1:50 AM EST, December 3, 2013
NFL Team Report - Jacksonville Jaguars - INSIDE SLANT
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley seems to be learning that, as Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."
Two weeks ago after the team's first victory over Tennessee, he said, "If everybody on our team plays to the best of their ability, that's even better than winning. It's even higher than winning. Our objective is to really sustain this and play at a high level regardless of who we're playing. If we do that, we believe the wins will take care of itself."
The problem with that theory is that teams have to find a way to win when everybody doesn't play to the best of their ability.
The Jaguars did that Sunday in Cleveland when they beat the Browns, 32-28, on a day that all of their players didn't play to the best of their ability.
But they played just well enough to win on a day when the Browns played just poorly enough to lose.
The Browns were ahead 14-7 late in the second quarter when quarterback Brandon Weeden threw two interceptions and lost a fumble that the Jaguars turned into 13 points.
Then in the fourth quarter, a bad snap by Cleveland center Alex Mack gave them a safety and two more points.
So they got 15 gift points on a day when they gave up 261 yard passing to wide receiver Josh Gordon on a day when he sat out a quarter after being hit in the head. He became the first player in NFL history to post back-to-back receiving yards of 200 yards or more.
And the Browns lost both games, which shows how bad they are.
The Browns outgained the Jaguars in yardage, 439-314, but still lost.
"I don't think we played as well as we needed to or maybe we weren't as crisp as we needed to be," Bradley said.
But the Jaguars still got their third victory in four games and that was the most important thing.
NFL Team Report - Jacksonville Jaguars - NOTES, QUOTES
--Coach Gus Bradley says defensive end Jeremy Mincey isn't in his doghouse, but he will get a chance to get out of it Thursday night.
Mincey was left home when the team made the trip to Houston a week ago because he overslept the day before the game and missed a meeting. It apparently wasn't his first offense because Mincey said it was the "final straw." Mincey was fined.
Mincey did make the trip to Cleveland Sunday but was inactive for the game.
Bradley said, "I just wanted him to understand the decision he made affected the whole team and it's a trust factor. I think someone asked me if he was in my doghouse. He wasn't in my doghouse. I was trying to help him get better. I felt the first week he stayed home and I wanted him to think about it. This week I wanted him to be on the field on our sideline and think about it. I wanted him to see and demonstrate to me and our team while on the sideline even though he wasn't active he was involved and he wasn't there for them. I wanted him to demonstrate all of these things. He did those things so sure we're not there yet but it was progress being made."
He said Mincey has a chance to play Thursday night.
Mincey said he is focused again. He said he lost his focus when he was dealing with off-the-field issues like having a baby at home and dealing with his music business.
Regardless of how much Mincey plays in the last four games, he will likely be cut at the end of the year. His salary jumps to $6.5 million next year and that's too big for a backup player.
And after this incident, the Jaguars may cut him rather than ask him to take a paycut.
--Wide receiver Cecil Shorts had a memorable homecoming, catching a 20-yard touchdown pass with 40 second left to give the Jaguars the 32-28 victory over Cleveland. He had dropped two passes earlier in the game.
Coach Gus Bradley said, "I know sometimes these things can happen. There are drops that happen in this league but I know his competitiveness and I would be more concerned if I didn't think he could bounce back from something like that. He gets over it pretty quick."
Shorts is a Cleveland native who played at Division III Mt. Union.
Shorts said of the drops, "I think I was pressing a little bit because I was home, trying to make something happen."
--The Jaguars beat Houston, 13-6, a week ago but the oddsmakers aren't convinced. They list the Jaguars as 2 1/2 point underdogs even though the Texans have lost 10 straight and are 2-10. The Jaguars have won three of their last four but the oddsmakers aren't impressed.
--With the Jaguars playing a Thursday night, coach Gus Bradley only had a walk-through Monday and will have another walk-through Wednesday. The team will practice Tuesday but without pads or helmets.
NFL Team Report - Jacksonville Jaguars - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--RB Maurice Jones-Drew ran 23 times for 77 yards and threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis. It was the first time any player besides a quarterback has thrown a touchdown pass in Jaguars' history.
--WR Cecil Shorts had a couple of drops but also caught six passes for 64 yards, including the 20-yard game winner with 40 seconds left.
--S Johnathan Cyprien, a rookie, made the first interception of his career.
--WR Stephen Burton didn't practice Monday because he is in the concussion program and isn't expected to play Thursday night.
--S Josh Evans didn't practice Monday because of a shoulder injury and isn't expected to play Thursday night.
--RB Justin Forsett didn't practice Monday with a foot injury and won't play Thursday night. If the Jaguars need a roster spot, he will go on the injured reserve list.
--DE Andre Branch was limited in practice with a knee injury but will probably play Thursday night.
--WR Mike Brown was limited in practice Monday with a shoulder injury but will probably play Thursday night.
--LB Geno Hayes was limited in practice Monday with a knee injury but will probably play Thursday night.
--DT Roy Miller was limited in practice Monday with a shoulder injury but will probably play Thursday night.
--LB Nate Stupar was limited in practice Monday with a chest injury but will probably play Thursday night.
--WR Cecil Shorts was limited in practice Monday with a groin injury but will probably play Thursday night.
--G Will Rackley was limited in practice Monday with an elbow injury but will probably play Thursday night.
--CB Mike Harris was limited in practice Monday with a hip injury but will probably play Thursday night.
--TE Marcedes Lewis was limited in practice Monday with a knee injury but probably will play Thursday night.
--OT Austin Pasztor was limited in practice Monday with a shoulder injury but will probably play Thursday night.
REPORT CARD VS. BROWNS
PASSING OFFENSE: B -- The passing game was inconsistent as Chad Henne completed only 22 of 40 passes for 195 yards. But he had two touchdown passes, including the game-winner with 40 seconds left to Cecil Shorts. Ace Sanders continues to emerge and had eight catches for 67 yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B - Maurice Jones-Drew and Jordan Todman combined for 28 carries and 111 yards although the longest run was 18 yards. But they had just enough running to keep Cleveland off balance.
PASS DEFENSE: C - They intercepted two Brandon Weeden passes and recovered his fumble late in the second quarter but that was mostly due to Weeden's meltdown. They couldn't stop Josh Gordon, who caught 10 passes for 251 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown play. And he only played three quarters because he sat out one quarter with a head injury before he was cleared. Imagine what Gordon could have done with a better quarterback throwing to him.
RUSH DEFENSE: B - They held three Cleveland running backs to 92 yards in 28 carries. Willis McGahee had 57 yards in 14 carries but his longest run was only 11 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B - After Jordan Poyer returned a punt 38 yards to set up Cleveland's first touchdown, the coverage teams got better and a 31-yard punt by Ace Sanders set up a field goal for the Jaguars. Bryan Anger kept the Browns pinned back with his punts the rest of the game and the Jaguars' average starting position was their 38 compared to the 23 for Cleveland.
COACHING: A - Gus Bradley kept the team playing hard after they went 0-8 in the first half of the year, losing every game by double-digit figures. And offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch dialed up a halfback pass by Maurice Jones-Drew that went for a touchdown.
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