Mularkey wants Jaguars to start making 'lay-ups'

Mularkey wants Jaguars to start making 'lay-ups'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars are tired of ``missing lay-ups.''

Dropping nine passes. Giving up a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown. Fumbling in the red zone.

They are all simple plays - lay-ups, as coach Mike Mularkey calls them - that the Jaguars (1-6) need to make to help them turn things around.

``The things that are not allowing us to win these games when we have chances, it's got to stop,'' Mularkey said Monday. ``We've got to find a way to make it stop.''

It didn't against Green Bay, resulting in a 24-15 loss. But the Jaguars feel like they're making progress.

Blaine Gabbert had a career day, throwing for 303 yards and a touchdown. Cecil Shorts III caught eight passes for a career-high 116 yards. And Jacksonville's defense played its best game of the season, holding the Packers to 238 yards and two offensive touchdowns.

Maybe, just maybe, being without star running back Maurice Jones-Drew could be a positive. It certainly forced the Jaguars to rely on others.

``If we continue to progress in certain things that we're doing, that we know we're capable of doing, I think wins will come with it,'' Mularkey said.

Mularkey was the first to point to all that went wrong against the Packers: Rashad Jennings' fumble in the red zone; the dropped passes; the blocked punt; the three three-and-outs in the third quarter; the three failed passes to rookie Justin Blackmon with the game on the line; and the pass interference call on William Middleton late.

But the coach also can't overlook the other side, especially when he's leading a team that has dropped 11 of its last 14 games.

``I know we didn't win the game,'' he said. ``We don't like what's happening, but you've got to look at some of the positive things. We have done some good things. We've got to overcome these plays that we continually make every week.''

Few outsiders gave Jacksonville much of a chance with Jones-Drew sidelined indefinitely - he also will miss Sunday's game against Detroit - with a sprained left foot.

But it seemingly forced the Jaguars to open things up offensively.

And Gabbert looked sharp, completing 27 of 49 passes despite an injured non-throwing shoulder.

``We're on a good course going with Blaine,'' Mularkey said. ``There's still things that Blaine's got to do better and Blaine knows it. I like the improvement that he's made. He wants to do better. He's very adamant about trying to be the best he can be, and I like that about him.''

Gabbert's numbers would have been even better had the Jaguars not dropped so many balls.

``Lay-ups, not 3-pointers that we're missing, just lay-ups,'' Mularkey said. ``Nine drops. Those are lay-ups. Those are things we've got to be able to put the ball in the basket if we want to use the basketball as correlation to what we're doing here. There are lay-ups we're missing.''

Blackmon's effort, not his hands, was questioned Sunday.

Broadcasters speculated that the rookie didn't run full speed on every route.

``I don't pay any attention to it,'' Blackmon said. ``It doesn't bother me. I was out there playing. I mean, I'm not going to go out there and play 50 percent.''

Mularkey got wind of the criticism and re-watched that part of the game specifically to see what the talk was about.

``I don't see evidence of that,'' Mularkey said. ``I was looking for it because that's not acceptable. I don't like to hear it from anybody. I certainly don't want to hear it from the weather man during his hurricane report.''

There was less talk about Jacksonville's defense, which played well despite missing starting cornerbacks Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis and safety Dwight Lowery. The Jaguars sacked Aaron Rodgers twice and held the Packers to a season low in yards.

Special teams, though, was a disappointment for Jacksonville.

Bryan Anger had a punt blocked even though Green Bay had just 10 defenders on the field. Josh Scobee had a kickoff go out of bounds. Return man Micheal Spurlock muffed one punt and called for a fair catch inside the 10-yard line.

``I told them, `It's all there. We've got to find a way. You've guys see it yourself and you're as tired as me saying it to you as I am telling you. At some point, you've got to get over that,''' Mularkey said. ``We keep missing the lay-ups or kicking it out of bounds by this much or the drops.''


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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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