When you look at the Jacksonville Jaguars you think of only one or two players. You think of Cecil Shorts III, Maurice Jones-Drew, how bad Blaine Gabbert has been, and maybe you think of Paul Posluszny.
I’ve argued for more bravado from this team a few times in the past, but it’s really starting to hit home that the veteran leadership on this team is lacking. The Jaguars aren’t the youngest team in the league, but when you look at how the players use the media to send messages to the world and the other other players, there is a lot to desire.
Shorts will have to step up and provide a strong veteran voice next season. With Jones-Drew injured there has been little talk from him about the team and its development. Gabbert has wisely been quiet since being relegated to the bench and then injured reserve. The despair of a 2-11 team is sinking in. Even Posluszny is getting frustrated. When asked about how morale is after another loss he responded, “The Monday after a loss? It’s not high.”
The Jaguars’ most compelling and inspiring words came from Rashean Mathis, the longest tenured defensive player, who has been struggling for his job as he fades out of the spotlight in Jacksonville. Mathis was strong though when asked if the Jaguars would mail it in for the rest of the season, “That’s not the cloth we’re cut from…This is how we feed our families. We play the game hard regardless of score, regardless of our record, and we have to play it with a serious poker face…You play for pride, and you play for the guy next to you.”
The Jaguars need more players who are calling on those around them to step up. It’s tough after the 11th loss of the season, but the Jags need some inspiration. They need some veteran voices to start using the bully pulpit that is the media to inspire those around them. It’s tough because the team keeps losing, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. The Jags just have to keep going forward to get to it.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims