Just about every losing team in the NFL talks about ignoring “the noise.” “The noise,” by the way, is what you and I have to say about how the team is playing. After their 31-20 loss at home to the lowly Texans, there has been plenty of noise from outside the stadium about how to fix it. Fire Gus. Cut some players. Puts guys on the bench. Get rid of Dave Caldwell.
They hear it, but they’re trying to ignore it.
“I always want to make sure that we play hard in front of our fans and we give them a good product,” Bradley said at his Monday’s press conference. “What goes on in that locker room and how we handle it in the team meetings and how we talk, there’s not a lot of conversations about ‘here’s what they’re saying outside.’ ”
That’s not unique. Patriots Head Coach has a sign on the door to the Patriots practice facility that says, “Ignore The Noise.” At least Bradley admitted what would put an end to all of that talk.
“They will be happy if we get this right so we put all of our attention into that.”
For the second week in a row, the Jaguars had a lead and lost it and for the third straight week chances to win the game were at hand, and lost. “Very challenging time that we’re going through right now. We’re in that stage where we have to find a way to pull these off,” Bradley explained as part of the growing process. “I believe in the guys in the locker room, I think that’s important that they believe in each other and they do.”
Were expectations too high going into the third year? Bradley declared the team built and immediately everybody thought that meant they’d be competitive and win games. In comparison to 2013 and 2014, there’s no question the Jaguars are better and more competitive. It’s the winning games that’s not happening. Bradley spoke today as if he expected this all along. “Going through this, you knew this was going to be challenging: to teach this team what it takes to get through this and do enough right things to earn that victory. So that’s where we’re at.”
Fans appear particularly dismayed because the Jaguars are collapsing at the exact wrong time and finding a way to lose late in the game.
“That’s the part where I think we have to teach our team, when you have the lead, now you even go more if there is such a thing,” Bradley said, addressing losing leads late in games. ”
“I think instead of dipping your toe in the water, you get immersed in it. And that’s what we need to learn.”
Although practices are closed to team coaches and officials only, apparently the team looks different behind closed gates than it does on Sunday afternoon in stadiums. Bradley wants to see the team that practices show up on Sunday. It appears the Jaguars are now a team full of Blaine Gabberts.
“I want to make sure what we see in practice is what we get in the game. I think that that same competitive spirit transfers over. What we’re seeing now in some guys is they compete 90 percent of the time; I’m just talking about a few. Ninety percent of the time, and then they have a let-up or they lose their focus for a period of time.”
When he said that, a lot of eyebrows were raised. Being able to see that on video when a guy isn’t giving 100% on a particular play means he’s headed to the bench, soon. Gus was particularly critical, without naming him, of Davon House and how he performed late in the game. De’Andre Hopkins was held pretty much in check for most of the game but he torched House on three consecutive drives in the 4th quarter to put the game out of reach.
“You can’t do that, you can’t do that in the NFL. In the secondary, if a guy gets behind you, there’s no excuse. If you lose your eyes, there’s no excuse. You have to be able to do those things, that’s part of being in the league. It’s playing that complete game.”
So they’ll evaluate performance this week and decide who gets to play in London against Buffalo and who’s sitting. Making one mistake can be written off. But the same mistakes over and over, Bradley calls that a lack of accountability.
“But if it’s a repeated action, then what is accountability? If they repeat it and they continue to play and go out there and play, what takes place?” he noted when talking about figuring out who will play and who won’t. “That’s the decisions we have to make this week.”
And how will they make those decisions? Bradley gave us some insight into how he’ll approach the situation. The short answer is: different ways for different players.
“To me, accountability is changing someone’s behavior. If putting the hammer changes someone’s behavior, then put the hammer down. That’s why you have to understand your players and know what they’re all about. If I told Poz I was going to fine him five dollars, he would straighten up. If I told someone else I would fine him five dollars, they may not. Everybody is different, so you have to find out what they value and what’s important to them and hopefully it’s this team. I’m sure it is.”
Hope he’s right.