“I have no idea. All you have to do is notify the (league) office that you’re making a deal, and that’s an easy thing (to do). We spoke to the person in (the league office) that does things there.”
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That’s all you have to do? Notify the league office?
“Again, my job is the Jacksonville Jaguars. I just know that, at the point that I last checked…”
Jeff Driskel was your No. 2?
“I didn’t say any of that. I just said when I last checked … It’s not a good situation. AJ (Bengals QB AJ McCarron) is a very valuable member of this team. I told him that yesterday after (the trade deadline). Frankly, I was relieved that I don’t have to go through those gymnastics of the next steps. He’s a great kid. True team player. He’s a leader – a leader on this football team. And that’s why we feel like he’s such a valuable asset, and (Bengals president Mike Brown) was very clear about that. (That’s) how we felt about him. That’s the key.
”So, are we good there? Jacksonville?”
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On the Jacksonville Jaguars…
“This football team is really put together well. (Jaguars QB) Blake Bortles is really coming (into his own), with having three or four seasons – whatever it is – under his belt now. He has a cast of people around him that are very, very skilled. He’s doing a good job of taking care of the football. Fournette (Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette) and Ivory (Jaguars RB Chris Ivory) have given them two very formidable runners. The offensive line has big, physical men. The tight end, Marcedes Lewis, is probably playing his best football that I’ve seen in a long time. And then they’re very athletic at wide receiver. It’s very well-put together on offense. Their goal is to run the football, and that’s what they do. And, they’re doing it very well. Then you look at them defensively, and obviously they’ve restocked, retooled the defensive front over the last couple seasons. They’ve added players that are being very productive right now. Their linebackers are very smart and athletic, and they’ve added some guys in the secondary. It’s well-put together, and we’ve got our work cut out (for us). That’s what it should be at this point in the season – ‘Go make hay.’”
What has the impact been of former coach Tom Coughlin since re-joining the Jaguars as executive vice president of football operations?
“I’m speculating, and that’s the thing – you know I don’t like to speculate. But, I think it’s a sense of direction that everybody can feel good about. He’s a proven winner, he makes good, rational decisions all the time, and he’s been a stabilizing force. (Jaguars general manager) David Caldwell has worked his tail off down there to help put this football team together, along with (Coughlin). I’m sure there’s just a confidence factor that everyone has from up top that they’re doing the right things. And that’s good. It’s good for the staff, it’s good for everyone in the building. The players have to go play anyway. It gives everyone a sense of direction and confidence.”
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You prepared for the Jacksonville teams of the late 1990’s when you were with Baltimore. Are there many similarities between those teams and this one?
“There’s been a lot of football games since the 1990s. Obviously, (former Jaguars RB) Fred Taylor was an excellent back, when they had him down there at that point. They had the two great receivers in Smith (former Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith) and (former Jaguars WR) Keenan McCardell. This is different. I don’t know if they were ever stocked this well on defense during that period of time. This is similar in that it will remind you of the Super Bowl team of the (New York) Giants with Strahan (former Giants DE Michael Strahan) and (former Giants DE Justin Tuck) and those guys they had – (former Giants DE Osi Umenyiora). They were well put together that way. (The Jaguars) are doing well. We’ve seen them, frankly, with every opponent we’ve prepared for this year, other than Baltimore — and that game was over in London, so I saw that game. We’ve seen them week in and week out. We’ve followed them playing an opponent, other than the (Los Angeles) Rams.”
What are they doing up front to reach their sack totals? Is it simple?
“They’re doing a little bit of everything. They’re doing a great job when they straight rush you, they’re doing a great job (limiting) gains. They’re pressuring at times – (Jaguars LB) Myles Jack has two sacks. They’re doing a lot of good things, and they’re all fitting together well. They’re doing a great job in coverage, which is providing them some of those opportunities (to rush the QB). They have 10 interceptions. So they’re doing positive things throughout the defense.”
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A guy that gets overlooked on their defense with all of their big names is LB Telvin Smith. He’s a great player, isn’t he?
“Telvin Smith is a great player. (Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny) is also a hell of a player – has been for a long time. That’s the thing – (Posluszny) is so smart with directing things in their base defense. Again, I’m very complimentary of what they’re doing.”
How important is it for the run defense to be present with a few games coming up against run-heavy offenses?
“It’s going to be important that we do great things. We have to do a great job tackling, we have to do a great job with our assignments throughout – no question. ”
Is there a different mentality that you have to take on the defensive line against those running teams?
“Yes, I would say that there’s a different mentality. But, as the game plays out, we have to be able to adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. The key element is to play well on first and second downs and to get in situations where their down is more in our advantage, which is the same thing on the other side of the football.”
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How do you think your run defense has been so far?
“We’ve had some ups and downs with things. The quarterback runs have been more (detrimental) than anything. If you take out the QB runs in the stats, it’s a whole different ball of wax. But it’s important, because those still count. You don’t get to (take those out) (laughs). That’s part of it.”
The Jaguars are averaging 5.0 yards per carry, which is best in the league. But, on defense, they’re giving up 5.2 yards per carry, which is the worst in the league. Does that surprise you that they’re giving up the run so much?
“They’ve had the ability to have the lead and hand the ball off. And teams against them, when they get the lead, are going to hand the ball off. You get opportunity, you create creases that way. With going out and trading for Marcell Dareus, they tried to strengthen the entire line a little bit.”
Is that the key to the offense on Sunday? To run the ball?
“The key to Sunday is to be productive.”
To go down and play at Jacksonville against that pass rush… The key has to be communication, right?
“It’s all going to be a part of it. We have to play well, yes sir.”
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You talked after the Indianapolis game that there were some issues with the offensive line communication, mainly in allowing some free runners. Is that going to be emphasized this week?
“We have to do a good job. We have to sing from the same hymnal.”