Call this another Miserable Monday.
But although Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio said such a mood was to be expected at EverBank Field Monday, he said he doesn’t expect the mood to last. Through a difficult, frustrating season, Del Rio said the Jaguars have remained focused.
Even now, he said he doesn’t see that changing.
“The sense is that we’ve continued to work hard and prepare hard and play hard,” Del Rio said Monday, a day after the Jaguars’ fading playoff hopes were dealt a significant blow with a 14-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“I don’t see that going anywhere, I think that’s going to continue. We’d like to have a little more fun. Monday can be pretty miserable if you’re not winning. We didn’t win yesterday so there’s a natural kind of sickness that you feel when you don’t go home with a W.
“Beyond that, our guys will get up and get ready for the next one. “
Del Rio said the loss Sunday was particularly painful, comparing it to an early loss this season to the Carolina Panthers.
“It was similar in terms of a very winnable game that didn’t end up that way,” Del Rio said.
With the loss, the Jaguars slipped to 3-7 for the season – four games behind the Houston Texans in the AFC South.
The Jaguars, while not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, would need to win all of their remaining games to finish above .500 and would need not only the Texans but the Tennessee Titans to slip dramatically to have a chance at the division title.
That leaves the Jaguars in a position they have not faced since 2008. While the Jaguars did not make the post-season either of the last two seasons, they were 7-5 before losing their final four games in 2009. Last season, they were 8-5 and leading the AFC South before losing their final three games.
Del Rio said while the playoff chances are remote, there is no reason the Jaguars won’t play with focus and pride in the last month and a half of the season.
“There’s always a carrot,” Del Rio said. “One thing you can always tap into in this league is the fact that you’re here in this league, that you’re representing the Jacksonville Jaguars, putting that cat head on your helmet. You’ve got that National Football League shield, emblem, on your uniform. It’s the best of the best the world has competing, and guys have a lot of pride.
“We work hard all year long to be able to play the games that we have scheduled and we’re looking forward to going out and competing our butts off. So there’s a professional pride that kicks in at some point if you’re not in the hunt for some of the loftier goals, but being a man of substance and standing for what’s right and going out there and living the dream.
“There are many kids at home that are watching that dream of some day making it to this level and so I think there’s a certain sense of pride when you step on the field regardless of the record, regardless of the situation.”