With former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley returning to town as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers, current Jacksonville players have been asked to reflect on their experiences with their one-time boss.
The Jaguars still have more than two dozen players who worked with Bradley during his tenure in Jacksonville.
Several of them were developed by Bradley and his former staff. There are a few who probably wouldn't be in Jacksonville without Bradley's influence.
"That's a guy that genuinely cares about us, even right now as a team, I know he wants what's best for this team even though he's not the coach," wide receiver Allen Hurns said. "He's got a lot of respect for the guys in here and it's vice versa. We respect him as well but Sunday we have to get after him."
It didn't matter if you were a big money free agent addition or an undrafted rookie, Bradley communicated with everyone. He was open to discussing things beyond football with his players.
"He knows how to lift guys, he knows how to get guys thinking about what they really want and how to really get it," defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. "He knows how to get the most out of people, it just kind of didn't happen here."
Several players reflected positively on their experiences with their former head coach. Bradley was a boss who was fun to be around, despite his 14-48 record in Jacksonville.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles believes Bradley deserves credit for how this team has come together under a different regime.
"He was a part of a lot of this," Bortles said. "Don’t get me wrong, I think Doug [Marrone] and Coach [Tom] Coughlin have come in and changed a lot of things. I think a lot of it has changed for the better. I think Gus was part of the creation of the foundation here. A lot of the draft classes that came in and are now a big part of the team were taken under him. He’s definitely a big part of that, for sure.”
The Jaguars and Bradley will be reunited at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. when Jacksonville hosts the Chargers.
Lambo treating Chargers reunion like any other game
Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo was forced to sit at home during the first six weeks of the season. He was waived by the Chargers during final cuts in September.
He spent several weeks looking for a home before joining the Jaguars in Week 7. Since arriving in Jacksonville, Lambo is a perfect 5-of-5 on his field goal attempts.
Just under a month into his Jaguars tenure, the third-year kicker is set to face off against his former team in Jacksonville.
"I'm trying to not make it anything bigger than it is," Lambo said regarding the Week 10 matchup against Los Angeles.
"They're an opposing team that we're trying to score more points than. It's still going to be the same snap, same hold and the uprights are still going to be the same. A bunch of 300-pound men trying to take my head off, so I'm not looking at it any different. I have nothing to prove. If I have anything to prove, I'm going to want to prove every kick whether I'm playing against my former team or not."
Lambo is coming off a game where he made the longest field goal of his NFL career. The 56-yard attempt was one of his three successful field goals in the 23-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
"It was pretty special," Lambo said. "There was a lot going into that kick, a lot of emotion afterward. Obviously, me getting released, me [not making a field goal] from 50 [or more] last year and this team bringing me in."
Lambo knows what it's like to lose a job. He knows what it's like to be replaced. In turn, he understands the responsibility that comes with replacing a tenured kicker. Lambo took the place of Jason Myers, who spent three seasons with the Jaguars.
"Cutting a guy for someone else is a big move," Lambo said. "And so, that fact that I was able to go in and make that big kick. The head coach actually came up to me and he asked me before the kick if I could make it and I said 'Absolutely.' He said 'Alright, go ahead.' I did it and I was hyped. I was so jazzed about it, it was great."
The Texas A&M alum has found chemistry with Jaguars long snapper Matt Overton and punter/holder Brad Nortman. He believes they are helping him become a better professional kicker.
"I feel like I had a rhythm with them the first time I kicked with them my first week here," Lambo said. "They are great pros and I feel like I'm a pretty good pro. I feel like I'm pretty good at doing my job but these guys are making me elevate my game to a new level and I really appreciate that about them."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.