In his nearly three full seasons as the Jaguars Head Coach, Gus Bradley has talked about “how it looks” and “playing together,” “keeping it tight” and “finishing.” Against the Colts on Sunday, it must have looked right to Bradley because the Jaguars did all of those things and more. A 51-16 victory was some validation for the message Bradley has brought and he believes, shows what they’re capable of.
“Well, I think that the sign, in talking to the players, was the importance of all three phases,” Bradley said on a conference call on Monday. “I think we’ve seen games where the offense did well or the defense did well or sometimes the special teams, but to put it together to show what we’re capable of, I think it’s a tremendous message – tremendous message to our team.”
One thing about Gus, his message, nor his demeanor changes. The only time I’ve seen him angry was after the Tampa Bay game this year. And some viewers wrote me with a laugh that they “get madder at their cell phone than Gus was (today.)” But Bradley knows the players on the roster need to see success on the field that translates to wins on the scoreboard. Talk all you want, but do it on the field and that’s what can happen.
“I think it provides even a clearer picture to when we do things right in all three phases what we have a chance to be. So, that’s a great message. I think you can talk it, about, ‘Hey, if we put these three phases together, and then let’s see what happens.’ Well, we had this experience now that took place that I think paints a vivid picture for the players.”
Nothing replaces that feeling of success. To get that again, the Jaguars know they have to practice well and play well. That they just can’t show up and beat people. At some point, their best will be good enough to win. If they’re not there now, what yesterday showed is that they’re close. They have the talent and are gaining the experience it takes to compete in the NFL. The Colts aren’t world-beaters, but beating teams you’re supposed to beat is a step to success in the league. Sunday it started with the defense making some stops in the red zone in the first half, forcing field goals while the Jaguars offense struggled.
“Offensively, we were struggling a little bit,” Bradley explained. “It’s good to see the defense stood up in some of those situations and kept the score within reach so where we felt, hey, we’re in good shape, we just need to get our rhythm back. A lot of those things, a lot of lessons taken from this tape that we have to learn from.”
Although they’re technically still in the race for the AFC south, it’s next year where the Jaguars are expecting to be competitive and compete for the division title. Bradley was most pleased with what the future might hold because of what he saw yesterday.
“I just saw improvement. That’s the part that I’m really excited about. Now the challenge is to build on that. We’ll take a look at it when the season is over to see just how far we’ve come along and the direction. But that game, that performance yesterday, is something we can build on for this week.”