The Jacksonville Jaguars got a great football player in Malik Jackson in free agency this offseason, but he is getting a harsh lesson in losing in 2016.
Malik Jackson made some plays against the Denver Broncos, his former team, in Week 13, but the close 20-10 loss simply became a further lesson in losing.
Prior to joining the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jackson had been part of a Broncos team that appeared in two Super Bowls and won one in 2015. He was used to winning. He was used to a culture that did not tolerate losing and demanded excellence.
Now with the Jaguars, he’s getting a serious lesson that not every team is as blessed as the Broncos and sometimes there’s a culture of losing that is tough to break. “It’s definitely tough, especially coming from Denver, being spoiled with the playoffs every year,” he told The Denver Post.
And the losing continued agianst his former team in Week 13. He made as many plays as can be expected of a defensive tackle, but it just wasn’t enough. The Jags made too many mistakes on offense and his hard work was wasted.
That’s become typical of the Jaguars this season. The defense has stood strong (sixth ranked overall defense, top-five against the pass) all season but the losses keep coming. Teams continue to score (ranked 27th prior to Week 13) and a lot of that comes from big special teams plays and plays against the offense.
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Jackson can’t play both sides and most of the rest of the defense has to be getting tired of this trend. The defense is doing enough to win games but the Jags just keep handing the game right back to the opposition.
That’s tough, especially for someone like Jackson who is used to doing plenty of work and being rewarded for it. The rewards have been lacking for the Jaguars this season and Jackson’s frustration is perfectly understandable.
Hard work isn’t rewarded in the NFL unless it’s accompanied by wins. That’s a harsh lesson and one some teams and players (unfortunately) learn. Jackson is learning it now.