March 19, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley answers questions from reporters during the annual NFL meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars Players Competing Within Themselves


March 18, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley arrives for the annual NFL meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The central theme of head coach Gus Bradley’s coaching is competition.  He has preached competition since he arrived in Jacksonville and he has expected nothing less than the best from each player during each drill during the three-day minicamp that concluded on Thursday.  The NFL rules to protect players, limiting contact and competitive situations would appear to be at odds with Bradley’s approach.  Therefore, Bradley has told Jacksonville Jaguars players to compete within themselves.

“I told them to compete in individual drills, to compete against themselves,” Bradley said. “I told them to always just get better, whether it’s techniques, fundamentals. I told them work on those things. Yeah, the rules limit us, but we didn’t talk much about that. We really just talked about the things that we wanted to get accomplished,” said Bradley at the end of the minicamp.  He’s expecting the players to keep getting better – another major part of Bradley’s philosophy as a coach.  Whether it’s moving a little faster, proving you know your assignments a little better, or playing a little crisper, those players that improve will likely get noticed in the “competition” against other players as they compete for the top spots on a thin depth chart.

The players shouldn’t be focused on the results, though.  They should be focused on the process.  Bradley thinks the players have responded well to the approach and knows that focusing on getting better through the process will result in tougher competition down the road.  For now, the internal competition is what matters most, “What I was looking to see was, ‘Did they compete within themselves? Did they try to get better within themselves?’ That’s the mindset I wanted to see.”

While golf and tennis are sports I traditionally associate with playing within oneself, Bradley’s Jaguars are learning to compete internally first before they can compete against another team.  It’s about preparing yourself better than the opposition before you even know when you will be facing them.  That process will inevitably help the Jaguars during the season.

- Luke N. Sims

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