Jaguars: Two Weeks To Clean Things Up
by Sam Kouvaris
Posted October 04, 2016
It's apparent that Gus Bradley knows where the issues are on his team and will spend the next two weeks trying to fix them. Despite the much-needed win in London against the Colts Bradley's post-game locker room speech was about "cleaning things up." At one point in the second quarter the Jaguars had more penalty yards than offensive yards, keeping Indianapolis in the game.
"I know it wasn't the cleanest game of football, especially on our side, but we talked about being aggressive, especially in the run game," Bradley said in his post game comments. "We felt offensively we needed to get that going, and I felt like we were more aggressive up front."
All of that's fine and I've thought Bradley's comments in his first few years were the right things to say when building a young team. But at this point the "little things" they talk about that bite you in the NFL in the form of getting beat.
End game situation, tight quarters, veteran quarterback, somehow the safety and the corner got mixed up on the call and Andrew Luck threw a 64-yard TD pass to a wide open receiver. Bradley likes to talk about "situational football" so in that situation the only thing that you can't let happen, happened. Gus had an explanation but I thought he should have been more in an "unacceptable" mode.
"Yeah, the scissors route, yeah," he said when I asked him about it. "We missed the coverage. We didn't play it according to the call. Whether there was some confusion, I think we'll all take responsibility for that one. Sometimes you have double-digit calls based on formation and based on where personnel is, things like that. When it's a no-huddle situation, to get that communication across the board is difficult."
Whether there are double-digit calls or no-huddle, good teams get that kind of thing done in critical situations. Understanding the reason it happened I suppose is the first step to getting it fixed. And perhaps he can't say much else in public but accountability is one of the reasons those guys are getting paid on Sundays.
When I pressed him, Gus still saw the positive part of what his defense was doing.
"I felt like we played pretty good up until the last couple of series," he explained. "We had a couple coverage busts, no-huddle situations, where we just weren't on the same page, and we'll learn from that one now. You just can't do it in a no-huddle situation."
While Indy doesn't look like world beaters, the Jaguars did show some resiliency by hanging on for a victory. I know they showed a stat about blown leads in the Gus Bradley era, the most in the NFL, but this time a couple of guys made plays and they got their first win of the year.
"Well, I think we've been a team, other than our second game, that has fought and battled our way, we just didn't have some things go our way, whether it's breaks or we just didn't make plays when we had the opportunity," Gus said when I asked him about the sideline attitude during the Colts' run in the second half. "We felt as a coaching staff, we're right there. We need to make those plays in critical times, and today you saw it. Just really critical plays made by our team."
There is a lot that goes into the trip to London but the Jaguars have won back to back games there despite the long plane flight and the logistics of getting the team, staff, cheerleaders, D-Line and it seems everybody else in teal and black across the Atlantic.
"We think every victory is important," Blake *Bortles said in front of a mixed US/UK post-game media gathering. "Obviously the situation and the circumstances of this one is big, it's good. We're excited about it. We'll celebrate it, and it feels good to go through a week of preparation, to come over here, to handle some different things with the flight and do some different stuff and come out and still win, handle adversity well."
It's starting to feel like a home game there with the familiarity of the trip, hotel, stadium and schedule. There's also a growing fan base in London, not just on Regent Street the day before the game but in the stadium, cheering for the Jaguars.
Being committed to London through 2020 is a positive thing for the business side of the franchise. Perhaps it's the same for the football team as well.