Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley walked into a postgame interview room at CenturyLink Field and posed a question to reporters.
“How are you guys?” asked Bradley.
Uh, Gus, the better question is: How are you?
Bradley, constitutionally incapable of scowling, weathered another Jacksonville Jaguars defeat Sunday, the team’s third in his three-game career as its head coach. The Jaguars might have the NFL’s least-prepossessing roster. Without question, they have the NFL’s worst offense.
But Bradley was determined to accentuate the positive after a 45-17 defeat against the Seattle Seahawks. The positive?
“That’s a very formidable defensive front line we were up against, probably the best in the NFL,” said Bradley. “A very good 49ers team had a tough time putting up points against them, and we did put up points.”
It was a defensive breakdown that underscored the challenge Bradley faces in Jacksonville: Rookie safety Josh Evans found himself in proper position to contest a Russell Wilson pass to Sidney Rice.
But instead of battling for the ball, Evans allowed Rice to score one of the Seahawks’ five passing touchdowns.
“Josh was right there,” Bradley pointed out. “He was right there to make the play. But now you have to go attack the ball. In the NFL, you can’t sit there. You have to go to the ball. Those are conversations we’re having with Josh.”
“Josh didn’t go out and not want to get the ball,” Bradley continued. “He just has to be taught how to do it. You could be yelling all the time, but I don’t want to do that. That’s not how the culture is for us. That’s not how we’re going to operate.”
Execution was lacking on both sides of the ball for the Jaguars, but the effort was noble. Denied a first down until the Seahawks extended their lead to 17-0 midway through the second quarter, Jacksonville ended up with 265 yards of offense — a respectable total, considering the Jags’ first five possessions ended up in three-and-outs.
“In the second half, I think we have some things that we can build on,” Bradley said. “We had a good drive, a good series in there, we pinned them down inside the 5, we got an interception and we went in and scored. It’s things like that where we have to capture those opportunities and continue to build off those positives.”
As for Bradley’s “homecoming” at CenturyLink Field, where he served four years as defensive coordinator — one year under coach Jim Mora, three years with Pete Carroll — the mood with his former team was all business. Afterward, Carroll gave his close friend a thumbs-up.
“I thought it was really obvious that Gus’ team played really hard,” said Carroll. “They finished tough, they stayed in it and kept working to take the ball down the field and try to get off the field. I was fired up for him in that regard. They came back after us.”
Concluded Carroll: “I’m sure he’s going to make some positives out of that.”
He already had, Pete.