It’s a bit of a strange week for the Jaguars coming back from a weekend off and also having Thanksgiving in the middle of the workweek. Head Coach Gus Bradley let his team off over the weekend following the win over Tennessee, and gave the players Monday off before bringing them in for a full workday on Tuesday.
“Sometimes I think when you have some time off like that you come back. I know in the past those Mondays that you have after some time off it takes them a while to get going, but not today,” Gus explained today.
They’ll have Thanksgiving Day off, and then finish up preparations for Sunday’s game against Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. Most players we talked to said the Chargers are the best 2-7 team they’ve ever seen. And most of it starts with Rivers. “He commands the whole offense,” Bradley said on Tuesday. “They go no-huddle and he runs that part of it as well so he just has complete control of the offense, knows defenses, the looks he’s getting and where to go with the ball.”
As far as putting pressure on Rivers in the pocket, Bradley explained why they’d have to play well on the “back end” rather than expect to put Rivers on the ground.
“I know his average time of getting the ball off is under 2.3 seconds, so he gets rid of the ball fast but he takes his shots too. That’s what he did against us last year.”
Now that Sen’Derrick Marks is on injured reserve, the Jaguars are moving a lot of players around on the defensive line. Tyson Alualu has taken on a bigger role. A bit turn of events since Alualu wasn’t sure he’d be on this team in 2015.
“I think with the personnel that we had and when we moved him outside to be head-up on a tackle or head-up on a tight end we did utilize some of his strength so that part of it. I know that was some concern when we got here with his knee but it hasn’t been an issue thus far,” Bradley explained. “His consistency. We know what we’re getting all the time with him versus the run, his toughness, his mentality, every day that he comes to work you know what you’re getting and he’s just been very consistent for us.”
As a free-agent acquisition in the offseason, Jared Odrick was expected to fill a role on the defensive line that wasn’t very glamorous: Take on double-teams, stuff the run, and clog things up. With a sack against the Titans, Odrick raised his profile a bit, but Bradley says he’s always valued Odrick’s contributions.
“I think he’s playing very well,” Gus explained. “When you look at him as far as his role, what we’re asking him to do, and he’s done a really good job. I think he’s been a big part with the run game why we’ve been better versus the run or more consistent versus the run. That was a deal where we felt like we needed that style of player and he’s been a great addition.”