Woeful Jaguars trying to avoid 1st winless season at home
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jacksonville's worst season in team history could become even more dreadful Saturday.
The Jaguars (2-12) have a chance to reach another low by failing to win a single home game for the first time in the franchise's 22 years. They need to upset AFC South rival Tennessee (8-6) to avoid the miserable mark.
''The fact that we don't have one at this point in the season, you just shake your head because it shouldn't be that way,'' veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny said.
Jacksonville is 0-6 at EverBank Field in 2016 and has gone more than a year since winning at home. The Jags have dropped seven in a row since beating Indianapolis 51-16 on Dec. 13, 2015. Although they technically have a home victory against the Colts in London in October, players and coaches realize that doesn't really count.
So Jacksonville's home finale has something at stake for a team that has lost nine consecutive games and is coping with the firing of popular coach Gus Bradley .
''It would be embarrassing'' to go winless at home, defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said. ''You play for yourself as a team first off and then you play for the organization. But you play for the fans also. They spend their money to come out and watch us play. You're supposed to come out and perform and give them a show and actually give the city something to be proud about.''
The Jaguars have had late chances to win five of their six home games this season, but have come up short in each. The biggest issue has been a lack of offense. Quarterback Blake Bortles and crew have averaged a little more than 17 points at EverBank.
''It's supposed to be a home-field advantage,'' Marks said. ''You're supposed to have an advantage. You're supposed to know your field. Your crowd is supposed to be in and have the other team off-balance. We haven't done it. We can say we've let down on that part. That's on us. We can't blame anybody else. We've got a chance this week to go out and change it, at least going into the offseason.''
The Jaguars have experienced few, if any, home-field advantages this season. With losses mounting - the team was 14-48 in four seasons under Bradley, including 7-20 in Jacksonville - many season-ticket holders stopped showing up to games and seemingly sold their seats.
Green Bay, Baltimore, Oakland, Denver and Minnesota had huge contingents of fans on hand in Jacksonville. Two weeks ago, the Vikings-Jaguars game looked close to a 50-50 split.
''Yeah, very noticeable,'' Marks said. ''Players notice it. We can't do nothing but blame ourselves. We're not winning. We can't expect nobody to show up and we lose. You think they're going to continue to show up? No. They're not going to continue to show up.
''We've got to take that on ourselves and go out and change that mindset that they may have. You can't ask people to buy tickets. As the team who has not been winning, you've got to make them buy. And you make them buy by going out and winning games and giving them something to cheer for.''
Linebacker Telvin Smith, receiver Allen Robinson and defensive tackle Malik Jackson made headlines earlier this season by criticizing fans. Robinson said, ''It's funny that we get our best home-field advantage when we go to Wembley'' Stadium in London. And Jackson said, ''It sounded like there were more people in the pools than cheering for the game.''
Players have been considerably quieter of late, mostly because they realize they haven't done their part.
''I've never seen a losing team fill seats,'' Jackson said. ''We hope we can put on good performances and give our team a chance to win and give the crowd something to cheer about. We understand this league's all about L's and W's, and the fans want to win and they're tired of losing, so we're going to try to win. But if you don't come support us, then that's your decision and I don't care.''
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