JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley let his players jump around on the field, dance in the locker room and hoot and holler as much as they wanted Thursday night.
He also rewarded them with three days off.
When they return Monday, Bradley plans to ground them a little bit.
"If we're going to boast, we boast our weaknesses to each other," Bradley said Friday, a day after Jacksonville's 27-20 win over the Houston Texans.
Bradley doesn't want the hottest team in the AFC blowing any smoke. The Jaguars (4-9) have won three in a row and four of five games since the bye, a modest turnaround that Bradley and players are enjoying. But the rookie head coach is trying to keep his players humble and hungry, sticking with his motto of "eating crumbs" after wins.
"I don't want us feeling like we did some good things, we accomplished some things," Bradley said. "We're getting better and we still have a lot of work to do."
Following the prime-time victory, several Jacksonville players used the spotlight to respond to critics who called the team the worst in NFL history.
"Everybody who was talking noise can just eat some crow," guard Uche Nwaneri said.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew called out a specific sports talk show for apparently ripping the Texans-Jaguars game long before kickoff.
"It's like, 'Listen, we are all adults and we all get paid to do a job and sometimes you don't do your job to the best of your ability,'" Jones-Drew said. "But you shouldn't be cracking jokes about guys that are busting their butts every day and no one is quitting on our team.
"They still talk trash about us. We are going to keep getting better and we are going to keep making plays. We are going to keep doing our thing and be happy for everyone around us that is making plays."
Bradley let his players vent, knowing they were frustrated by losing the first eight games by double digits.
"As long as it doesn't become a distraction, it's a good thing because I think it can elevate practice even more and give us even better practice so we can get better even more," Bradley said. "Going through what we did in the beginning and going through what we're going through now, you can separate it and say we had some adversity and now we're having a little prosperity. My hope is we treat both imposters the same.