The message from the Jacksonville Jaguars coaches and players have been a bit unusual coming out of organized team activities (OTAs). Head coach Doug Marrone seemed unimpressed with the first week and linebacker Telvin Smith seemed upset with how things have gone. Smith didn’t dive into specifics, but perhaps there is still some of that old culture that exists and the team needs to weed it out.
“He brings that, he’s been here for a while. He’s been in games, he’s been to the playoffs. He brings that mindset,” Smith said when asked if veteran free agent signing Calais Campbell brings leadership to the team. “At the same time, I always like to say, bringing guys in and doing that, it’s still a culture here that has to be broken before one can be created.”
Emphasis mine, but I thought it was an interesting shift of topics. Everyone always wants to talk about bringing in veteran leadership, etc., but the reality is it comes from the top and the culture of the Jaguars is something we talked about quite a bit with former head coach Gus Bradley. There was this idea that losing was okay, and it seeped in to some of the players where winning wasn’t made a priority.
Hell, in Gus Bradley’s opening press conference he mentioned winning wasn’t what was more important. I know what Bradley meant, in that if you just focus on getting better the wins come, but that clearly didn’t work. When Marrone took over as the interim head coach last season it came out that a new emphasis was put on winning and VP of football operations Tom Coughlin scoffed at the question in his introductory press conference.
“As a team, we are wanting to play well and that’s something that every team is doing. That’s nothing. That’s what we’re doing well,” Smith continued when asked what the team is doing well. “It’s guys accepting the system and wanting to be a part of it and wanting to grow in it. Again, every team is doing that, at least the great ones are, so that’s not enough.”
It’s possible that some players are stuck in that old mentality still, where there’s not really a sense of urgency. Smith seems to have recognized that and points out that it needs to be broken and rebuilt. Now’s the time to do that, so it’s nice to have a player point out and call out the things some fans have been screaming about for a while.