for the offense followed by a clunker. The consistency remains lacking and the losses continue to pile up.
The Jaguars dropped to 2-7 with a 23-17 loss to the Colts on Sunday, and game that they never had the lead in. Jacksonville trailed 17-0 in the first quarter and never caught back up but kept battling until the finish.
It made things interesting late, getting to within a field goal early in the fourth quarter. Indianapolis tacked on an insurance field goal of its own and then recovered a Trevor Lawrence fumble to deny Jacksonville back-to-back wins for the first time in more than two years.
Meyer said that he continues to see progress and being in a position to come away with a win — even though it didn’t happen — was more evidence of that.
“There’s a lot of positivity, most importantly, locker room’s a bunch of street fighters. We got whatever games left and we’re going to go try to win this one,” Meyer said. “And the hardest thing is that this one stung because...I thought our guys put us in position to win that game.”
It was a tale of two halves for sure.
Jacksonville’s defense was gashed in the opening quarter by Jonathan Taylor. The Jaguars had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. But after giving up 17 quick points to Indianapolis, Jacksonville surrendered just two field goals the rest of the way. That’s another boost for Joe Cullen’s defense, which has improved substantially since the bye week.
Trevor Lawrence and the offense continue to be a work in progress, but Meyer said that unit as a whole was out of sorts before halftime. Penalties were a killer, with Chris Manhertz accounting for three of Jacksonville’s six flags before the break. That group has to improve, Meyer said, although he refused to assign blame to any one player.
“Sure, people have off days but when you struggle like we struggled in the first half, [it’s] certainly not a player,” Meyer said. “And it’s certainly not a quarterback. Same thing when someone plays great, the first thing I always usually do is talk about the offensive line or the receivers that made that player look great.”
Meyer said that the Jaguars are improving and he sees evidence of that. As bad as Lawrence and Jacksonville played in a 17-6 first half against the Colts, it clawed its way back to have a shot to win in Indianapolis. The Jaguars held the Bills to just two field goals last week in a 9-6 win. Buffalo turned around Sunday and waxed the Jets, 45-17.
“They got to have that, you know, that refuse to lose [mentality] and I really believe we’re getting there. I really believe you saw it against the Buffalo Bills,” Meyer said. “You saw it against, I thought last night, I really believe they were in a refuse to lose mentality.”