Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Had a Postgame Gift for Mularkey; Players Enjoyed the Win on Friday Night; Nwaneri Says Team Is Energized

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Had a Postgame Gift for Mularkey; Players Enjoyed the Win on Friday Night; Nwaneri Says Team Is Energized

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

It was an emotional, symbolic moment in the Jaguars' newly renovated locker room Friday night.

Rashean Mathis presented the game ball to Mike Mularkey after the Jaguars backups rallied to post a 32-21 preseason victory over the New York Giants in his first game as the Jaguars' coach.

"That's kind of our welcoming gift to him,'' said guard Uche Nwaneri. "He's instilled that belief in us. A lot of our principles we abide by are principles he set for us, standards and expectations.

"We wanted to kind of say thank you and let him get a taste of what it is going to be like for us in the future with a new ownership and new coaching staff that starts with a new team. Everybody is energized. That first win is definitely a milestone for any coaching staff,'' Nwaneri said.

The Jaguars pulled out the victory on a two-point coversion toss from third-string quarterback Jordan Palmer to undrafted rookie tight end Matt Veldman at the two-minute mark.

Mularkey said, "That will go a long way.''

He added, "We overcame ourselves a number of times to come back and win the game. I know it was a preseason game and I know a lot of the guys probably won't be here when it is all said and done. But I can tell you that the effort by these guys until the last play was outstanding to give us a chance to win, which they know if they play that way, we always have a chance. That will go a long way. First preseason game. I'm very proud of them.''

Palmer played the entire second half and completed 9 of 13 passes for 110 yards and a 95 passer rating.

The game ball was a signal of how much the Jaguars like playing for Mularkey.

Palmer said, "I'll tell you what. I've been to a couple of different teams. And I've been around the league for a long time and I've haven't see anybody like Mularkey. He does everything the right way. He's a players' coach and yet he asks a lot of us. I can't think of a better guy to play for honestly.

"That's one of the biggest motivations to get better and play and make the team," Palmer added. …

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