That’s how Gus Bradley starting talking about his observations of Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay after looking at the video and having 24 hours to reflect.
Bradley admitted he didn’t know what to say after seeing the multitude of mistakes, including 23 missed tackles in the game.
“You look at it and you go, how can we get this fixed? Sometimes I think the biggest message to our team is personal responsibility.”
That’s been a selling point of Bradley’s head coaching “experiment” as he is trying to empower the players to take the responsibility as well as hold their teammates responsible. He was particularly wounded by the defensive performance and the lack of somebody stepping up and making a play instead of waiting for somebody else to make a tackle.
“No, no. You make the tackle,” Bradley said, his voice still strained from yesterday’s game. “Take personal responsibility for making that tackle, Take personal responsibility, take accountability for it and let’s get these things cleaned up.”
While players make plays, even Bradley wondered if his team was prepared to play against the Bucs. That brings into question the whole coaching philosophy, the coaching staff and Bradley’s role in what’s happening in games and during the week.
Gus admitted his demeanor has to change. “I think I can be stronger on the practice field. If I do that, I think the players need to feel me that when a situation like that occurs, to hear my voice, offensively, defensively and special teams. That’s where I take personal responsibility. I don’t think I’ve been as animated on the field when it comes to those issues. So that part, I think you’ll see that part will change.”
It’s obvious Bradley has confidence in the physical ability of his team and the talent level he and General Manager Dave Caldwell have put together for the 2015 version of the Jaguars. But he’s stumped when it comes to why the players are making mistakes, albeit different players making different ones in each game, and not able to maintain a level of precision and consistency necessary to compete every week in the league.
“You know what, it’s personal responsibility. You’re in the NFL. You’re a player in the NFL. Take care of your business and focus. If you do three good things and you didn’t do it that time, you’re losing focus.”
Does that mean they need to start cutting players? As Tom Coughlin once said in the expansion year, “These are our players.” As in, “Where are we going to find new players right now?” But the Jaguars need to decide whether some of their current players are part of the solution or just part of the problem.
“Yes, you’re right,” Bradley agreed. ” You trust people until they prove unreliable. If they’re unreliable, you have to make changes. I agree 100 percent The NFL is ‘tolerate until you can replace.’ That’s for all of us. That’s the environment that we know that we’re in, the players know that we’re in that environment and the coaches. That’s just a fact of life. The players need to sense that. But we need someone that we can replace them with.”
Why haven’t the Jaguars cut anybody? For now, not one player is standing out as making the same mistakes over and over. It’s a shared responsibility, team-wide. And with a team that stops itself as much as dealing with the opponent, Bradley reiterated their margin for error is small.
“We are not a team that’s going out there and winning 31-7.” Then he corrected himself a bit. “We’re not a team that’s going out there and winning, first of all. You’re playing close games there’s little margin for error.”
Will yelling and screaming and a bigger presence in practice be the solution? Gus isn’t sure. But he is turning up the heat on his players.
“These conversations that we have I want to shock them, I’m going to hold them accountable for that. I’m going to watch them closely and make sure they take it upon themselves. This group is special, they take personal responsibility. If they’re not we’ll ensure that they do and we’ll hold them accountable for it.” Which maybe means roster changes are imminent.
And being a defensive coach, Bradley wants a team with his trademark on it to be tough on defense, stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback. Against the Bucs, the Jaguars did neither.
“This game was more disappointing because this is our strength. We are built to stop the run and we didn’t. That’s what’s disappointing more so than anything else.”