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Big Cat Country Q&A: Was Gus Bradley the right coach for this Jaguars team?

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Let’s answer some questions — this time with former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Ryan Davis taking over the column for the week.

Today we’re talking Gus Bradley, trash talking on the field, and how you make the decision to opt out or not during the COVID-19 pandemic!

Oh yeah... and follow Ryan Davis on Twitter here!

Sam from Beaver Creek, OH

Q: What victory during your Jaguars career are you most proud of?

A: The win against the New York Giants in 2014. I think that was the biggest comeback in franchise history at the time. We scored two defensive touchdowns and Blake Bortles led a good drive for us to win the game. The defense really sparked that win. That was a good, hard fought game and probably the most tired I’ve ever felt after a game quite honestly.

Keith from Jacksonville, FL

Q: What Jaguars game do you still look back and think, “If we had prepared better, or there was better coaching, or a better game plan... we would have won”?

A: That Philadelphia Eagles game in 2014. We had their number in the first half and we shocked the whole city of Philly the way we came out dominating. But for some reason we didn’t make the necessary adjustments after the half to keep applying pressure on those guys’ necks. I often think about that game and the Indianapolis Colts game that same year but in Week 12. Chris Clemons was unreal in that game, he had like three sacks and I think we forced a few fumbles as a unit. But as the game went along, miscues started happening and Andrew Luck took advantage of those.

Jeff from Savannah, GA

Q: Do you think Todd Wash is the right man for this defense? There have been a lot of criticisms of him not playing man enough or not being aggressive enough with the blitzes or not being creative enough with some top-tier talent.

A: I think Wash is the guy for the defense. I’m honestly still struggling to find out what’s wrong — the scheme or the guys. Its the same scheme we’ve seen the Seattle Seahawks and the Legion Of Boom dominate with, and you can see Gus Bradley having success out with the Los Angeles Chargers. I think they ended up with the sixth-ranked defense last year. That kind of success can be done here again, but it’ll be tough if he doesn’t create more pressures for the defense. And the corners can’t get beat over the top. Maybe Wash doesn’t have as much confidence in who’s in coverage. Guys like Jalen Ramsey don’t come around often and when you have a corner like him it makes it so much fun to dial up pressures knowing you have a guy that’s not gonna get beat on the outside. But he’s gone so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Ben from Jacksonville, FL

Q: What is the defense really saying to itself when you’ve got guys like Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, and Blake Bortles at quarterback? Is it business as usual or is there a lot of whispering in the locker room and in the group chats?

A: Honestly, it became business as usual. Once we were down or behind in a game we knew it was most likely gonna end in a loss for us. Not to diss those guys because I have no bad blood with any of them but that’s just the reality of our mindset, and I can’t fault those guys for us feeling that way but if we were that good on defense then maybe we could’ve helped our offense out a ton. Ultimately we needed a change in culture and mindset. Y’all seen what happened in 2017. A few plays away from the Super Bowl and Blake was the trigger man so a lot can be said but we didn’t help out our quarterbacks and its unfortunate that they get most of the blame for a TEAM being bad.

Daniel from Thomasville, GA

Q: Who was the toughest Jaguars offensive lineman to go up against in practice?

A: For me it would have to be Jermey Parnell. He’s a big strong guy with hands like catcher’s mitts and he’s agile. It was always nice to get some reps against him. But as far as the toughest lineman overall, I’d say Brandon Linder. He was locking shit up in the trenches especially in one-on-one. That’s why when he got that huge contract. I wasn’t surprised, we all knew what he was capable of. If he’d been in a bigger market or experienced some more winning seasons, the league would’ve recognize him more in regards to Pro Bowls and All-Pro voting and accolades.

Kyle from East Meadow, NY

Q: What was the general opinion of the locker room on Gus’s coaching strategy and philosophy? Did guys trust in what he was doing despite all the losing?

A: In the beginning we trusted what Gus was preaching but you kinda get sick of hearing “get better” after your sixth loss in a row and the season is nearing its end. Hated not winning for Gus because that culture was definitely player-friendly and a heck of a lot less stressful than the other places I’ve been. But overall he may have been to much of a players’ coach. I think when he becomes a head coach again he’s gonna have that balance of being a players coach and a “Tom Coughlin” if you will.

Jacob from Sparks, GA

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever heard yelled out during a Gus Bradley practice?

A: Man, nothing really comes to mind. I just know if anything crazy was said it was a 100 percent Sen’Derrick Marks and Andre Branch saying it. Oh, and don’t forget to add in Chris Clemons. Now that I think about it, add the whole defensive line in the that conversation. We had a sick unit, ask anybody during that era, you were sure to hear some crazy stuff from one of us. Good times.

Tim from Jacksonville, FL

Q: Any locker room beef between players the public never knew about?

A: Nah, no real beef during that time. I think the real beef came after I departed, I won’t speak on it because I wasn’t present. But no real beefs during my time.

Sean from Jacksonville, FL

Q: What’s the funniest trash talk you ever heard or said during a game?

A: I wasn’t much of a trash talker but I think one of the guys, maybe Andre Branch or Chris Clemons, might’ve been grilling that left tackle from the Tennessee Titans back in 2014. You know, the Blindside guy. I forget what was said exactly but it was definitely some references to the movie. Michael Oher was agitated for sure.

Eric from St. Augustine, FL

Q: Let’s say this COVID thing happened while you were playing. It’s 2014. You got Chad Henne as your starting quarterback going into the season. Would you opt out?

A: I would’ve absolutely played. I had no kids, I’m living by myself, and I’m trying to earn a big payday. A guy like me couldn't afford to opt out especially not having a family at the time and I was always on the bubble. My whole career so that would've been an easy choice for me.