JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are having different results on game days, but everything has stayed the same during the week.
Same level of preparation, same mindset, same chemistry. Nothing has changed from that standpoint the entire season. It is the same now as it was when the Jaguars were 0-2, 0-4, 0-8, and coach Gus Bradley wants it to remain that way for the final three weeks.
"We had some adversity, and now we’re having a little prosperity," said Bradley, whose team has won four of its last five games. "My hope is we treat both the same. I’ve said it to our team, 'Treat both impostors the same.' That’s going to be the challenge. But I’m sure we’ll make some mistakes. We made some mistakes on how we handled adversity, and we’ll make some mistakes on some of these things that will be coming our way. But it will be good teachings for us."
It would have been logical for the Jaguars to change their practice habits, what they practice, their schemes, how they conduct meetings, how the players and coaches interact with each other, and how the players behave in the locker room. The way they were doing things wasn’t working in the first two months of the season, when the Jaguars lost all eight games by double digits.
It's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If something isn’t working, you change it.
Not the Jaguars. Bradley stressed the importance of trusting the process, telling players to believe in the schemes and what the coaching staff was doing. Keep doing that and eventually the victories will come. Now that they have, it’s a validation of the approach and, Bradley hopes, a clear message that the players shouldn’t change now.
"We’ve had some success in some games, and what I’m monitoring is, do we have the same mindset?" Bradley said. "We should. Our whole objective is to … just go about what we do and remember what got us to this point and stay true to it."
The players have completely bought in. Receiver Cecil Shorts says the players have approached everything the same way in the five games since the bye as they did in the first eight. The results obviously have them feeling better about themselves, though.
"We don’t want to be boastful," Shorts said. “We don’t want to be, ‘Hey, you guys are dogging us and then we win three games straight.’ No, we want to stay humble, eat crumbs [and] understand that success always under construction. Understand we’ve got work to do, but if we’re going to talk about something, talk about how we need to improve, how we need to get better."
To drive home his point about treating prosperity and adversity the same, Bradley used a scenario about walking down the street and seeing two men sitting on a bench. One is well-dressed. The other isn’t. Do you say hello to both of them or only to the one who is well-dressed, he asked the players.
You should, he said after listening to their answers, treat them both the same because they deserve to be treated that way.
Guard Uche Nwaneri said the players got the message, and he hasn’t seen any change in their approach.
"It doesn’t matter whether you’re successful or whether you’re not successful," Nwaneri said. "You have to go about doing things the same way. You can’t change it because you’re on one side of the spectrum or the other.
"I haven’t seen anybody acting any differently because we’re so used doing what we’ve been doing because even when we weren’t winning we still were doing the same thing. You’re kind of stuck in your routine at that point and you’re just focused on the small details that are going help you take it to the next level."