It’s been a pretty dramatic transformation in the Jaguars locker room over the last four years. As much as General Manager Dave Caldwell has been looking for talent as he builds the roster, he’s been vetting players’ personalities as well. There’s a certain type of player that can work inside a team with Head Coach Gus Bradley’s coaching style. Bradley is trying to empower the players to hold each other accountable to do their best and get the job done. All it takes is one bad apple to undermine the entire process.
Only certain kinds of players want to be a part of that and Malik Jackson noticed it right away. Jackson was one of the targeted free agents in the off-season because of his ability on the field and the presence he has in the locker room.
“Coming in that locker room when I first got here you could see that Coach Bradley wants to get guys in there who are good people, people who know how to win and guys who can bring people along to win,” Jackson said during a visit to Channel 4.
Adding players who are established NFL starters who know what it takes to win on the field and in the locker room was clearly a priority for the Jaguars in this off-season.
“Me, Chris Ivory, Gipson, Julius Thomas. Guys who know how to win and who want to win,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of new guys who can play. Who really want to play, who really want to win and bring this program back to the top.”
Looking at his new teammates, Jackson is confident they can be a factor in every game but outlined the difference between just being a factor, and winning.
“I think there’s plenty of talent on this roster,” he said, agreeing that “coming together” to win games takes a few intangibles.
“Number one, we all have to stay healthy and two, we have to talk to each other and understand what we’re saying.”
You wouldn’t think simple communication and putting your ego aside would be a factor for players being paid millions to play the game. But Jackson said it might be the single biggest difference between winning teams and also-rans.
“A lot of people get sensitive when you try to talk to them. If I scream at you it just means I’m passionate about what this is. I’m not being mean. If I talk to you or if you talk to me I can’t be sensitive about it. You have to understand we’re one team with one goal. It means a lot to us so we have to take criticism and keep going.”