NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Coach Urban Meyer and team owner Shad Khan had a one-on-one meeting following Jacksonville’s fifth consecutive loss, a 20-0 shutout at Tennessee on Sunday.
This session may have taken a different tone given how poorly the Jaguars (2-11) have played the last seven weeks and all that’s been said about the team in the last seven days.
“I assured him that I still believe in my heart that we will (turn this around),” Meyer said. “How fast? That depends on … I still think there’s good pieces.”
Meyer pointed out how well Jacksonville’s defense played (263 yards allowed) but failed to mention it came against a Tennessee team without its top two playmakers: running back Derrick Henry and receiver A.J. Brown.
The other side of the ball was a complete debacle, with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence throwing four interceptions for the first time in his life. Running back James Robinson ran six times for a career-low 4 yards.
Jacksonville’s offensive line was downright embarrassed, giving up three sacks and countless pressures, getting flagged four times for holding, and getting penalized for a false start.
Adding insult to misery, receivers Laviska Shenault and Laquon Treadwell collided because one of them ran the wrong route late in the game.
“I was laughing, to be honest,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “At the end of the game, guys running into each other? I don’t want to say too much on it, but I was talking trash to them a little bit. It’s tough for them boys over there.”
The Jaguars finished with 192 yards, the third time this season they’ve been held under the 200-yard mark. That’s never happened in franchise history.
“We’re just not playing well,” Lawrence said. “I got to accept all the blame for what I did. I didn’t play well. I take that on the chin. We’re going to keep getting better and keep going to work. That’s all there is to do. The season’s not over yet.”
Jacksonville has lost five straight overall, eight straight in Nashville, nine consecutive in AFC South play and 15 in a row on the road.
The shutout was Jacksonville’s fourth in 27 seasons and first since 2009. The Jags are now averaging 9.1 points in their last seven games.
Although Meyer has few answers for how the season has unfolded, he still has confidence he can fix it.
“It hasn’t exactly materialized the way I expected it to have, the experience of winning games,” he said. “I knew that this was somewhat of a build. I also really believe that we have plenty of good enough players to go win games. I still believe that. That’s why I get so disappointed sometimes with our coaching staff or myself, because I think we can do better than we’re doing. Really disappointed.”
Meyer admittedly puts constant pressure on his assistants to get it done. So when NFL Network reported this week that there was growing angst between Meyer and his staff, it was hardly surprising. Meyer vehemently denied part of the report, which was attributed to unnamed sources, saying it was untrue he called his assistants losers.
He also denied having a heated argument with receiver Marvin Jones.
“Calling someone a loser, that’s inaccurate,” he said. “I have high expectations for our coaches. I’m very demanding of our coaches and expect guys to be held accountable for their positions, and the times when they’re not, we address it. But I assure you there was not whatever (the) report … That’s nonsense.
“And then the other … Marvin Jones had a conversation because he came to me and said that there was something in the media. … he said people were blaming the receivers for all the issues on offense.”
Meyer said he and Jones talked it out and even joked about it.
“Some guys aren’t used to this, and he’s one of them,” Meyer said. “But he’s fantastic and we have a fantastic relationship. Marvin looked at me. He walked by (Saturday) when I saw something on TV, like a heated argument, and he goes, ’I guess we’re not allowed to talk anymore, are we,’ and started laughing about it. So there’s nothing.”
There seem to be leaks, though, something Meyer has prided himself on squashing in the past.
“So what’s the answer? Start leaking information or some nonsense? No. No, that’s nonsense. That’s garbage,” Meyer said. “I’ve been very blessed. I’ve not really dealt with that. I’ve not dealt with, ‘Well, did you hear what he said?’ What? No.
“Let’s improve on offense and get our quarterback in a position to be successful. That’s our focus.
“What someone’s brother said, or someone said someone said, that will occupy very little of my time. And if there is a source, that source is unemployed. I mean, within seconds, if there’s some source that’s doing that.”
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