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Open Locker Room: A new culture

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew on mood of locker room after two victories in last three games: “It’s a new culture.”

JACKSONVILLE – Another week, another game, another Sunday.

Another opportunity.

And while that seems a very familiar theme, and while it may even seem sneakily like CoachSpeak, that’s what Jaguars players said mattered Wednesday as they gathered at EverBank Field to begin preparing for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday . . .

Not necessarily trying to get back-to-back victories . . .

Not necessarily trying to win a third consecutive game . . .

Yes, the Jaguars can attain those things in Cleveland Sunday, but while those things were discussed Wednesday afternoon, players said they were hardly the focus.

“We just try to get better each and every week,” Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-9) prepared to play the Cleveland Browns (4-7) at FirstEnergy Field in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday at 1 p.m.

“If we keep building and doing what we’re doing week in and week out in these last couple of games, we can be successful.”

The Jaguars, after losing their first eight games of the season by double digits, have won two of their last three games, beating the Tennessee Titans 29-27 a week after their bye week and beating the Houston Texans 13-6 in Houston last week.

“It’s different,” said Jaguars three-time Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who rushed for a season-high 84 yards against Houston while catching six passes for 60 yards.

“It’s a new culture. (Jaguars Head Coach) Gus (Bradley) and his staff have been doing a great job of keeping everybody positive and uplifting us. I think you’re starting to see it in our play. Guys are playing well. A lot of young guys are playing well and guys are stepping up and making plays for us.

“We’re going to continue to go out and build off of that.”

Also Wednesday, Jaguars defensive tackle Jeremy Mincey said that the cause of his not traveling to the Houston game was that he overslept and missed a team meeting. He was not allowed to make the trip because of what the team announced as a “violation of team rules.”

“I was negligent as a football player and a role model on this team,” Mincey said. “I have to battle back and do everything the right way.”

Mincey said he expects to be active Sunday.

“Of course,” he said. “I’ve been playing, so I’m going to come in here and do my job and do everything I need to do.”

The victory over Tennessee came in Nashville, and because a loss to Arizona in between Tennessee and Houston came at EverBank Field, the Jaguars on Sunday can win their third consecutive road game.

That hasn’t happened since a three-game stretch at Denver, Kansas City and Tampa Bay early in the 2007 season, the last time the Jaguars made the playoffs.

“That’s what we’re trying to go for this whole time – to be consistent in what we do,” Henne said. “Wit a game like we played last week, we have to build on that and be consistent with who we are – and we could come out with another victory.”

The Jaguars also can win back-to-back games for the first time since 2010. The Jaguars won at Tennessee and at home against Oakland on December 5 and December 12 that season, then  then lost their final three games of the season.

They are 9-37 since that three-game losing streak began.

“We’re just coming into our own, I guess,” Henne said, noting that the Jaguars rushed for a season-high 116 yards against Houston, a game in which he completed 23 of 32 passes while being sacked four times. “There are a lot of good things happening.

“Our defense is playing very well. We just established some of our run game. We have new wideouts in and every week, and we just seem to find ways to get different guys the ball.

“We’re just trying to put a smile on our faces, improve and go out there and play.”

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