When you’re a fan, a player or even the Head Coach of a 2-10 team, nobody wants to hear about the good things you’re doing. Gus Bradley admitted that Monday at his weekly press conference saying he understands what people are thinking because he’s thinking the same things.
“I think it’s just disheartening looking at this team,” Gus said. “I share the frustration with our fans and this team. It is difficult. I believe so strongly in these guys in the locker room and this staff and what is taking place here, but it’s not okay. I’m not going to make excuses for what took place. I know people don’t want to hear that. ‘I don’t want to hear the positives. We are hurting.’ I agree. We’re right with you and so are the guys in that locker room.”
Is it OK to see the same mistakes, albeit from different players every week? Of course not. Bradley knows that and is trying to put his finger on why that is happening. From the outside, most of the finger pointing is at him. From the inside, Bradley knows it’s his job to get it right.
“We have to get this fixed,” he explained. “It’s a tough league. It’s extremely difficult.. Our next opponent that we’re playing, look at that. I think they started off 5-0 and now they have lost six of their last seven. It’s hard. It’s a challenging, challenging league. You have to be on it at all times.”
If that sounds like a guy who’s committed to the process, that’s because he is. There’s not one hint from Bradley that his tenure with the team might be up in less than a month. He’s working as if he’s going to lead this team long term. He’s not naïve, he’s not stupid and he doesn’t have his head buried in the sand. That’s just how he is. He’s going to work for a solution the best way he knows until somebody tells him he can’t. If that happens, that somebody will be Dave Caldwell through Shad Khan, but for now, Bradley is the Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a title and job he takes very seriously.
“You check out the type of people that you have in this locker room,” he said. “They’re unbelievable guys, unbelievable character. I’m talking about character, as a coach. You want players that have strong enough character that will help you through those tough times. That’s what you’re seeing in the locker room. It’s unbelievable. It’s unwavering, yet they’re hurting.”
Talking to the players in the locker room, they’re solidly behind Bradley and point at themselves rather than the coach, the scheme or the organization. So how does Bradley gauge if the team still has their head in the game?
“I think that’s a barometer for me, that these players are in it and they’re working hard and they’re going for it. It’s not enough. Like I told the whole team, I don’t believe in excuses. It’s not alright where we are. I’m not going to say it’s alright. I do know this: they work hard each and every week. That’s what I anticipate seeing again this week.”
And while Bradley is a positive upbeat guy, he’s not a rah-rah coach. He’s not pumping guys up. He’s pointing out what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong, giving them, what he thinks, is a chance to be their best.
“You still challenge everybody. It’s not the idea of positive or whatever the case. I think it’s just working hard. That’s what it’s all about in this game.”