Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.comJohn Oehser
JACKSONVILLE - The importance of what's next for the Jaguars is clear.
A home game. A division game. A chance to at least stay tied for the lead in the AFC South. A chance to win for a third time in four games.
All are Jaguars storylines this week. All matter a lot.
"We're at the top of the AFC South now; we're looking to stay there," Jaguars wide receiver Jamal Agnew said Monday.
Agnew spoke a day after a loss at Philadelphia to the Eagles, a loss that followed back-to-back victories. The Jaguars (2-2) are now tied with the Tennessee Titans for first place in the AFC South with a division game against the Houston Texans (0-3-1) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
"You have to," Head Coach Doug Pederson said Monday when asked about the importance of "getting" right against a division opponent. "It's definitely one of the goals we've talked about."
The Jaguars are currently 1-0 in the South after beating the Indianapolis Colts, 24-0, at home in Week 2. They have lost eight consecutive games to the Texans, their longest current division losing streak. Houston has swept the Jaguars seven of the last eight seasons.
"Their win-loss record may not be what they think it should be or where it should be," Pederson said. "But this is a good football team. They're aggressive defensively. They're young. They fly around. It's a group you better come ready to play.
"We have to have a great week of preparation, keep focusing on us, fix the mistakes from this week and go play."
Said Agnew, "Obviously we want to bounce back, but we always look at it as the next game is the most important. We want to go 1-0 this week. Fortunately, it's a division opponent. We've got to go handle a Houston team that obviously doesn't have any wins right now, but they're still a really good team if you watch them on film.
"They've done a lot of really good things, so it's no cakewalk coming in here right now. Houston's a really good team coming in here, and we've got a little challenge."
The Jaguars, after entering Sunday ranked No. 1 in the NFL against the run, allowed 210 yards and four touchdowns rushing to the Eagles on 50 carries. The Eagles ran primarily out of run-pass-option looks - with running back Miles Sanders rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries and quarterback Jalen Hurts rushing for 38 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. "They stuck to what they were doing, and I think we kind of got away from what we're best at, which is really hanging our hat on stopping the run and just playing our style of football," linebacker Devin Lloyd said. "Jalen was such a threat running the ball, that now we had to account for him. There was an extra guy to account for him pretty much for every play and every defensive snap. That was kind of the biggest adjustment. There were certain things we did in this game that I feel like in some ways, we made it harder than it needed to be. We'll all understand how to improve basically from this game."
Agnew on Monday said confidence in second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence remains high. Lawrence, after six touchdowns, passes with one interception in Weeks 1-3, threw two touchdown passes to Agnew Sunday and also lost four fumbles with a third-quarter red-zone interception. "We're riding with him whether he's throwing for 500 yards or whether he's playing in a sloppy weather game like [Sunday]," Agnew said of Lawrence. "We're going to ride with Trevor because he's the leader of this team. We're riding with 16 'til the wheels fall off." Lawrence's final lost fumble Sunday came with the Jaguars trailing 29-21 and facing first-and-10 at their 21 with 1:54 remaining. The play marked Lawrence's second turnover this season in a late-game, must-score situation; he also threw an interception with 1:10 remaining in a Week 1 26-22 loss at Washington. "We've just to keep doing it: Keep putting him in those situations, keep putting the team in those situations," Pederson said. "We'll get better. We'll learn from them, keep working, and keep talking about them and the day will come when we learn how to do that and overcome that. The good ones - and I feel Trevor's in that group as we go - want the ball in their hands at the end of the game to win the game."
Lloyd: "After a game like [Sunday], you're ready to get back to work. After any game, but especially after you lose, you want to get over the film, watch it, and put it behind you and get back to a new week. It's like a fresh start. That's what we're looking forward to."