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Mularkey offers Jags a lesson from his Buffalo days

The SportsXchange

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot to do during their bye week.

Even though they will practice only Tuesday and Wednesday because they are required to have four days off in a row, the coaches will be doing a lot of video work as they try to figure out how to overcome a 1-4 start.

"I think the bye is coming at a good time for us," coach Mike Mularkey said. "It gives us a chance to look at our schemes, our situations within games, where we've not done well in all three phases, that is. And the good news is that we don't have to go looking outside the building for a lot of the answers.

"I think the answers are in this building. I think they are in the locker room. I think the answers are all here, and we've got to find a way to get those to transfer over to games so we can play complete games and play like we are capable of doing."

He also said the players show no signs of packing it in despite the slow start.

"I want to see how our guys are responding in the good times and not so good times," Mularkey said. "I have not sensed that at all. I go in the locker room and I talked to every player (Sunday) after the game. I went to each guy's locker and (saw) how they responded back to me about sticking together. They all responded in a way I thought was very refreshing for the moment. It could have been doom and gloom. I felt good about it after I talked to every player on this roster after this game."

He added, "I certainly hate to count us out of the playoffs."

One of the reasons he won't is that in his first year as the Buffalo Bills' coach, the team was also 1-4 and wound up going into the last game of the 2004 season against Pittsburgh needing a victory to make the playoffs.

Buffalo lost 29-24 and finished 9-7, missing the playoffs by a game.

Mularkey said the lessons he learned from the experience of rallying from a 1-4 start helps him remain upbeat as the Jaguars head into the bye week.

Of the lessons learned, he said, "We stuck together and didn't let anything influence our beliefs in what we were doing. We didn't change. We just stuck with the plan. That was not easy, ether. It's not an easy task. We stayed the course, like I said here. We won six games in a row. We won by a lot of points. We played better, and we got more confident about what we were doing. It's about staying together and playing together."

Mularkey admitted he got some incredulous looks when he said Sunday the Jaguars are closer to success than they seem to be. He said those looks were "absolutely fair, especially how it all caved in (Sunday in a 41-3 loss to the Chicago Bears)."

Eight years ago in Buffalo, Mularkey had the same message.

"I said the same thing to them. We're closer than you think. We've got to make those plays, those catches, not have those holding calls, not have false starts when you are on your own 8-yard line. Those are the things that are hard to overcome, let alone (against) a Bears team," he said.

He said once the Bills started having success, the confidence level kicked in.

"We haven't had some good things happen for us. We haven't had a lot of good things go our way. We need to," he said.

Mularkey remains optimistic as the Jaguars prepare for a pair of tough road games against Oakland and Green Bay after the bye before they come home Nov. 4 to face Detroit, followed by a Thursday night home game against the Colts.

"There's plenty of football still to go. There's plenty of things that can happen for us, but we have to improve," he said. "We have to play a complete game. We just need to put a game together where all three phases are playing like they are capable. We haven't yet.

He said once the Jaguars play a complete game, "Let's see where we really are and where we do stand."
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