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Inside the Jaguars: Staying strong


JACKSONVILLE – A day later, Gus Bradley said his feelings were the same.

The Jaguars on Sunday won a regular-season game for the first time in Bradley's tenure as head coach. Afterward, he emphasized how the team won far more than the victory itself.

Nearly 24 hours later, Bradley reiterated those thoughts.

"What I was happy about was we really stuck to our convictions," Bradley said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' 29-27 victory over the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

"Sometimes, especially where we were at – 0-8 at the time – you come off a bye week and you can change some things. You can decide to throw everything out the door and say, 'Let's do it this way.' We didn't. We really stuck to it and the players believed in it."

Players also said the challenge now is maintaining consistency, something center Brad Meester doesn't think will be a problem.

"We have such a great group of guys in here," Meester said. "I don't think guys are going to say, 'Hey, we won. We did it.' I think guys will say, 'We're going to find a way to continue to build and get better and build on what we did.

"When we come back on Wednesday, we'll refocus and keep doing it."

Said wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, "We have to build on it and now it's time to get ready for Arizona. We're all excited about the first win, but we all know it's not about just getting one win. We want to pile them on and get something to build off of."

Bradley said the focus will continue to be on the message he has preached since joining the Jaguars in January – of players getting better each day, and letting winning and losing take care of itself. He said it's as important to emphasize that after victories as after losses.

"We're getting closer to where we want to where we want to be and the mindset we want," Bradley said. "We had a gentleman (a "leadership consultant") come in and visit with our staff and our team and he said, 'Gus, just seeing the strength of your team and how they operate day-to-day, it might be one of the toughest mindset teams in the league. When you see them 0-8 and they're practicing like they're practicing, that says something about their mindset.'

"I never looked at it that way. I think that's what we have to continue to build on."

Also Monday:

*Bradley called the victory "a total team effort – offense, defense and special teams," emphasizing the play of the special teams. Running back Jordan Todman had a 46-yard kickoff return, with punter Bryan Anger having three punts inside the 20. Linebacker LaRoy Reynolds downed a punt at the 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, setting up a safety on a holding penalty by Tennessee guard Chance Warmack two plays later.

*Bradley also said turnovers were key defensively, with the Jaguars forcing a season-high four turnovers, including a 21-yard fumble return by cornerback Will Blackmon in the fourth quarter. "Defensively, I think you start off with the ball," Bradley said. "It's all about the ball and our guys did a great job with that. … Anytime you can score on defense, that's what we talk to our team about – not only getting the ball, but you're defined as a defense by your ability to score as well." The Jaguars scored nine points defensively.

*Bradley said safeties Josh Evans and Johnathan Cyprien each played better Sunday than they had in previous weeks. He also said Winston Guy, who shared repetitions with Evans Sunday, played well. "I felt a different Winston Guy last week because he knew he was going to have an opportunity to play," Bradley said. "We benefited from it."

*Bradley also said a drive to start the second half was critical offensively. The Jaguars moved 79 yards in eight plays, converting a third-and-8 with a roughing-the-passer penalty on Titans safety Bernard Pollard and a third-and-13 with a 17-yard pass from quarterback Chad Henne to running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jaguars overcame two penalties on the drive. "There were some telling signs there," Bradley said. "We had everything go right and everything possibly go wrong. What I liked about it is not everything went well."

*Bradley said rookie running back Denard Robinson was not benched following a first-quarter fumble. Robinson returned and had a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter. Robinson entered the game as the No. 2 running back and Bradley said the team hasn't discussed the running back depth chart entering Sunday's game against Arizona.

*Kicker Josh Scobee converted two field goals and three extra points to remain perfect in each area for the season. "He's just solid," Bradley said of Scobee. "You can count on him. I hope we don't take him for granted, because that's something you can't (take for granted) in the NFL."

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