There are some subtle changes to the bye week for the Jaguars players although Gus Bradley wouldn’t outline them specifically. He did say he didn’t “want guys to go home and run hill sprints with their personal trainers” but outside of that, stay out of trouble, clear your mind and be ready for the second half of the season when they come back.
Bradley’s look at the Buffalo win gave him a chance to assess where the Jaguars are seven games into his third season.
“Coming off of this game that we just had, a lot of good things, a lot of things that we need to improve on,” he said at his final press conference of the week. “I think we really need to focus on those areas and attack them like we’ve done some of the other things, try to be ahead of the curve on some of the things coming out of the bye.”
Bradley got specific about certain situations, saying that they won’t be afraid to bring in some kickers if Jason Myers seems to be struggling. And he said the cornerback position that’s been up for grabs between Davon House and Dwayne Gratz remains so. Gratz got the start against Buffalo but House saw plenty of action. Bradley says he wants Gratz to take better advantage of opportunities.
“I think he’s a good technician. I want to challenge him more to be more of a playmaker when there is opportunities. Not guess and go ball-hawking, but when the opportunity presents itself, take advantage of it. I think that’s a step that he needs to take.”
I asked Gus after the game in London if the package on the goal line with Tyson Alualu at fullback only included Toby Gerhart at tailback. He said it did, but admitted that TJ Yeldon “makes people miss” and might be an option there in the future.
“If you look at analytics it probably says kick the field goal at that time.. It was a coach’s choice and it was a strong to go for it. I felt strongly for this reason: I feel like we came out of the locker room and we had a long drive. It was 13 plays. We were ahead by quite a few. It was more of a message to this team, let’s finish. Let’s finish right now, let’s put this in and let’s find a way. And it didn’t work out that way.”
He’s right. If they kick the field goal there, they’re up by three scores. But Gus stuck by his conviction thinking his defense could handle it if Buffalo bot the ball back on the one. But it was a huge momentum swing that the Jaguars took over a quarter to stop. That might have been the most surprising thing and perhaps a signal that the young players on the Jaguars are starting to mature and develop as expected. They stopped the momentum of the Bills and created some of their own.
“It was outstanding to stop momentum and switch it in your corner after the number of three and outs,” Bradley explained. “You talk about uncomfortable, keep your spirit and great growth, its classic illustration right there.”
It might have been most important for a young team to have a positive vibe coming home from London and going into a bye week. Gus likes to talk about the “fits” and “how things look” when reviewing a game. A lot of the Buffalo game had the right look and in the end, a victory on the scoreboard.
Perhaps as a lesson to his team he couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
“To have it all come together in that situation was cool. There was poise, there was grit, there was resolve and all the things that we talk about day after day they used in that situation. They felt it and it was cool.”