JACKSONVILLE – Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson left no doubt Wednesday:
The 2022 season is not over. Far from it.
“I still believe everything’s right in front of us; our goals are still obtainable,” Pederson said Wednesday morning as the Jaguars (3-7) prepared to play the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (7-3) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Jaguars, after a 27-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, had their bye week last week. They currently are in third place in the AFC South behind Tennessee (7-3) and Indianapolis (4-6-1) – and players this week have echoed Pederson’s thoughts that winning the AFC South and advancing to the postseason remains possible.
“We’re treating this like a new season,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “This group has been really good, really focused. We haven’t lost sight of what we’re trying to do. We had some bumps in the road along the way, a tough stretch, but we never lost that vision of what’s in front of us and what we still can accomplish this year.
“That’s one thing this team has done a really good job of, is keeping that in sight and keeping that in the front of our minds. We’re guaranteed seven games. We’re going to put our best foot forward for the next forty-something days.
“Do your best every day, put ourselves in the best position to win and see where we’re at.”
“We’ve got a seven-game schedule,” Pederson said. “Yes, we’ve put ourselves in a hole a little bit and we’re climbing out of that hole, but seven games … it’s a new season for us. It’s an opportunistic year.”
Pederson on Wednesday spoke extensively of what the Jaguars must do to improve in the final seven games. He said the Jaguars likely will simplify a defense that struggled at times in coverage and pressuring the quarterback. He also said the Jaguars must improve offensively in the red zone and eliminate turnovers that have hurt them there this season.
“We’ve got to clean up some of the things that plagued us in the first half of the year, and just focus on us,” he said. “Those are areas we’ve got to improve and be more consistent.”
The Jaguars currently rank ninth in the NFL in total yards and 19th in points.
“You look at the red zone as glaring – the turnovers in the red zone,” Pederson said. “That takes points off the board. Even though number-wise offensively we’re in a good spot and we’ve been playing well tee, those things really hurt you. it can not only take points off the board, it can lead to losing football games.”
- Pederson: “With a young football team, we’ve got to keep pushing. We’ve got to keep the hammer down to let these young guys know that most colleges are wrapping up this weekend, but we still have a month and a half of football.”
- Rookies Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma likely will rotate at inside linebacker moving forward, Pederson said Wednesday. Muma – a third-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft – played a season-high 25 snaps against the Chiefs in Week 10 with Lloyd playing a season-low 58 snaps. Lloyd, a rookie first-round selection, played 100 percent of snaps in six games this season, but played 91.5 percent in a Week 9 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders and 60.3 percent against the Chiefs. “Both guys have shown us enough they can both play and play in there and play well,” Pederson said. “Now in the back third of the season, I think you’ll see more of a rotation with those two guys. It’s a great opportunity for both of them, and this week in particular because of the unique style of Baltimore’s offense. You’re going to have to use as many of those linebackers as possible.”
- The Jaguars reported no injuries on their Wednesday injury report.