JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley has seen the possibilities.
The Jaguars' head coach on Tuesday afternoon said he believes players saw possibilities this season, too – and he said that could mean a significant step forward next season.
Bradley, who next season will enter his third season with the team, said while the Jaguars won three games in his second season compared to four games in his first they also made significant improvement in terms of week-to-week competitiveness.
The Jaguars' were more competitive in more games against quality competition this season than last, and Bradley said that should give players a sense of what is to come.
"You're seeing it close," Bradley said Tuesday at his annual season-ending press conference at EverBank Field. "We have chances at the very end of the game … they (players) are saying 'we taste a little bit, we understand this feeling, we understand if we just get these things right what we can be capable of.'
"I appreciate that with our team. … We have a different mindset. I think now we understand what we're capable of and I think we can take the next step because of that."
Bradley added, "That's the next step. We've got to find out how to get these games and take that next step. … We're not saying let's just go out here and have fun and go out there and play. It's not like that now. This is not a country-club atmosphere we have.
"I think the players feel the challenge to get better."
While much of his final media availability of 2014 focused on the dismissal of offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch earlier in the day, Bradley covered other topics including the state of the Jaguars' roster.
The roster underwent major turnover each of the past two seasons, and Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell earlier in the day said turnover likely would be significantly less next season.
"You'd like that continuity and being able to work with guys," Bradley said.
Also on Tuesday:
*As Caldwell did earlier in the day, Bradley acknowledged the fan support during two seasons in which the team has won seven games while building the roster. "Let me tell you something about this fan base: we haven't exactly tore it up record-wise and I just sense that … when I go out a lot of people say, 'We believe in what the Jags are doing, we believe in what you're doing,'" Bradley said. "That's pretty strong now. We haven't given you much to still say that and you're still saying that … This fan base is strong, now. That's incredible."…
*Bradley said offensive line coach George Yarno plans to return next season. Yarno was not with the team this season while undergoing treatment for cancer. "I've heard really good news through George in talking with him," Bradley said, adding that he may visit Yarno following the Senior Bowl in late January and that Yarno hopes to return to the Jaguars in February. "We fully expect and want George to be back here. What a story in itself, what he's gone through and competing to where he's at." …
*With the team announcing the dismissal of Fisch, Bradley emphasized that he planned no changes on the defensive staff – and that coordinator Bob Babich will return. …
*Of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, Bradley said: "What I can appreciate from Blake is his demeanor and how he handled things on the sideline or coming off the field. He had a certain intensity that built as the year went on." …