If the Jacksonville Jaguars were looking for a leader both in the locker room and on the field this season, look no further than Telvin Smith. The linebacker was top the point, almost stone cod honest in his assessment of the team so far in OTAs. The FSU product said the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t as far along as they should be at this point in their offseason training.
Maybe this new “honesty” within the Jacksonville Jaguars’ organization is exactly what players and coaches need to hear.
“With the players that we have I just think as a team we should be further than we are,” Smith said, via ESPN. “As players, we’ve got to do our part in the sense of it’s not scheme, none of that. It’s what do we want? What’s our mentality going to be?… The mindset of this team, things that we should be using to beat opponents are still beating us.”
It may be early in the process, with players getting back on the field, but Smith hasn’t been part of a winning team in the NFL, as the Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t been close to the .500-mark since he left FSU and was a fifth-round pick in 2014. Now, with a new coaching staff in place and Smith looking to leave his mark on and off the field, maybe this is the turning point in franchise history.
And for a team that wants quarterback Blake Bortles to “lead” on and off the field, it looks like Smith may have stolen his thunder.
As pointed out in a story on foxsports.com, Coach Doug Marrone is sure to bring a different culture to the team after Gus Bradley failed to turn it into a winning squad. Before that happens, though, Smith says there’s “still a culture here that has to be broken.”
That culture of just getting better is the reason former head coach Gus Bradley was fired. It was part of the reason the defense wasn’t as sharp as it could have been. It was part of the reason why Bortles isn’t as far along in his progression as he should be. And it was part of the reason the running game and offensive line were mediocre at best last season.
The Jaguars have a number of areas in which they need to improve, particularly when it comes to turnovers. Not only have they struggled to take the ball away, but they turned it over 29 times in 2016 – tied for fourth most in the NFL.
Smith and his defensive teammates were ahead of the curve with the offense last season – which only goes so far. Defensive success can hide deficiencies on offense, but in time, the Jacksonville Jaguars must find ways to score points. Smith, in his young wisdom, is pointing out what many have known but haven’t been vocal about.