Jaguars trying to avoid another 10-loss season vs Broncos
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars can reach another miserable milestone Sunday against Denver.
With a loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos (7-4), the Jaguars (2-9) would become the fifth team in NFL history to post double-digit losses in six consecutive seasons.
It's a dubious distinction Jacksonville surely would rather avoid. To do that, though, the Jags need to win out. That seems like an ultra-long shot for a team that has lost six in a row and already secured its ninth consecutive non-winning season.
''It's definitely frustrating because you always think year after year that this could be the year to turn things around, and when things don't go the way you expect, it's so easy to get down,'' said veteran defensive end Tyson Alualu, one of three guys who have been on Jacksonville's roster for six seasons. ''This is by far the most talented team I've been a part of. We know that's not the issue.
''That just shows that this is a team that could be a contender in this league and we just have to find answers to how we need to finish games and win games.''
Only four others have lost as consistently often as the Jaguars. Tampa Bay had 12 consecutive seasons (1983-94) with double-digits losses. Detroit (2001-06), Oakland (2003-09) and Cleveland (2008-13) weren't nearly as inept as the Buccaneers, but they still managed to post at least six straight seasons with 10 or more losses.
The Jaguars seem like a lock to join the exclusive - and depressive - club. After all, they are winless in four games at EverBank Field this year and haven't beaten a team that's finished with a winning record since 2012.
Jacksonville seemingly will catch a break with Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian sidelined because of a sprained left foot, leaving rookie Paxton Lynch to make his second career start and first on the road.
Denver needs a victory to keep pace in the crowded AFC playoff picture. Coach Gary Kubiak's team has dropped four of its last seven games, including two of three on the road. The Broncos trail Oakland and Kansas City in the AFC West.
''I don't pay attention to that stuff,'' star linebacker Von Miller said. ''We just are trying to put our best football out there. That is all we can do. We still have five weeks left. It is a long way. Taking it one game at a time, playing as good as we possibly can and whatever happens, happens.''
The Jaguars, meanwhile, continue to play hard despite mounting losses and speculation about coach Gus Bradley's job security. Players, though, seem to realize they're playing out the string down the stretch.
''Every time you come to work, it's like a job interview because these coaches go other places,'' Alualu said. ''This league is all about what have you done for me lately, so it's about producing on the field and making plays if you want to stick around.''
Here are some other things to know about the Broncos and Jaguars:
GROUNDED GROUND GAME: The Broncos' struggling ground game took another huge hit when battering ram rookie fullback Andy Janovich underwent season-ending surgery on his left ankle Tuesday. When healthy, Janovich added toughness to the group that's been missing since C.J. Anderson's knee surgery in October. The Broncos likely will play more two-tight end sets now with A.J. Derby and Virgil Green.
PLUCKING BRONCOS: The Jaguars have signed a free agent from Denver in each of the last three seasons, and only defensive tackle Malik Jackson has panned out . Jacksonville signed guard Zane Beadles to a five-year, $30 million contract in 2014 that included $12.5 million guaranteed. Beadles struggled and was cut after two seasons. Jacksonville gave tight end Julius Thomas a five-year, $46 million deal last year that included $24 million guaranteed. Thomas missed four games in 2015 because of a broken bone in his hand and two more this year because of elbow and back injuries.
BRONCOS INFIGHTING: Kubiak insists the incident was an emotional, heat-of-the-moment thing, but Aqib Talib's shove of Jordan Norwood after the returner's second muffed punt last weekend might foretell fractures in the locker room. Denver's dazzling defense has carried an inept offense and inconsistent special teams all season, just like last year. Talib said he apologized and Norwood said he accepted. The Broncos own the best pass defense in the league and are fourth in total defense, but their offense is 19th because their O-line can't protect the passer or bore holes for running backs.
DEPLETED BACKFIELD: The Jaguars would like to keep the ball on the ground against Denver, which ranks 27th against the run. But running back Chris Ivory (hamstring) won't play and backup T.J. Yeldon is still recovering from an ankle injury. So Jacksonville might have to count on seldom-used reserve Denard Robinson.
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