Losing can take its toll on a franchise. Losing consistently, year after year, can put a club near a crossroads after just two games.
That club is the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that has not won a game since Week 1 of last season. Their struggles helped them land consensus top prospect Trevor Lawrence, who was chosen by a newly formed power duo of first-time NFL coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke. Meyer's seat is getting warm after just two losses, and one of his new arrivals, defensive back Shaquill Griffin, has already deemed it necessary to circle the locker room's wagons.
''As soon as we came in, I went around the whole locker room saying to ones with their head down, stay in it, continue to believe," Griffin said of his response to Jacksonville's Sunday defeat, via the Florida Times-Union. "Because once it turns around, once it clicks, I need everybody on board. That's my message going around the locker room and I'm going to stick by it."
Two losses don't seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Even with postseason percentages considered -- only 11.6 percent of teams that started 0-2 have reached the playoffs since 1990, per NFL Research -- there's still a very long road ahead for the Jaguars. They didn't just trip and fall into the No. 1 pick, either; Jacksonville was in a close race to the cellar with the New York Jets when it came to determining which roster was the worst in football.
Players like Griffin arrived with the hopes of changing that for the better. A three-year, $44.5 million offer didn't hurt when it came to luring Griffin to Jacksonville, either.
So far, though, the culture change and wins expected to come from it have yet to materialize. Jacksonville was blown out by Houston on the road in Week 1, and though they were competitive, the Jaguars dropped their home opener to the Denver Broncos in Week 2. These things usually take time, and even the most rapid rebuilds don't just storm out of the gate 2-0 after one offseason.
Meyer, who came from a collegiate program at Ohio State that did not rebuild, but reload (thanks to his and his staff's excellent recruiting skills), has brought along his idealistic speeches to the pro game. He has spoken of the importance of unity, among other things and is attempting to combat any future division by leaning on players like Griffin, one of the team's seven co-captains, to deliver that message.
''That means guys that care about each other, guys fight for each other, guys pull for each other,'' Meyer said. ''When you go through, a lot of guys were here last year, you start losing those games and this year start losing games, I just want them to stick together because we're going to break this rock. We will break this rock and when we do, I want them to enjoy it, the loyalty, the sticking together, the locker room, the energy on the sideline."
Griffin is ready to enjoy it now. He didn't come to Jacksonville to lose. He and Jaguars fans might just need a little patience. It is, after all, the biggest season ever.
''We might bend, but we never break,'' Griffin said. ''We've still got a long season left. I've got to be able to trust guys on offense, I got to be able to trust everybody on the defense, I got to be able to trust everybody on the special teams. We still have to get better. Let's focus on us.''