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Jaguars after latest home loss: 'We're mad, too'

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Jaguars after latest home loss: 'We're mad, too'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) With their team getting blown out again at home, Jacksonville Jaguars fans started cheering for the referee Sunday against Detroit.

Yep, the ref.

Every time Gene Steratore announced that Lions offensive tackle Riley Reiff had reported as an eligible receiver, fans roared with enthusiasm. Sure, they were mocking Steratore's repetitive and seemingly endless updates, but it's hard to blame fans for glomming a laugh while watching Jacksonville struggle this season.

The Jaguars (1-7) are 0-4 at EverBank Field and have been outscored 126-34 by Houston, Cincinnati, Chicago and Detroit. The latest debacle was a 31-14 loss in which Jacksonville trailed 14-0 before getting a first down and was behind 24-0 midway through the fourth quarter.

The NFL's worst record, the league's worst offense, all those lopsided losses and the five-game losing streak are not even close to what coach Mike Mularkey envisioned when he took the job in January.

``I'm disappointed that we are where we're at,'' Mularkey said Monday. ``I know the players are. I certainly know the fans are. I just want them to know how they feel, we feel the same way. Everybody in that locker room feels the same way. We're mad, too, very disappointed we're in this position.

``But we have to get over that emotion and get ready for this next game and these next eight games and know that we are going to battle to try to get this thing right.''

It's not an easy fix.

After showing signs of progress in recent weeks, quarterback Blaine Gabbert clearly took a step back against the Lions. He completed 27 of 38 passes for 220 yards, with two garbage-time touchdowns and two interceptions. He misfired on just about every deep pass.

And rookie receiver Justin Blackmon, criticized for what looked like a lack of hustle last week at Green Bay, was questioned for his on-field awareness against the Lions. Blackmon failed to get both feet in bounds on two sideline passes and seemingly made a halfhearted attempt at preventing an interception in the third quarter.

Mularkey said Blackmon's issues stemmed from moving to the slot in recent weeks and adjusting the starting routes from the middle of the field.

``I didn't think there was any lack of effort there,'' Mularkey said.

Mularkey apologized Monday for his surly response to a question about the team's effort against the Lions.

``I am sorry that I responded like I did, but I don't like questioning effort because that's very important to me,'' he said. ``If there's anything that I come in stressing as a coach and as a staff it's players effort. ... I would say some of the intensity was not as intense as we should have been.

``We wanted to be physical and intense play throughout, and I could see that drop off. I know defensively we were on the field a lot, and that's hard to keep up, but I never saw the lack of effort of guys not trying to finish plays. I think intensity is a better word.''

The Jaguars get a chance to for a better home performance Thursday night against AFC South rival Indianapolis (5-3).

Jacksonville, which has won three in a row against the Colts, needs a victory to avoid the worst start in franchise history.

``Short weeks are rough weeks, but in our situation, it's kind of good to get past this last game and have something to work toward immediately after,'' guard Uche Nwaneri said. ``It might be a blessing in disguise for us.''

The Jaguars usually play well in prime-time home games, but after the latest loss, they expect outsiders to wonder when or if they will give up.

``That's definitely something that a lot of people are probably thinking about: How is the team going to react?'' Nwaneri said. ``Mentally, where are they going to be at? We're just fine. ... I don't think anybody has been in the mind-set of `what's the point?' I don't think anybody's gone there. So we're just continue to work and continue to prepare and try and go out and get a win.''

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Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

A couple of weeks ago, John Wall was spotted at a Washington Mystics game with no brace to support his Achilles injury, a sign that his rehab from the injury was moving in the right direction. 

On Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Wizards point guard gave affirmation that he is indeed continuing to get healthier and stronger.

"I feel great, man," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the red carpet. "I'm doing a great job with my body, taking care of that."

Specifically, Wall has been able to slowly increase what he can do on his legs. The recovery and rehab for an injury as severe as his is a long road, and the point guard is making sure not to speed up the process and risk hindering the progress. However, he's about to reach a pretty big milestone in the journey during the coming weeks.

"I'm about to start jogging in like two weeks. Just riding the bike, I get to do exercises standing up now, so I don't have to sit down. I'm able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things," Wall said. "Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don't force myself back and get another injury."

As Wall continues to work to get back on the court, he's had plenty of motivational factors pushing him through some grueling months. His recent string of injuries have left some wondering if he'll still be an elite player when he finally.

He's heard those comments and he's using them to his advantage.

"I'm one of those guys that's very driven by all the hate and all the negative talk I'm getting. Keep it going," Wall said.

"Everybody said I can't be myself, I won't be nowhere near as good again. That's all the other stuff that's going to fuel me. I don't get upset about it, you're entitled to your own opinion. Please keep it going."

The haters have given Wall some extra juice, but so has his son Ace. Spending the offseason getting right has allowed Wall to work in another area of life: fatherhood.

The newest addition to his family has taken his desire for greatness to new heights.

"I've always had that drive that I want to be the greatest. To have a son like that, that's watching everything I can do. Even though he doesn't understand what's going on, he's putting memories in his head," Wall said. 

"So that gives me extra, extra motivation to another level I never thought I could. Like I said before, that's the best blessing a man could ever ask for is to have a son."

While Wall's offseason has been a busy one as he juggles rehab and being a dad, he's still been very involved in everything going on inside the franchise.

He's already chatted with first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura, and is excited for what is to come for the Wizards. Wall is also hoping that Hachimura will help improve his Japanese so that he can grow a larger following internationally. 

As the calendar slowly turns to July, both Wall and the Wizards' offseasons will ramp up. It's been an up and down time for both lately, but he's excited about the future.

"I think it's good," Wall said about the Wizards situation. "We added some pieces. See what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

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Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

While he was putting together the best season of his career, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was also making a profound impact off the court and those efforts have earned him a significant honor, the NBA's 2018-19 Community Assist Award.

The news was revealed at Monday's NBA Awards in Santa Monica, CA as Beal got the nod over nine other finalists. He is the second Wizards player to win the honor in just the last four years following John Wall in 2015-16.

Beal was involved in a variety of charitable efforts this past season. He has partnered with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington to help underprivileged youth. He visited the school in December and gave out shoes.

During the All-Star break in February, as he made his second appearance in the annual showcase, Beal handed out meals at a food bank alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This past year he also gave out Christmas presents in the Washington area and took a group of kids on a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Beal was named a finalist for the Community Assist Award in April along with Jarrett Allen (Nets), Mike Conley (Jazz), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Dwight Powell (Mavs) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors). Part of the criteria was based on fan voting through social media that was held from April 24 through May 25.

Beal, 25, continues to ascend on the court as well. This year he posted career-highs in points (25.6/g), assists (5.5/g) and rebounds (5.0/g). He nearly made All-NBA in late May with the most votes of any guard that was left out.

In Beal and Wall, the Wizards have quite the combination. Both have been All-Stars on the court and now both can say they won the NBA's top honor for charity work as well.

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