Del Rio: "They're still a good football team"

The Jacksonville Jaguars were in control of their own destiny and could have secured a postseason invitation by knocking off an inconsistent Patriots team that appeared vulnerable. Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio talked about the loss, his team and what makes the Patriots a Super Bowl contender virtually every year.

“Obviously we were involved in a close ballgame there. It didn’t go our way so we’re very disappointed right now. We’ve been close to being really good, just not quite good enough. There’s an opportunity left next week in Kansas City. It’ll be a tough environment. I just told the team there are no words I can give them that will make them feel better. There is pain, there’s hurt that’s there. I want them to enjoy Christmas with their families and come back Wednesday ready to go to work. At that point we’ll have a better indication of what needs to happen besides us winning. Until I’m told we’re out, I’m going to keep hope alive. We’re obviously disappointed that we didn’t get it done today. We were in control of our own destiny. We had an opportunity there at the very end. A good football team. We knew that coming in. We created a lot of similarities. Ultimately they got the play there at the end and so we go home. We’ll regroup on Wednesday and go back to work.”

(on the last play)
“I thought David (Garrard) was trying to keep that play alive. When I saw the replay, I had hope because his arm was moving forward. But when you’re leaving holes out and there’s a chance it can go against you. You always want to protect the football and leave it in ???, not leave it ??? at all cost.”

“There were two calls today that I thought we had a legitimate shot to overturn and in both cases did not get it. I got one challenge early and then the second one on the touchdown grab by the tight end, the ball hit the ground and it moved. I saw it on the screen and verified it because we had an injured player so I had several looks at it but that didn’t get overturned so you keep going. And at the end there, there is an arm moving forward and the ball knocked out and that’s by definition an incomplete pass. It wasn’t ruled that way. That’s what I saw. Maybe I’m looking from an angle full of hope, I don’t know. It’s clearly not an unbiased view but we didn’t get either of those calls and in a close game like that, that didn’t help, that’s for sure.”

(on thinking that David Garrard’s arm was going forward...)
“You could probably stand up here and explain it to me. I don’t know that I can do any better job explaining it. I know what I saw on replay and I had hope and it just wasn’t ruled that way so what you have to do is you have to deal with it and move on.”

(do you have the same confidence in David Garrard as you did the previous two weeks?)
“...You have to remain confident that David can lead us to victory. We’ve won with David. We haven’t won as much as I would like. David is a good football player. It’s been tough the last couple weeks but guys are going to experience that. How they handle that is really the biggest determinant. How he handles it going forward is going to say the most about him. He has some talent, he has some ability. He’s a player who is going to grow and be better over time. I’m not going to get into a bunch of discussions about going forward. Right now we’re talking about Kansas City next week, but rather than talking about that, we’re talking about the game we just saw. I continue to believe he can help us win.”

(on third down conversions by the Patriots)
“...the ones that hurt were the ones where we had defensed and then didn’t make a play. Where you head up so to speak and think you have it zeroed in and then you just don’t make the play. So, that can happen. A good quarterback, a good football team, we’re in a good tight contest, he made some plays. That’s one of the reasons he’s been as good as he is and has been over the last few years. He’s a good player.”

(why are the Patriots not mentioned as a Super Bowl team this year?)
“Yeah, but I don’t worry about all that talk. It’s not a popularity poll. It’s not driven by popularity. They may not be the fresh story because they were the story when they won it a few years ago but they’re still a good football team. Anybody that competes and really looks at it understands that. It’s a good football team. Being called the contender week after week has so little to do with who the good football team is and who is going to beat them.”

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