While it is not all sunshine and rainbows within the Jaguars locker room thus far this season, there have been moments of happiness. Last season, the team was a mess, there were no happy thoughts after the regression from a formidable, division-champs team in 2017, to a 5-11 in 2018 mess which included a seven-game losing streak.
Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye has reflected on both teams recently, and notices a difference between all three, and perhaps for the better moving forward.
“It’s a lot of things — but then you also have to look at it this way, coming in we expected a personnel that we didn’t get,” Bouye said on Tuesday when asked if he ever thinks about the 2017 team and how different the current defense is today. “We had one that requested a trade, we had one that no-showed at linebacker, and you have [defensive tackle] Marcell [Dareus] who got hurt so we’re just trying to make it work with what we got. It’s tough sometimes, and sometimes we can’t adapt to it and we try to just stay within the schemes.”
Before the season, former Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith abruptly retired after no-showing during OTAs and other offseason training programs. The first of many dominoes which would fall to end the defensive dominance the team showed during the 2017 season, and at times during the 2018 season.
Former Jaguars cornerback, now Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey requested a trade from the team following the team’s week two matchup against the Houston Texans. The trade was ultimately honored following the Jaguars’ week five matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Now with Dareus out, the team is a shell of its former self. Including Bouye, there are only four members of the starting-11 defense the 2017 Jaguars deployed. Bouye, linebacker Myles Jack, and defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell.
There is a contrast from the 2018 Jaguars and the 2019 Jaguars as well. This season, the team has struggled, however there has not been much animosity between players as there may have been in the past, Bouye suggested.
“I think last year it was more of, we [weren’t] looking in the mirror. We [weren’t] being real with ourselves. We were trying to point fingers and listen to the outside noise.”
This year has been different. While the team has struggled, Bouye says “there is no quit in this team.” The Jaguars understand that tomorrow is not promised, and the team tries to keep that mindset going into games on Sunday to play as if it is their last game. And while the team knows things are being said about them, Bouye says the team does not pay attention to any of that anymore.
“We’re not gonna pay attention to that. We just got to stick together because at the end of the day we still have to go out there and play on Sunday and play for the fans and play for our coaches.”