HEAD COACH GUS BRADLEY
(on coming off a bye week)
I think it did come at a really good time especially after the London trip. (We had) a lot of little injuries, and I think the bye week really helped us. I know our injury report really scaled back from the previous week, so that part has been really good. Our outlook, we had a really good team meeting today, and our guys have been really, really good really throughout the whole season. I haven’t seen really the mentality or anything change. I think they really trust that if we keep going in the direction we’re going, the results will come.
(on points to work on moving forward this season)
Well, we have seen an improvement offensively. You take a look at the first four games and games five through eight, and we have made an improvement in those areas. I think some areas, the red zone, the third downs, those are areas we need to continue to improve upon. Really, when we went back and looked at ourselves self-scout, we’re seeing more yards being gained running and throwing the ball. Those areas, situational type football, are the areas we need to improve upon. On defense, I thought that some of it is through injuries. I think we’re getting some guys back, but we have not done a good job through the year of defending the run. I think we went back and analyzed why and some of the things we needed to do, and that was what Monday was all about—attacking those areas of weakness and showing them to our players. Hopefully this week we need to focus on those areas.
(on the team’s focus on defending the run)
(The Titans) are very impressive now. They’ve got a really good offensive line. Obviously, the backs,
He’s a different style of back. I think whenever you have that on a team, I think that’s a great strain on a defense. He’s more of a downhill north-south runner, physical, and I think our players really have to be aware of who is in the game. Whenever you have two running backs, like I said earlier, it puts a strain on you. We have to be aware of that.
(on familiarity with the Titans)
Well, this is our first year as a staff together, and we have quite a few new faces on our team. So, we haven’t talked about that, we haven’t dived into that. I think right now our biggest issue is ourselves. We need to get that right first, and I think that’s really what all our emphasis has been on.
(on losing Justin Blackmon and what Cecil Shorts has meant for the team)
Well, Cecil’s (Shorts) has been great for us, consistent, someone we really count on. I think for the first four games when we didn’t have Justin (Blackmon), Cecil stepped up his game and did some good things for us. I think with Justin in there with Cecil together, that’s the reason why we saw a lot of improvement. Now with Justin being out now, it falls back on Cecil. But, I think we’re really asking some of our other guys to step it up, the Mike Browns, the Stephen Burtons—who is going to get an opportunity this week. I think those guys have to fill the void. Justin Blackmon was great when he was here as far as in-house, on the field, in the locker room. We care deeply about him as a person, and our locker room feels the same way. I think right now part of us is excited about where Justin’s going and the next step that he’s taking just because we care so much about him.
(on the running game as a work in progress)
Well, I think a little bit is still a work in progress. I think we’re trying to find our identity as well, and it’s something that we’d hope to find before the ninth game of the season. We moved Denard Robinson up to our number two back. We feel like that’s similar to what you have, not to that scale, but Maurice (Jones-Drew) is more of a physical type back, and you can count on him for that. Denard may be a little bit more speed, a flashier type runner on the perimeter. I think we’re taking a look at Denard now and hope to get him a few more reps.
(on Sen’Derrick Marks)
He’s been good. He’s been a great asset for us — not only on the field but in the locker room, his personality, and what he brings on a day-to-day basis. I know for me, as my first time as a head coach, I really rely on him. He’s not led our defensive line but is a strong voice in our whole defensive room.
(on his relationship with Titans GM Ruston Webster)
He’s great. I really hold Ruston (Webster) in high regard (from) my times in Tampa then I got to know him even more in Seattle. Our families were close, our kids related well to each other, and we really hit it off. I can’t say enough good things about Ruston. He’s been a mentor for me, a guy that I leaned on. He’s an unbelievable person, not only in my perspective, but across the league he’s held in really high regards.
(on whether the Titans can challenge for the division title)
Well, I do. Like I said, week to week really, just watching the tape and watching how their offensive line is coming together, their commitment to the run game, now getting Jake (Locker) back. The receivers are doing a really good job and their defense (is) fourth on third downs and you see improvement there. Each team kind of hits their spot at different types of the season, and they’ve had some tough games. They’ve played some tough opponents, and I think that now they’re getting more in the division games. They have a chance, and they sure look like they’re hitting it at the right time.
(on the team’s London experience)
You know what, it was a really good experience for our guys. We traveled quite a bit; we went out to Oakland and stayed there eight days, and then we went up to Seattle. That was kind of a preliminary run for our London trip, so our guys had an idea what it was going to be like. The atmosphere was outstanding. The reception that we had from the people in London was tremendous. Our guys really enjoyed it. (There were) 85,000 people, and it really appeared like a playoff atmosphere. I think our guys were really excited about it, and they really cherished the opportunity and really appreciated it.
(on the Jaguars’ tough schedule through the first eight games)
Well, it was. It was a tremendous challenge especially (because) we have a lot of youth. I know at times we had three rookie DBs playing in the game at once. For them to go experience that schedule and the travel and the things we’ve gone through, I think it really challenged them. In many ways, that challenge has been good. We’ve been strong as a team. I think we’re even stronger mentally. We kind of look at and celebrate the victories in our culture and we find many. Obviously, it’s not what we want to be, and the wins and losses aren’t there yet, but we feel like it’s heading in the right direction to ultimately where we trust enough that those things come. It has been a challenging first part of the season, but I think our challenges helped us become better.