JAGUARS HEAD COACH GUS BRADLEY
(on the team now versus a month ago)
We came off a bye week the first time (we played the Titans), and we’ve really concentrated on some areas defensively and offensively. Defensively, stopping the run or at least managing the run I should say, third downs, and some different situations that we weren’t very good at prior to that bye week. Offensively, same thing: third downs, red zone, running the ball. Those are all areas of concerns coming after the bye week. During that time, we really made a conscious effort to get better at all those areas. I think we’ve seen improvement in all those areas since the bye week. It started with the Tennessee game, and each week after that we improved and got a little bit better. We struggled last game against Buffalo.
(on beating the Titans earlier this season)
I think what it did was…we have a culture that we’re building here. I think we’re very strict on that culture. We’re very consistent on our message, and it stayed that way throughout whether we were 0-1, 0-4, 0-6. We were consistent throughout. I think that win against Tennessee just helped us along in the process, helped us validate what we were doing. The players were great throughout, but I think it gave us a little validation as far as how everything was falling into place just like we anticipated.
(on Jordan Todman’s performance last week)
Well, he has done pretty good for us. Obviously, Mo Jo (Maurice Jones-Drew) is our back. To keep him strong throughout the game, we wanted to get (Jordan) Todman some reps. That was really our mindset going into it even if Todman could get six or seven reps. We didn’t know how he would be if he got more than that. We felt like it kept Mo Jo strong, and he had better performances when we did that. With Mo Jo’s injury, it really was an opportunity for us to see Todman as a back that can carry it 20, 25 times a game..how would he do, and how would he handle it? He did a really good job. If you looked at his performance, you say, ‘Boy, he really did a good job.’ I felt like in the first half he was solid, but in the second half he picked it up even more. He just gained confidence, made some big plays for us, big runs, and really captured his opportunity.
(on comparing Jordan Todman and Maurice Jones-Drew)
I would say that they have different styles. Jordan Todman has good speed, so he looks to attack the perimeter a little more where Mo Jo (Maurice Jones-Drew) is more downhill. Mo Jo we run all our styles of runs. We do that with Todman, too, but I think on film you would see Todman has a tendency to bounce things a little bit more outside.
(on who will be the team’s starting running back this week)
We just got to continue to evaluate him (Maurice Jones-Drew) off his hamstring. That’s what we’ll do this week. We’ll be patient with him, we’ll be smart. He’s getting extensive treatment, and it might not be determined until the end of the week.
(on Ace Sanders’ recent play)
He has played multiple positions, the first eight weeks especially, because of some injuries. At that time, we had (Justin) Blackmon for some games, and I think we moved Ace (Sanders) around quite a bit. I think now lately we’ve really locked him in one position and then the flexibility of doing some other things with him. I think that has really helped his growth, helped his maturity. He’s gaining confidence with every game he plays, and he has made some big plays for us.
(on Cecil Shorts’ absence the remainder of the season)
Well, anytime you have a receiver that has over 60, 70 catches at this point in time, that does (hurt). That does affect you at times with our team, but we look at it as it has been a great opportunity for some of our younger guys, too. Like a Kerry Taylor, we saw growth from him in our game against Buffalo. He had a dropped pass early but came back and made some big plays. I think that’s what we’re seeing with our team. You know, guys are stepping up. When one guy goes down, another guy gets his opportunity. I think that’s what we’re really focusing in on as a team is to help these guys capture and perform at their highest level. For us as a coaching staff, it’s kind of cool to see it happen right in front of our eyes.
(on issues against Buffalo)
I thought that we had a good first quarter against Buffalo, but we struggled in the second quarter on defense. They got some explosive plays. When you look at the tape, we didn’t tackle well, a lot of yards after contact. We had some misfits, missed assignments, and in that second quarter we just didn’t perform up to our capabilities. I think in the third and fourth quarter we settled down. We came back with what we’ve been doing the previous couple weeks. We’ll just learn from it and understand it. We had a couple different safeties out there playing different positions, and I think after we got it solved after that second quarter we played much better.
(on injuries this season)
I think every team at this point in time has injuries they’re dealing with. We’ve done a good job really the whole year. Our depth was a bit of concern with us just because of the unknown. We’ve had guys step up, but really going into the season we didn’t know how our depth was. I think that our training staff and strength coaches have done a nice job getting us to this point, and now we do have some injuries taking place. But, just like last game, Jacques McClendon played at guard and did a nice job for us. I think that maybe our depth, we’ll get a chance to see exactly where we’re at and if our concern was legit at the start of the season.
(on the importance of beating the Titans for the second time this season)
Really, what we’re looking at is can we capture these last two opportunities and really improve. That was after the bye week (we played the Titans), and we said we’ve got eight opportunities here or whatever it was. There should be a lot of stories taking place in our upcoming games. We feel like with this game, too, there’s going to be stories that take place. I think the challenge for our guys is to continue the mindset that we’ve had all year of just striving to improve each game. Sunday is another test to see how much we’ve improved. I think that’s what we’re talking to our guys, that’s the way we approach it. We don’t get too much into the opponent. We watch and we study and we do things like that, but as a head coach, our emphasis in front of them is really to concentrate fully on getting better these last two games. We’ll see how our guys respond to it.
You know what, he does a nice job. I know my time in Seattle when he was at Buffalo, we saw him as a guy that could make a lot of plays. He’s their second leading rusher on the team. I know they’ve had some injuries and stuff, but he’s probably more athletic than people give him credit to. He has got good poise, he makes great throws, he’s on the money. At times it seems something unfortunate happens, an interception or a fumble or things like that. I know that the game changes, really the momentum changed, when he came in the game against us. He has that ability. I know we’ve studied him a lot and are really aware of his strengths and weaknesses, but we hold him in high regard.
(on what stands out with the Titans)
You know what, I thought it was impressive…we just had our meeting and watched some tape, and that Arizona game was a hard fought game. Tennessee was down a couple scores and just how hard they played. You can just tell they’re playing well together. Unfortunate things happen, but I know that jumped out on film, the level of intensity and how they played hard throughout the game. Whenever it’s a division game, we know what we’re going to get from them.