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Jaguars look to build momentum

Posted Nov 28, 2012

Linebacker Paul Posluszny, quarterback Chad Henne say Jacksonville Jaguars must continue to win beginning with road game Sunday at Buffalo Bills

The losing streak is over, at long last.

As guard Uche Nwaneri sees it, the next task is far more important, and the next task is what the Jaguars set about doing on Wednesday. The next task? Maintaining momentum.

And that means winning again.

“There’s a little bit of momentum right now, and this is really a crucial period for us to string some wins together,” Nwaneri said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-9) prepared to play the Buffalo Bills (4-7) at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday at 1 p.m.

Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny was a bit more succinct.

“We need to start stacking them up,” Posluszny said.

Such was the mood around Everbank Field Wednesday, as Jaguars players gathered three days after a 24-19 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon. That victory snapped a seven-game losing streak that tied a franchise record, and it snapped a five-game home losing streak that set a franchise record.

Yes, the victory was needed. Very much so. And yes, there was happiness after the Jaguars did what they had believed they could do a lot more often this season.

But Jaguars players Wednesday agreed:

One victory wasn’t what the season was about. Not even close.

“We want to continue to show improvement,” Posluszny said. “One win is good. Now, we really want to make some strides.”

Posluszny said doing so against the 4-7 Bills, a team that at times this season has played better than that record would indicate, would be significant.

“We need to win on the road, against an AFC opponent, a high-powered offense,” Posluszny said. “We want to continue to build off last week. We can’t just say, ‘We won one,’ and go back. We don’t want to take a step back.”

And one victory without a follow up likely would feel very, very hollow.

“It’s very important to try to continue the success,” Jaguars offensive tackle Eugene Monroe said. “That’s part of how you build confidence, doing something the right way and repeating the results, going in a positive direction. We believe we need to continue to do that.’

And while the playoffs have been eliminated as a possibility for several weeks, Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey on Wednesday reiterated something he had said the last several weeks – that following a one-sided loss to Indianapolis on November 8, the time had come to view the season within a seven-game lens.

The first game of that stretch was a 43-37 loss to the 10-1 Houston Texans. In that game, Henne replaced injured Blaine Gabbert, and the result was more yards and more points than the Jaguars had scored all season.

Henne moved into the starting role the following day, a move that was solidified two days later when Gabbert was placed on injured reserve. Four days later, Henne passed for 261 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over Tennessee.

“We want to show what our offense is capable of doing, and what our team is capable of doing,” Nwaneri said.

There was in the wake of the victory over Tennessee a confidence – particularly offensively – that hadn’t been seen around EverBank for quite a while. The Jaguars through 10 games were ranked last in the NFL in total offense, and while they are still near the bottom of the league, players Wednesday said it’s important to build on that improvement – not just for the rest of this season, but beyond.

“We’ve got to keep digging deeper,” Henne said. “Obviously, we haven’t arrived with two games underneath us wins, so we’ve got to keep striving. There are more plays out there for us to make, and we have to continue to make plays.”

From an overall team perspective, Mularkey said the Bills game “is very important.” The Jaguars throughout the first eight weeks of the season believed they were close despite the record. A victory over Buffalo would help continue to prove that.

“I said to them, ‘We have not gotten down on ourselves when we haven’t won; we can’t be up on ourselves because we’ve won,’’’ Mularkey said. “ We have to have the same approach, so this is an important game. We want to finish the season strong.

“We want to finish these last five games strong. We want to take the same approach we have every week. When we walked on the field, we believed we were going to win those games.

“That’s not going to change.”

And that seven-game season approach that Mularkey preached three weeks ago? Posluszny said it still makes a lot of sense. The Jaguars are 1-1 in the first two games of that stretch, and Posluszny said that means within that shortened season, much can still be accomplished.

“For the rest of the season, that’s obviously the case,” Posluszny said. “For the first half, we were saying, ‘We’re close, we’re close, we’re close. We’re one or two plays away, we’re one or two plays away. Sunday, we made that play. That’s the play we didn’t get early in the year.

“Now, we’ve got to keep on making those plays. Our record is not going to be good regardless, but if we win and start to show improvement the rest of the year, that would make a big difference.”

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