Jobs Are On the Line

Jack Del Rio is in the eye of a hurricane after the Jaguars lost to the Washington Redskins, 20-17, in overtime Sunday. They've gone from having control of their playoff destiny to be on the cusp of being eliminated from playoff contention with two losses in a row.



And the fans are up in arms, flooding talk show with demands for him to be fired.

Del Rio, though, portrayed himself as a coach who is getting the most out of a rebuilding Jaguars' team.

Del Rio said, "There's no question in my mind I think anybody that has studied football understands we are absolutely squeezing the very most out of this football team."

He added, "We've been able to do that despite being right in the middle of a rebuild. What we've got to do is not allow any negative energy take away from the positive things we've been able to do. I think that is imperative for us."

Their only way to make the playoffs now is if they beat Houston in their season finale and Indianapolis loses to Tennessee.

Still, Del Rio remained upbeat about this team.

"I think our players and our coaches have been all extremely committed. There's no question in my mind that this group of men have been a lot of fun to coach. I really respect and appreciate the effort that has been given. There's no question we are an achieving football team. We have been the last couple of years," he said.

The Jaguars started rebuilding a year ago under new general manager Gene Smith, but the patience of the fans has worn thin because Del Rio, in his eighth season, has coached the team to just one playoff victory.

There has been speculation that Del Rio's job could be in danger if they lose to Houston because they would fall to 8-8 and end the season on a losing streak after being in control of their playoff destiny for the third time in five years.

They were 8-5 in 2006 and lost their last three and 7-5 last year and lost their last four. Now they've lost two in a row after being 8-5.

Del Rio's teams have not had a history of finishing strong in December. They have a 19-18 mark in December under Del Rio.

When he was asked why, he said, "You've got to go back and talk about each ball game. There's probably another day for that."

Del Rio also declined to discuss his job security.

When he was asked if he feels less secure than he did a week ago, he said, "I really approach things very consistently, but I thank you for checking in on it."

When he was asked if he thinks he has to win Sunday to save his job, he said, "I don't concern myself with that type of discussion. For me, it's about focusing on the job at hand and finding a way to go down and win in Houston and continue to pour everything I have into helping this team be at its very best."


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