After yesterday’s loss to the Panthers, Gus Bradley said several times that they would “tell the truth” on Monday as they assessed what happened and maybe more importantly, what went wrong.
If there’s any positive to take from the opening day loss it’s that the Jaguars mistakes were apparent. If they hadn’t dropped key passes, given up points on offense and missed kicks, a win was possible.
“The truth is also this,” Bradley said today. “I thought that as an offense we played very cautiously. We didn’t want to make mistakes. I thought that some of the things we saw in practice carried over to the preseason. Our hope and our thought is that it would carry over to the regular season and it didn’t, it didn’t carry over to the game.”
That is what’s most frustrating since the team seemed to build some momentum in the preseason on offense, changing the attitude that seemed to prevail from last year. But whatever momentum they built, or optimism they created in the off-season was lost in one game.
“We definitely went out there anxious, being the first game,” wide receiver Allen Robinson said in front of his locker on Monday. Everybody wants to play well, I know I can pick it up as far as aggressiveness goes.”
All through the offseason and in training camp, Bradley stressed his team’s ability to bounce back from bad fortune during a game. Against Carolina, that didn’t happen.
“Sometimes misfortune happens,” Bradley explained. “But how you adjust and you handle it is even more important. I don’t feel like we handled it very well.”
Even after looking at the game on video today, disappointment was the overriding emotion for the Jaguars. They felt like it was there and they didn’t take it.
Denard Robinson is looking to play with more freedom this Sunday against Miami. “We have to go out there and play loose. Let it go and just make the plays you know you can. They are called routine plays for a reason. We just have to go out there and do it.”
Bradley agrees with that. “We said winning is extremely, extremely important. It’s extremely important but the guys in that locker room are disappointed we weren’t our best and they felt like if we were we would have won that game and that’s what’s disappointing.”
So it’s back to work on Wednesday with the focus on Miami and perhaps a bit of a realistic take on who the Jaguars are from the coaching staff and the players. The promise they showed in the preseason was just promise at this point. Perhaps they had a false sense of how far they had come.
“There are some unknowns going into the regular season, you try to find out things. Now, we know,” Gus said today. “We went through a game and we understand where we are and what we need to do. Now, it’s just a matter of addressing it.”
And going 0-1 might be just one loss in the column but it feels worse because of the upcoming schedule. They’ll be underdogs against Miami at home on Sunday at 4 PM as well as the next two weeks on the road at New England and Indianapolis so if they’re not 0-4 a quarter of the way through the schedule, it’ll be an upset at this point.
Perhaps Roy Miller put the best veterans perspective on it: “Out of the 32 teams, there are 16 that are in our same situation. You can be sad about it, but you know you have 15 games. That’s what we have to look forward to and keep in our minds.”