From the beginning of his career as Head Coach of the Jaguars, Gus Bradley has talked about telling the truth to his players, his coaches, the ownership and the media. He even dubbed the day after games “Tell the truth Monday.” So it’s not surprising that he’s continued that despite the disappointment of being 2-8.
I think part of accountability is speaking the truth and that’s what we tried to hit on today,” Bradley said on Monday after reviewing the 26-19 loss to the Lions in Detroit. “Lot of areas we hit on.”
He has to give a bit of “coach-speak” I suppose when reviewing the game. Calling out the players who are missing assignments and not executing when it counts wouldn’t be very productive at this point.
“All three phases; defensively, we played pretty well until the last couple series when we felt like we needed to get off the field and get the offense back the ball,” he explained. “I think when you look back earlier in the season there were times when the defense did do that at the end of the game. Last couple of games we haven’t been doing that. That’s what we talked about defensively.”
On offense the Jaguars have had their spurts in the last few weeks. Bradley told the CBS broadcast crew that he’s seen a noticeable difference in how the offense is playing since naming Nathaniel Hackett offensive coordinator. Although they’re still not taking advantage of many of their opportunities and turning the ball over, they’re showing signs of life. On special teams, things have gone south in a hurry. That’s not unusual when injuries start to mount and special team players have very little experience or are starters who have been called on for special team duty. That’s why Bradley was stumped when asked about giving up a punt return TD to the Lions.
“No. I don’t know what to say when a guy is unblocked and right there and misses the tackle. It’s execution.”
While the same mistakes are happening, the perplexing thing to the coaching staff is how they’re spread over the team. It’s not the same players, it’s all the players. But holding onto the ball when you have it and taking it away from your opponent is a crucial metric when analyzing why certain teams win and others don’t. The Jaguars double-digit defict in turnover margin is one of the leading indicators of their lees-than-expected success.
“We’re not making enough plays at critical times. That’s the common denominator that keeps popping up,” Bradley said. “Is it penalties? Not all the time. You can be high in penalties and still win games and you can be low in penalties and still lose games. Turnovers are the big factor.”
On “Jaguars All-Access” Malik Jackson was our guest Monday night. Coming from a Super Bowl winning team to one that’s having trouble finding it’s way can be a difficult transition. But Jackson said he sees good things in the future if they keep building.
“We’re working hard. We’re building a standard on the team,” he told me during one of the commercial breaks. “We’re just not getting wins. We’re getting better, that’s for sure, but not over the hump yet.”
Which is why it’s not hard to believe Bradley on a “Tell the truth” Monday when he says these are the right guys on the Jaguars roster, despite their record. They’re not packing it in.
“They’ll come in and go to work on Wednesday and we’ve had good weeks of practice,” he said when asked if he’s worried the team’s enthusiasm will start to wane. “I think when you watch this team going through a couple losses like we have you wonder how they’re going to show up. The effort and how hard we play is not an issue with this team. It’s more making some decisions, critical decision, at the right time.”