“There is still a culture here that needs to be broken before one can be created.” That’s one of several things that Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith had to say after Tuesday’s OTA.
Telvin is trying to do his part to remake the culture in Jacksonville after watching the team win just eleven games in his first three years in the league, but is frustrated with the progress that he has seen thus far. Smith felt the need to try to push that message after Tuesday’s OTA when he pulled the defense together to share where they are compared to where they should be at this point despite going through the first week plus of OTA’s without either starting safety and two of their top three corners.
When asked about what he said to his teammates Telvin deflected from talking about many details but did say, “With the players that we have I just think as a team we should be further than we are.” Telvin was also asked about where he thought the team was behind right now and he candidly responded, “Just our mentality. The mindset of this team. Things that we should be using to beat opponents are still beating us.”
Telvin will be playing the same position, weakside linebacker, this season, but the circumstances under which he will be playing it have certainly changed. He has spent three seasons knowing that he could turn and see Paul Posluszny standing out there with him at the middle linebacker spot. This year when Telvin turns to find the MIKE it will be second year linebacker Myles Jack. There is little doubt that Jack is the better athlete compared to Posluszny but there is even less doubt about how comfortable Poz’s teammates were with him patrolling the middle of the defense. Jack still has to earn that trust, and it’s not hard to project that part of the frustration that Telvin was venting today was about just that.
When Telvin was asked about the athleticism that Myles Jack can add to that spot Smith was quick to say, “I don’t want to say athleticism in the next couple week will change anything…a quote that we’ve been saying to one another is that hard work beats talent any day.” Telvin also talked about how much work Jack has been putting in saying that he is growing.
Today the clear message from Telvin was that growth, whether from Jack or the defense as a whole, isn’t coming quickly enough. This time of year is important and is even more important for a team that won just three games last season. “I understand that right now we are making the team. It’s not going to be when we go to training camp and we say ‘OK, now let’s turn it on.’ We are going to decide where this team goes and our mentality right now.”