Vic: What are the special ingredients that create chemistry among teammates?
Coach: It's a positive attitude. It's an enthusiasm about coming to work. It's an appreciation for each other and for the opportunity to use the God-given gift the individual has. And it's the idea the glass is either half empty or half full, and when people appreciate what they have, it's half full. There's a natural mix in good team settings between the young and the old, and a respect by the younger player for the older player, and an appreciation of the talent of the young by the old.
Vic: Are you a big believer in the importance of team chemistry?
Coach: Without a doubt. You have to have the proper environment, the proper vibrations, the proper chemistry in the locker room for things to remain in the right perspective and always positive and upbeat.
Vic: What do coaches do to help promote that "we're in this together" feeling?
Coach: Coaches do it by promoting attitude obviously, creating an atmosphere in which the player feels appreciated and that everything is being done to help him perform to the best of his ability. His day, his practice routine, even his training camp routine is prepared in the best interest of utilizing the player's time and talent to the best of his ability.
Vic: Do you believe the arrival of so many young players and new players on your team helped surface Mark Brunell's leadership qualities?
Coach: The exit of other veteran players by virtue of our offseason, and the arrival of new players, whether they be veteran or younger players, has created an opportunity for leadership on the part of those players who remain here and are committed to winning.
Vic: Has the league taken a tough enough stance in the punishment of players for their transgressions?
Coach: There are those who would say the league has not been tough enough, however, I will say that by virtue of our record and the position the NFL has taken within professional athletics, our position has been a very strong one compared to others.
Vic: Do you feel a sense of responsibility for your players' behaviors, on and off the field?
Coach: Without a doubt. I think it's part of the total package that the player understands the responsibility he has as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, to represent this team to the highest standards on and off the field. We preach that, we talk about that and we try to live it.
Vic: What are the reasons for what appears to be significant improvement on your offensive line?
Coach: Good football players who have the ability to perform in this league; a group taking pride in its performance, not only in the run game but also in protecting the passer; hopefully, holding themselves week in and week out to a higher standard of performance. There is a feeling of pride in the unit and confidence, not only in the running backs, but in the quarterback, too.
Vic: I asked you this question this past summer but I'm going to ask it again. How does a team lose seven starters on defense and not suffer a major drop-off in performance?
Coach: We have had good, young players in developmental roles who've had to step into their positions and have performed at a high level. We've had injured players who've returned and have performed at a high level. The thing I'm seeing is enthusiasm and the pride to take full advantage of ability and perform at a winning level. I've seen that and I think that has a lot to do with it, too.
Vic: In what areas are you seeking better performance?
Coach: We need to improve in all areas. Improvement is never-ending. I believe in the old adage that you're either getting better or getting worse; you don't ever stay the same. When you look at our game, there is multiple room for improvement. Our special teams can improve. Defensively, pressure, the ability to force people to throw the football on our timescale, can improve. Recognition in coverage can improve. I'd like to see the continued improvement of the people up front, so we can stop the run without bringing the secondary into play. Offensively, the challenge is there to control the ball; to run the ball into the really difficult defensive schemes that are set up to stop the run. It's always about improvement because the complexities of our game always have to deal with the number of people on the field.
Vic: All of a sudden there appears to be a rush of enthusiasm for this team. What are the roots of that new energy?
**Coach: I think it's outstanding players who are performing on the field on Sunday afternoon, and giving a rise of pride in the community.