JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley gets it. Absolutely.
More than that, the Jaguars' head coach said everyone associated with the Jaguars – coaches, players, etc. – understands the need for significant improvement.
That was made clear when Bradley spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon, a day after Jaguars Owner Shad Khan told Bradley – and shortly thereafter announced to the public – that Bradley will return in 2016:
Yes, progress has been made – and yes, there have been positive signs.
But more is needed.
"It went very well," Bradley said of what he described as a brief, private conversation between him and Khan Tuesday. "He (Khan) has been great. There are some things both Shad and (General Manager) David (Caldwell) appreciate – the culture, the process, the progress that's taken place – but we all fully understand that we need better.
"All of us know. The coaches, the players—we expect to be better."
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, speaking after practice Wednesday, echoed the thoughts of many of his teammates in saying he was happy that Bradley will return.
"It's awesome," Bortles said. "I honestly didn't expect anything different. I know personally I can speak from a locker-room standpoint; everybody believes in Gus and his culture and philosophies and we're behind him.
"We're happy that that's kind of out there and it's been said by Shad, so we're happy and excited for that and what's to come in the future."
Bradley said the conversation with Khan on Tuesday was brief, with Khan saying the idea of the conversation was to eliminate distractions as the team prepared for the regular-season finale at Houston Sunday at 1 p.m.
"The big thing for Shad was to try to eliminate distractions so all of our focus could be on this opportunity we had in front of us," Bradley said, adding, "To be honest with you, in this building it's pretty sheltered. You really just come in and all of your attention is to the players and the coaches and, 'What do we need to do to improve this and get better?'
"Maybe I'm a little naïve how many distractions there were outside, but if there were, I think it's great. And I appreciate it."
Bradley said Khan did not ask for a specific offseason plan regarding how to improve on this season's 5-10 record. He also said Khan did not demand changes on the coaching staff.
"No conversations regarding that," Bradley said, adding that although he will be entering the final season of his contract he doesn't consider that "lame-duck status."
Check out images of Wednesday's practice as the Jaguars prepare to travel to Houston for a Week-17 showdown with the Texans.
"I don't think of it that way at all," he said. "I don't want to say, 'I never concern myself with my job.' I think it's out there, but I really try not to. All of my attention is for this organization and for our players and, 'How do we get this right and how do we keep improving … rapidly?'''
Bradley did not address his status with players Wednesday.
"All of our focus was on this week and today," Bradley said.
Bradley, hired by Caldwell shortly after Caldwell's hiring as general manager in January 2013, has coached the Jaguars to a 12-35 record in nearly three seasons. The team went 4-12 and 3-13 in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
The roster since 2013 has undergone a dramatic rebuild, with Caldwell emphasizing building through the draft and establishing a foundation that can grow with young players toward long-term success.
The Jaguars, after sustaining many one-sided losses in 2013 and 2014, have been more competitive this season, being within a touchdown or leading in the fourth quarter in 13 of 15 games. They won three of four games after a 1-5 start before losing four of five games to slip from the AFC South chase.
They were officially eliminated from playoff contention this past Sunday.
"As a head coach, you're evaluated by wins and losses – that's the reality of it," Bradley said. "But if you look too far ahead, it's hard to be successful. It's just a fact of life, so if you focus on it and handle it that way, you have a much better chance, so we try to stay in that world.
"On this journey, we knew it was going to be tough. We knew it was going to be tough on the organization, on the players, on our fans. And our fans and our community and Shad – they deserve better. We all understand that. It didn't come out the way we had hoped.
"Progress was made, but we need to be better. And we have to get it fixed."
Also on Wednesday:
*Bradley said his approach to playing players Sunday won't change based on his being ensured he will return. Speculation has been the Jaguars could rest players to avoid injury because the team has been eliminated from the postseason. "We talk about, 'Always compete,''' Bradley said. " 'Compete in the training room, get healthy and let's play.' This is a game guys love to play."
*The following players missed practice Wednesday: defensive end Chris Clemons (veteran day off), wide receiver Allen Hurns (thigh), defensive tackle Abry Jones (knee), defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee), right tackle Jermey Parnell (hamstring), linebacker Telvin Smith (shoulder) and running back T.J. Yeldon (knee). …
*Wide receiver Allen Robinson (shoulder), linebacker Hayes Pullard (hamstring), defensive end Tyson Alualu (ankle), defensive end Jared Odrick (quadriceps) and safety Johnathan Cyprien (thigh) worked limited Wednesday. Cornerback Demetrius McCray was limited because of personal reasons. Robinson was new to the injury report Wednesday, and Bradley said he expects Robinson to be fine. …