After the Jaguars lost to the Patriots in the AFC title game in January, veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell said that he wanted his teammates to “use this as fuel” as they got ready for the 2018 season.
The loss is the only thing from last season he wants to be part of the team’s mindset this year. The Jaguars made a big jump from the bottom of the barrel to a division title last year, but Campbell wants the team to realize that those gains don’t carry over into the next season.
Campbell said Jacksonville’s success now “means nothing” and spoke from experience about what happens when you act differently.
“You start back at zero, so everybody’s equal,” Campbell said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “You have to earn the right to have the opportunity to make it to the playoffs. When people start picking you as the favorite and [predicting] what you should do, it’s kind of poison. You’re kind of relaxing and start believing you’re better than you are. I experienced that back in ’15 in Arizona. We went to the conference championship, and everybody next year predicted us to win the Super Bowl. I think it kind of affected the way we played. I think we kind of believed it instead of earning it.”
The Jaguars earned their spot in the NFL’s final four last year and the talent is on hand for another run. Campbell’s words are a reminder that talent alone doesn’t decide who survives and advances come January.