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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Jacksonville Jaguars: Where Does This Team Go From Here?

You could tell by the expression on Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley’s face he was not happy with the results on Sunday. Following a 17-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bradley was not short on words, and his sentences were succinct – losing is not a part of the team’s culture. After the fifth straight loss of this season and the eighth overall since the Jaguars celebrated a victory which was last season.

One, there definitely was improvement.

“As a team, I truly believe we’re getting better,” Bradley said Monday afternoon, a day after the Jaguars’ 17-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field.

Bradley said he saw improvement individually, from a defense that had its best game of the season and from rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.

He also said the team’s spirit and will to improve remains strong – and he said that’s important.

At the same time …

“I also pointed out, to make something clear, that it’s not OK to lose,” Bradley said. “That’s also part of our culture. It is not OK. We set up our culture, we strive to get better, and we strive to be our best all for the very reason so that we can reach the objective of winning.

“It’s that strict. I want to make sure it’s clear to them that it’s not OK. They know it, but I think it’s a message that needs to be stressed.”

After continual double-digit losses, the nine-point loss has to be a step in the right direction. Right now, Jacksonville is one of two teams right now (Oakland) that does not have a victory this season. Fighting for the first pick in the NFL Draft was not what team general manager Dave Caldwell and Bradley had in mind for this season. Instead, there were thoughts by NFL media that this team would compete for a playoff spot. Right now, that is a pipe dream at best.

The Jaguars, after losing their first four games by a combined 152-58, trailed 10-9 early in the fourth quarter Sunday before Steelers cornerback Brice McClain intercepted Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and scored untouched on a 23-yard return.

The Jaguars held the Steelers offense to 10 points a week after allowing three long pass plays to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in a 33-14 loss.

“I feel like we’re getting closer,” Bradley said. “Our team feels like we’re getting closer, but it feels like we’re not there yet.  That was really the message for the team. They’re in good spirits, although you can tell it stings them. They felt like we missed an opportunity and we did, but we’ll learn from it and grow and move forward.”

Bradley during his meeting with the media emphasized the play of several players Sunday, including cornerback Demetrius McCray, running back Storm Johnson, defensive end Chris Clemons, safety Johnathan Cyprien and safety Josh Evans.


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