|Jaguars take on spoiler role rest of way|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 04 December 2008 13:46|
Even though he told his players they had a chance to win in one of the league's storied stadiums, Soldier Field, against the Chicago Bears (6-6) on Sunday, he avoided coming up with another snappy slogan or creative catch-phrase like in weeks past.
Left-edge firm? That failed. David vs. Goliath? A big miss. The Three As: assignment, alignment and aggressiveness? Well, the Jaguars (4-8) have lost three in a row and five of six since that one.
Now, with the season gone and little left to play for aside from trying to avoid their first last-place finish in the AFC South, the Jaguars have settled on a new theme: spoiler.
Jacksonville's final four opponents - Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis and Baltimore - are all vying for playoff spots. The remaining schedule essentially puts Jaguars right back in the playoff picture, albeit it far removed from the postseason hunt.
four teams that we play down the stretch here have playoff aspirations and so we can play that spoiler role. But I think for us right now we just want to pull together, play good football and enjoy playing the game for the love of the game.''
The Jaguars haven't had any fun the last three weeks. Against Tennessee three weeks ago, they were burned by two long touchdown passes, squandered an 11-point halftime lead and were essentially eliminated from the playoffs with a 24-14 loss.
They have played every bit like a team out of the mix since.
Jacksonville turned the ball over five times, allowed four sacks, missed two field goals, dropped a touchdown pass and was flagged eight times in a 30-12 loss to Minnesota two weeks ago - a mistake-filled performance that was one of the worst in Del Rio's six seasons.
It didn't get much better at division rival Houston on Monday night.
The Jaguars turned the ball over three times, had several dropped passes, some costly penalties, countless missed tackles, a failed fourth-down conversion near the goal line and two errant onside kicks in a 30-17 loss. They also lost cornerback Rashean Mathis (knee) for the season.
Williams, defensive end Reggie Hayward and safety Gerald Sensabaugh are among those who could be elsewhere.
To them, the final four games mean a lot more than playing spoiler.
``I haven't even looked at the playoff race,'' said Taylor, who needs 19 yards to surpass O.J. Simpson for 17th place on the NFL's all-time rushing list. ``I haven't heard any talk about spoiling anyone's season.
``If they're clinging to any playoff life, they're probably going to say, 'We've got to win this game. That's a wounded dog. Let's go ahead and put him out of his misery.' They're going to come at us that way. We're just going to try to be better than we were the week before.''
Sensabaugh was even less concerned with the team's spoiler role, an indication Del Rio's motto for the final month didn't quite trickle down to the locker room.
``We don't care what their goals are,'' Sensabaugh said. ``We're just trying to win these next four games. I don't really know the other teams, what their playoff chances are. I don't really care about their circumstances are. Nobody else does, either.''
Nobody except Del Rio.
``It's making the best out of your situation,'' he said. ``It's where we are. We're involved in games that are very impactful.''