While Chris Conley has high expectations for himself, winning is all that matters for the fifth-year veteran.
Statistically, Conley has had his best season as far as yardage with 737 yards, and has tied his career high for receptions and touchdowns with 44 and five, respectively. His 16.8 yards-per-reception ranks sixth in the NFL.
Chris Conley scored this long one in a Jags loss to Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/lgxck5nDC5— UGA Football Live (@UGAfootballLive) December 22, 2019
Conley has also accumulated 812 snaps on offense this season — the most out of any wide receiver, and the sixth-most offensive snaps on the team. Last week, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said it’s a credit to his work on the field.
“One of a number of guys who’s bought in this year and given it everything they have,” DeFilippo said.
While numbers are great to garner a new contract or provide longevity in the NFL, Conley does not view this season as his most successful. Winning is all that matters for the fifth-year veteran, and that’s how he judges success at the end of the day.
“Everybody says ‘its easy to say that, you want to take the moral high ground’ and all that,but really at the core of it, I play this game to win. And to find success in that,” Conley told Big Cat Country shortly after practice last week when asked if this was his most successful season.
The Jaguars have not had much success on the field at 5-10, and have also undergone a slew of distractions off the field from cornerback Jalen Ramsey demanding a trade to the team’s EVP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin being relived of his duties. The success a team has impacts how a player may view a season.
“It’s been a rough year for us all. I’m hoping we can approve on it as a team because then I’ll feel better about success if we all have success.”
One reason for optimism this season has been within the growth of the receiver group. Although Conley has only been here for a season, he’s seen the rise of players such as DJ Chark Jr. who have begun to figure out just how to be a pro.
“Moving to a point of taking ownership in everything that you do,” Conley said about the team’s young receiver group. “The good and the bad, being able to sit there and listen when someone tells you something’s wrong and not just belligerently get up and walk out — there’s still moments of that, but definitely progressing and moving forward. And guys beginning to act and approach the game as pros.”
Chark Jr. feels Conley has helped the receiver group ‘a lot’, having different styles of receivers has allowed everyone to have success in various ways.
“I don’t think he gets enough credit,” Chark Jr. told Big Cat Country last week. “He makes a lot of tough catches. On those third downs, going between two guys. Catching tough slants, things like that. He does that pretty much every game. I think it’s big having him out there.”
The second-year player feels this receiving corp has improved greatly from last year to this year, holding each other at higher standards, never completely reaching their standards, but surpassing others.
While Conley has taught the receivers a lot this season, Chark Jr. doesn’t want to necessarily play his game of breaking tackles and running defenders over.
“Hell nah,” Chark Jr. said when asked if the receivers ever get inspired to play as big as Conley. “[expletive] Chris [is] big so if he do get tackled by the first guy something wrong.”
Considering himself as more of an elusive threat after the catch, the former LSU product thinks it depends on the situation if he can break a tackle or run someone over. “I don’t know if that’s me. And Dede [Westbrook] for sure not doing that,” Chark Jr. joked. “You know he (Westbrook) [is] tough but [he’s] not catching the ball, running over people. So we let Chris handle that.”
Conley doesn’t consider himself an ‘in your face’ kind of guy in the receiver room. Although he has a lot he can teach the young group, he would never force it, “only as much as they let me”, Conley says. Playing with receivers such as Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, and Sammy Watkins, Conley could have a lot to share.
“But once I feel like a relationship has grown to a point where someone trusts me and they’ll listen to what I have to say, I’ll share what I’ve learned.”
Conley has learned how to be a pro and how to approach the game with the correct fashion over the years.
“So whenever I get an opportunity and it presents itself correctly, then I’ll share with them the wisdom that I have, but other than that you kinda got to just live life.”