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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars are willing to try just about anything to fix their woeful defense.
The latest attempt is addition by subtraction.
The Jaguars waived former starting safety Winston Guy on Monday, one day after the third-year pro blew another coverage assignment in a 33-14 loss at San Diego.
Jacksonville promoted safety Craig Loston from the practice squad to take Guy's place on the 53-man roster.
Guy struggled mightily in a lopsided loss to Indianapolis last week and was benched in favor of Josh Evans. But Guy was back on the field in certain defenses against the Chargers and got burned for a 43-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-10 play with 59 seconds remaining in the first half.
"Those things are hurting us badly," Bradley said. "Those plays hurt trust. ... If you do them so many times within a game, our players understand that things can happen, but that is so big."
Jacksonville (0-4) was ahead 14-10 at the time, but ended up heading into the locker room down three points and reeling from another defensive lapse.
Things got worse after the break. The Chargers scored on four of five second-half possessions and ended the day by reeling off 23 unanswered points.
San Diego finished with 407 yards, including 377 passing, and converted 56 percent on third down.
"I just think we're not challenging throws," Bradley said, adding that his secondary managed one pass breakup in 39 attempts. "That's not how it should be. You should have more pass breakups. ... It needs to be tighter."
The Jaguars had hoped the defense would improve with a little more offense. Rookie Blake Bortles made his first career start and played well at times. He completed 29 of 37 passes for 253 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions.
With Bortles keeping plays alive, Jacksonville managed 319 yards and notched season highs in first downs and third-down conversions — both critical in keeping defenders off the field and rested.
But the defense failed to take advantage.
The unit ranks last in the NFL in total defense and passing defense. Jacksonville has allowed 25 completions of 20 or more yards for a league-high 687 yards and six touchdowns.
The result: the Jaguars are winless through four games for the second consecutive season and have been outscored 152-58.
They hope to turn things around Sunday against Pittsburgh (2-2).
"It is a challenge," Bradley said. "The players want it badly. I know that we just have strong conviction. I see our team get better and want it and are willing to compete and willing to do the extra things and are trying to figure this out. I'm going with them. I want to be with them on that journey and that's what we have.
"When I see their spirit, I say, 'Count me in on this.' We'll get this thing right. There's not a doubt in my mind. For some reason, we are going through some of these struggles right now, but it's only to make us stronger. Maybe we've got to earn the opportunity for victory and we haven't quite figured that out yet. Let's figure it out and then let's go."
One major problem has been Jacksonville's inability to put two halves together. The Jaguars were outscored 34-0 in the second half of the season opener at Philadelphia. They were down 21-0 at Washington the following week before they even got a first down. They trailed Indianapolis 30-0 at halftime last week and were outscored 16-0 in the second half at San Diego.
"We all want to win, but I think the dangerous thing for us, especially with a young team, is how do we win?" Bradley said. "The challenge for our guys is to just be your best and get better every week. ... But if they start thinking about wins and losses, that's when it gets all fouled up.
"We're not light on losing. We're not playing our best right now so we can't think about anything else. We haven't accomplished playing our best yet. Let's do that then we'll see what happens."
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