The keyword for the Jacksonville Jaguars this off-season was value; it has been repeated over and over by the team’s new hierarchy and has more than just anchored the word in the organization.
Instead, the jaguars continued to emphasize the meaning of the word and its relationship to their locker room. Under new head coach Urban Meyer, the Jaguars have made it their mission to build the roster by reminding each person in the 90-man roster that they are the real pillars of the franchise, a belief he has responded to by attaching importance to the team’s athletic performance program.
And so far it has left an impression of active change. After years of talking about the reversal of culture and their lost ways, some of the team’s most seasoned players are actually witnessing changes in the off-season before their very eyes.
“The difference [is] We’re changing the culture, that’s for sure. [Urban Meyer’s] gave us everything we need to be successful and we haven’t had that here for a while, “said center Brandon Linder after organized team activity training on Thursday.
“But he asks us to do it when we’re in the field, and we did. We did a job and it was good. Everyone trusted the process and bought into the culture. “
Linder is one of the biggest and most important voices in the Jaguars’ dressing room, so seeing him publicly fight for his new head coach and previous investments in the squad carries a lot of weight.
Linder is a four-time captain and, after seven seasons and 82 career starts, one of the longest-serving players on the team. Not many people on the list have seen the scale of the jaguars’ recent uninterrupted attempts to change culture and create an environment of winning – and the failures that have come with each attempt.
“It’s just on the performance side: dry needling, cupping, all the different therapies, activation materials, equipment and so on. We have a few new facilities under construction, “Linder said when asked what has changed in Jacksonville.
“And then the food, the food was better, the diet, all these different shakes and so on. We only have more in hand now to be successful and to help us, to show our potential in the field, to show our worth. I don’t think twice [it’s being] spoiled or special. I think we’re the ones in the field that make this thing work. We have to give it back. We have to return it when we’re in the field. That’s the whole thing, isn’t it? We get everything we need, but when we enter this field, we have to use all our resources. “
That sums up Meyer’s core philosophy and what he has been preaching to the Jaguars organization and the media since he took the job in January. He has said repeatedly that it is up to him and his staff to give the squad everything they need on and off the pitch to perform on Sundays and any subsequent failures will end up at the feet of Meyer, not the players.
“I think that’s all. There’s a chance that people who work for me will hear a statement from me that it’s just the best of the best. If not, the question is why? I do it every time I go through everywhere, “Meyer said at his introductory press conference in January.
“We did that in Ohio State. We did that in Florida. It’s just the very best. If not, especially when you talk about the welfare and safety of the players and then only about the players and when it’s not the very best , let’s have a chat and do what’s best. The Jacksonville players get pushed. In return, we give them the best, including the coaching staff, especially the coaching staff. Does a big hot tub make that much difference? I don’t have that but I just want to make sure it’s the best of the best. Shad is very committed to it, as is this organization. That’s something I find hard to answer right now, but I think inside months you can see or hear things that we do as best as possible for our players. “
The jaguars are in the middle of the off-season doing endless hours of work in the TIAA Bank Field facilities and on the practice field. They still have a lot to do before they show tangible signs of improvement after last year’s disastrous 1-15 record.
But in the eyes of a longtime captain, Meyer’s changes to the franchise were exactly what the team needed.
“It’s just a different culture. It’s just a new beginning, a new coaching staff, everything new, so it feels new,” said Linder.
“After just a week it’s completely different. Everyone is optimistic. Everyone brings juice, brings energy and is happy to be here. We’re just working on it, trying to build this solidarity as a team and create our identity. “