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That's What They Said: Jaguars HC Gus Bradley and DE Malik Jackson

Posted Nov 30, 2016

Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley and defensive end Malik Jackson talked to Denver media about Malik's transition to Jacksonville and more.

How has Malik Jackson adapted to joining the Jaguars?

Head coach Gus Bradley: "You see the player, obviously he had some great years in Denver. To see him come here as a free agent and what he’s shown up for us, you see a lot of the same things. I would say, too, in the locker room — I think that’s where he’s exceeded [expectations]. It’s just how strong he’s been for our players. He has the respect of our whole team. I think he really challenges players on the field. He knows the standard. He knows what it looks like. He keeps pushing people out of their comfort levels. That part of it, I didn’t know completely what we were getting. We heard good things about them, so I think to see that part of his game has been awesome.

"We’ve got winners on our team, we’re just going through a tough time right now. We have a lot of guys that have that mentality that is the same as Malik. I think it’s been a good mesh. You want players that will have a high standard and understand what that standard should look like and push each other. I think Malik has that mentality, along with many other guys on our team."

Defensive end Malik Jackson: "Definitely tough, especially coming from Denver and being spoiled there with the playoffs every year and the first-round byes, but I think it's just a different beast that you have to kind of see about the league. It's kind of sobering because you realize that the league isn't about— or every team's not winning 12 games a year, so it just brought me back to earth to realize it's hard to win in this league and that you've kind of got to get everybody on the same page and just keep going. So that's what I've learned.

"I think it was just difficult because I was playing a new position and being in a new position, as far as I did play a little 3-tech in Denver but it wasn't considered a 3-tech. I think here early it was just getting used to the position, knowing where everybody was behind me. … And I had four years to grow with Von, rushing with him and had a few years with D-Ware and those guys … and Wolfe, so rushing with them came naturally. These guys, we have to learn each other and understand who each other is. Plus, these guys are young, besides Sen'Derrick [Marks] and Jared [Odrick]. So we've got some older guys who understand situations. I think it's just a lot of growing and I think that's a little road block, that guys are growing. It's not always a bad thing, it's just how stuff works, you know?"

How has Julius Thomas grown as a Jaguar?

GB: "When he came in, what jumped out was just his competitiveness and how he competed in practice and how he went about it. He’s had some injuries, now, that he’s battling through. I know that’s challenging for him to battle through it. He just puts his nose down. He’s in the training room and he’s taking care of his body. You just feel bad for him because that part hasn’t quite worked out for him as well as he had hoped. We still see that competitive spirit in him. It’ll be more day-to-day. We’ll see how he handles this week and where he’s at. We’ll have to make a decision as we get closer towards the end of the week.

"We did see that [improvements in Thomas' blocking] in training camp. We really challenged him in that area. I thought he made really good strides in training camp. It’s always a challenge. I think with Julius during his time in Denver you see him making plays in space and on the perimeter. We really want to try to challenge him to elevate that level of his game. He’s been very accepting of that. I think he wants to be seen as a better blocker than what he was. We feel like he’s made good progress there."

How might Jalen Ramsey try to slow down the Broncos' receivers?

GB: "One thing, they have two really good perimeter guys. I guess we'll see on Sunday. It's hard when you have two good players like that and they move around a lot. We'll just go into it. We have a plan. Sometimes there have been games where we travel [Ramsey] and there have been some games where we just leave him on the left side or put him on the right side. It's a decision that we make, but we feel [CB] Prince [Amukamara] is playing at a very high level, too. He's been very consistent for us. I think as we game plan and put together this week, it will just be something that we'll see how it comes about on Sunday."

"We knew that we were getting a talented player. In our scheme, a player that has the size and the length that we can play him on the line of scrimmage is important to what we do. We thought that we have a corner that can come in and compete and do pretty well. What surprises us is how fast he has picked things up. The corner spot by itself is not a difficult position, but it’s challenging in other ways. Initially we put him at corner and then also at nickel. When he played nickel, it seemed that he picked things up really quickly and it was a natural position for him. The other thing that has surprised me is his ability to play both on the right and left side. That's hard for corners, but he has really done it. He plays both sides very well, so I think that part of his game has really exceeded our expectations."

How much would you like to play spoiler?

MJ: "Of course. I think that would be awesome to definitely go down there and beat the old team that let you go. But I'm definitely looking forward to the game, definitely one I've had circled for a long time, definitely just because it's my old team and I know a lot of those guys and I practiced with the offense every day and I know those O-linemen, so it should be fun just to kind of see them. It's going to be fun, man. I just want to have a great time and play great and everybody goes home safely, but I'm definitely excited to play these guys."

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