Six games and seven weeks into the season the Jaguars should be talking about how to improve and hopefully get themselves into a division race. Instead, they sit a 2-4 and the conversation is about how the culture of the team eroded in the second half against Oakland on Sunday as their lost their poise and the game 33-16.
“It’s on us as a team to hold each other accountable.,” said Blake Bortles in his post game press conference. “To have two or three guys or whatever to get thrown out is kind of ridiculous and embarrassing.. I think the best thing for us is we get to play Thursday, so we don’t have time to think about this much longer.”
While the Jaguars have Tennessee on the schedule on Thursday night, Monday was spent talking about what happened Sunday on the field against the Raiders. Both Malik Jackson and Jalen Ramsey were ejected, Jackson for a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Ramsey for fighting. Neither apologized for their actions but Jackson was somewhat contrite.
“It was a culmination of the whole day. Just a lot of things going on,” said Jackson. “I just got frustrated and lost my cool and we can’t have that happen. I cost my team a bunch of penalty yards and I don’t know what happened after that.”
On the other hand, Ramsey was somewhat defiant. On Monday, his 21st birthday, his attitude toward what happened Sunday was no different.
“If I was out there nine more times I would do the same exact thing,” said Ramsey. “I don’t think I should’ve been thrown out the game for it. Neither do I think he (Raiders WR Johnny Holton) should’ve been thrown out the game for it. I’m not going to be disrespected. I’m pretty sure you’ll know that about me by now. I would do the same thing.”
Maybe chalk that up to being young but more than anything it shows a lack of regard for the team, the coaches and the organization in general. It’s self-centered, showing more concern for “me” than anything else. Ramsey’s comments shouldn’t be lost on Head Coach Gus Bradley, who says he takes the lack of discipline personally.
“I do. That’s a reflection of me as a head coach,” he said on Monday. “It’s a reflection of our discipline. It’s a reflection of how our culture is and how we talk. And how we handle things. So yeah that part of it hits home with me because obviously it’s my responsibility. The demeanor of this team and how we approach things and how we play with poise. It is. I take personal responsibility of that.”
There’s no other way to describe it other than embarrassing. You can call it unacceptable but unless there are some consequences for that kind of behavior, I guess it’s actually acceptable. Gus needs to get it fixed and fast. At least Bradley doesn’t dispute that it’s an embarrassing display by the team.
“It’s an unacceptable moment,” he said. “To have two players disqualified from one game it is unacceptable. There’s no other way to look around it. To say it’s frustrating or embarrassing I’m with them.” And Bortles said what everybody was thinking when asked about the behavior and how to fix it.
“I mean you have a bunch of grown men playing football for a living,” he explained. “It’s kind of on us to do that as a group. It’s on each individual to hold themselves to a high standard and when they get out of line, it’s on the team to put them back in place.”
As far as their actual play on the field, particularly on offense, Bortles was also spot on admitting he hasn’t played well but at this point, the Jaguars need to try and get out o their own way first.
“I think it all starts with the self-inflicted stuff-the penalties and unforced errors that we create ourselves. We can’t do anything until we get past that. We’ll never be successful as an offense as long as we are turning it over and committing penalties, so we have to find a way to knock those out. We will never reach our potential until we do that.”