JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In his previous three years as the head coach of the Jaguars, Gus Bradley’s teams are 1-2 in the game immediately after the bye. But a truer picture shows his teams playing better after the bye week. The Jaguars won two of three last year after the trip to London and beat the Giants here in 2013 two weeks after going overseas. This is the earliest the Jaguars have had their bye under Bradley, so he’s hoping the trend of better play after a break continues.
“I hope it starts with a good physical practice,” Bradley said this week when asked why his team plays well later in the year. “I really felt it on Monday. This team came back really fresh. We had some injuries and it gave us a chance to come back healthy. There was a certain spirit you saw at practice.”
Because the players haven’t had any contact since the Colts game, Bradley gave them a chance to get back at it in practice on Wednesday.
“Physical, really challenged the guys up front on both sides of the ball. You come off a bye week and you get a chance to take advantage of that. Highly, highly competitive. Pleased with that part of it. We got a chance to look at a lot of things with the extra day we had on Monday as well.”
Still searching for the winning formula prepping his 2016 team, Bradley says he’s aware of his team’s attitude during the week. After the close loss to Green Bay, he’s mentioned several times that lingered into the next game at San Diego and possibly longer.
“I hate to go back and talk about the past, but I think what took place that was—opening game, that was tough on us. That was really tough so I think to bounce back quickly and go through a mindset. And sometimes as coaches you over-analyze things and I think just that whole week and how we did things and how we approached it, I felt like it was good.”
But with the result on the west coast, as well as the first quarter of the season, Bradley knows he had to change some things during the mid-week practices.
“Yeah. I think that over the bye week as we analyzed our team and figured out more about our team we applied this week. More over the course of four games,” he explained.
With injuries still looming and the addition of Aaron Colvin to the defensive backfield, the team is going to Chicago not exactly sure who can play and who can’t. It’ll be a game day decision for several players and Bradley gave us some insight as to how he’ll select the active 46 players from the 53 on the roster.
“This is a tough week for us. Going through it I know we spent a lot of time on this and just looking at our philosophy going into the game, as far as number of D-linemen, linebacker and [defensive backs]. It is a challenging week for that because we have some guys who are playing really well that may have to be out.”