JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first win is out of the way. So, what’s next?
A better performance? Another victory? Favored status in the AFC South?
Not so fast. Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said the excitement after a 24-0 rout of the Colts in Week 2 is in the rearview. No one’s going to bring that up again if Jacksonville can’t stack a few victories together.
The next test is a big one. The Jaguars (1-1) visit the Chargers (1-1) on Sunday at 4:05 p.m., a significant test for multiple reasons. Jacksonville seldom plays well on the West Coast. The Jaguars are 3-15 all-time against teams from California or Washington. Regardless of how good Jacksonville looked against the Colts — and it was very good — the team has had to move on quickly.
“It’s that ‘So what, now what?’ mentality. We don’t really care. Wins are great, and they’re hard to come by in this league, and we like them, but
again, it’s my job to make sure that the goals and ambitions and things we’re trying to get done stay in front of the football team,” Pederson said on Wednesday.
“Keep pushing the team to get better. Challenge the team to get better. Challenge the coaches to continue to get better and find ways to improve. It’s a long, long season. You hear that all the time, but it really is. It’s just one game, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
The Jaguars look better entering Week 3 this year than they did a year ago when the sputtering Urban Meyer-led team was 0-2 and saddled with a 17-game losing streak.
“You see a little bit more confidence coming off a win, but listen, we understand, too, like I said earlier, it’s week to week,” Pederson said. “As much as you want to live in the past, you can’t. We’ve got another set of challenges right in front of us, and we’ve got to go to work today.”
They’ve played better under the guidance of Pederson and have been aided by a relentless defense that has already forced six turnovers. They had nine in 17 games in 2021.
Pederson has reinforced to the team just how important it is to enjoy the win in the moment and then move past it just as quickly.
“It’s something he talks about all the time. That’s how football is,” quarterback Trevor Lawrence said of Pederson. “That’s how this league is. You have a 17-game regular season, this is the second game of the season, whether we won or lost that game, we still have a game this week, and a huge one at that, so it doesn’t really matter the outcome. You take a lot of confidence from how we played. That’s the goal, but at the end of the day, we’ve got another game coming up this week, and by lunchtime on Monday, you’re past it, and you’re moving on to the next week. That’s how we approach it.”
Looking back on the Colts game, there’s plenty to learn and build from for both sides of the ball. But don’t expect to see the Jaguars basking in the glow of Week 2. Jacksonville has to figure out a way to get the ball down the field against the Chargers and Derwin James. And as good as the defense has been, it hasn’t seen a quarterback this year like Justin Herbert.
“Definitely, there’s things that can always carry over depending on the defense you’re playing. There are certainly things to do. As far as just your mentality, you kind of have to flip the page. You don’t just luck into a win like we Sunday,” Lawrence said.
“The preparation to get there, the focus, those things, you just replicate it. That’s the biggest thing. That’s the positive that you take from it, and you just try to do it again and again. As far as that result, that’s not going to win you the game on Sunday, you’ve got to stick to your processes and do it every day of the week.”