It was something that head coach Doug Marrone has harped on from the day he was hired. He preached and promoted accountability from player to player, accountability from players to coaches and accountability of coaches to players. He wanted an internal trust between all of those parties so when adversity struck, as it does in every NFL season, it would be met with a team whose resolve would not waver. After their most recent defeat veteran players are out to make sure that accountability exists from top to bottom on the roster.
"You've got to be accountable to your teammates, but to me at the end of the day everybody is a grown man. You have to be accountable to yourself first before you're accountable to others," said C.J. Spiller. "If it's not important to you then that's you. Guys don't want to play with guys when important things aren't important to them. If you're not accountable to yourself, then you're definitely not going to be accountable to each other. We're grown men and we're going to make decisions and we have to live with them."
"We need to get to a winning spot in this franchise where we're going into each game with the same mindset, the same sense of urgency, the same accountability and the same passion to win from everybody," said Eric Wood. "When we get there we'll be able to do something special here. Just a couple of weeks ago we were saying we're not far off from where we want to be as a team, then we go and lay an egg (last Sunday) and you feel like you're starting over at square one. We're not, we've got good players on this team, we've just got to do some growing up."
When asked what he meant when he said growing up, Wood made things plain.
"Just approaching each day as a professional, and I don't think we're doing that as an entire team," Wood said. "There's lots of guys who are, but there's enough who aren't that's affecting us."
"The thing about it is, it has to be everybody or it's not good enough," said Kyle Williams. "If you're missing one or two, it's not good enough. This game is unique where one guy can't make a game for you or win a game for you. It takes a collective effort and if you don't have everybody on the same page you're not going to be able to win. You're not going to be able to be effective. If you have 40-guys who are accountable to the right things and you're missing 10, it's not good enough. Obviously it's not good enough and that's something where we need to get everybody going."
Fred Jackson believes accountability has to go beyond just looking at one's own performance and how they can do better. It's demanding better from one another.
"When you have to do something you have to get it done," said Fred Jackson. "Like myself on the screen pass I dropped. I have to be held accountable for that. I can't do that. When that play is called and it's 3rd-and-18 and our offensive line does a great job getting out and they're blocking for me downfield and I drop the ball. I need to be held accountable.
"They need to come to the sideline and say, 'You've got to make that play for us.' That's what it's about. I've got to lead by example and I've got to go tell guys to get things done when there are things to get done. That's for everybody, not just one single person. That's for all of us on this team."
Jackson doesn't believe that element of accountability is absent, he just believes it has to be a higher priority.
"It's not missing, but it's not stressed as much as it needs to be," he said. "Guys talked about it (Sunday). We're aware that we all need to be held accountable, but not a lot of guys are calling other guys out when they need to. That'll come. We have guys in this locker room that are going to step up and take onus on that."
"I think it's important for the players in here to see, to know who they can count on," said Williams. "To know that no matter the circumstances who is going to be there and who's going to do the right things and play the way you want somebody to play or your teammate to play and moving forward knowing that you can count on them."
The final three games of the season are going to be the time where those kinds of answers are going to be finalized.
"We're going to find out," Jackson said. "With this team and organization it's about winning. If you're not all in about winning you will be evaluated at the end of the year and that's myself included. If they feel like they have to go in a different direction they will."
"I think you'll learn or else you won't be here. Guys won't be here moving forward," said Wood. "Russ (Brandon) said it last week, he will do anything to win. Now that he's taken over, Doug Whaley and coach Marrone have all proved it. If you're not performing, if you're not up to standards they will get rid of you in a heartbeat. I think from an accountability standpoint, we appreciate that as players. We want guys in here who want to come to work and come to win."