Can the Jaguars turn the season around?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 11: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 11: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

With a 3-6 record and seven games remaining in the regular season, the Jacksonville Jaguars must act fast if they are to turn their record around.

There is no quit in the Jacksonville Jaguars, but if the locker room is to turn things around and have an outside shot at the playoffs, there is little room for error in the next seven games. With the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to town and revenge on their minds, the season is probably in the balance as to whether or not the postseason is a realistic hope or a vanished dream.

The players and the coaches will tell you there is still plenty to play for. The second half of 2018 is still an unfinished novel. How the defense tightens up and holds its opponents in check and how the offense continues to build on better performances in the past two games are focal points to be addressed.

"“We haven’t been performing well and a lot of times when you are in this – I guess funk would be a good word – of where we are,” head coach Doug Marrone said when he met with the media on Monday afternoon following the team’s 29-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.“We are not playing as well as we should. We are trying to fight our way out of it. A lot of questions come into seeing effort, are people quitting, are you going to make any moves on the roster? All of those questions get asked, and they are legit.”"

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The defense allowed 29 first-half points to the Colts and continued to show signs of cracks in coverage assignments.

"As Michael DiRocco of explained when he talked to safety Tashaun Gipson, “Players are disregarding the playcall and doing their own thing or they just flat out don’t know what they’re supposed to do.”"

That’s a disturbing way to look at things for a defensive unit that was supposed to be one of the best in the NFL once again. The fact it would appear players are missing assignments and there are busted coverages on multiple occasions is a sign of things needing to be fixed.

"“To be honest, it has to be just total brain farts,” Gipson said. “You’re looking at guys running wild in coverages that we’ve been playing here for the first four years. Even back in 2016, we weren’t a great football team, but it wasn’t this many consecutive busts week in and week out. The busts came up in the Dallas game, and they’ve just been a reoccurring theme since then.”"

The Jaguars had more yards in the game Sunday (415-366), more first downs (24-17) and controlled the clock longer (35:10) than Indianapolis (24:50). Still the results were the same for the fifth game in a row.

Something needs to be done and as Blake Bortles said following the game, it’s the team’s job to fix the problem.

Andrew Luck carved up the defense in the first half with precision. In the second half, there was a different feel, a different concentration. This team cannot let that happen to a Steelers offense with Ben Roethlisberger under center.

Still, there are players who believe this season is still on the path toward the playoffs.

"“We know we can’t get down in the dumps because it’s going to get a whole lot worse [if they do],” defensive tackle Abry Jones said. “We’ve been losing; some game we’ve been blown out, this last one we were fighting. At least we’re fighting."

Marrone said after a week where the team came back from the bye week and had solid practices and looked more focused on football, seeing what was planned for not being executed on defense is disturbing. The coaching staff has been called into question about game planning and not making the right decisions during games ever since the Jaguars lost to Kansas City 30-14 and then fell apart in a 40-7 loss at Dallas.

"“To a point where we still had an opportunity at the end of the game to win. My message to the team was the last two weeks we had the ball at the end of the game and had an opportunity to win, but the things that are done beforehand are really taking the game away from us,” Marrone said."

Next. Brandon Linder injury a big loss for the Jaguars. dark

In other news: The Jaguars have announced they signed tight end Ben Koyack to a contract and have released tight end David Grinnage. Koyack was a former seventh-round draft pick of the Jaguars in 2015. He caught the game-winning touchdown in the team’s 10-3 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Playoff game last season.