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A.J. Bouye on why Jaguars are a top cornerback tandem

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NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

A.J. Bouye

Cornerback, Jacksonville Jaguars

Born: Aug. 16, 1991

Experience: Four NFL seasons

Interview by Brooke Cersosimo | July 12, 2017

I talked it over with my family and my agent and [Jacksonville] was closer to home. The additions [the Jaguars] already made and playing against them already, I knew how good they were, even though their record didn't show it. I was just excited to go there.

With the addition of Tom Coughlin and seeing how [the Jaguars] ended last season, I just wanted to be a part of it and felt like it was time for a new start.

It's very strict there and it's all about football. Even with [Coughlin] changing the clocks, he wants everybody to be early. He says they're only five minutes fast, but I think it's more like eight minutes.

When you come to the stadium, you have to be a pro and approach your job that way, because that's why we're here -- to win games. That's the first thing that [Coughlin] and [head coach Doug] Marrone said was, We're here to win and we're not accepting anything else. It pushes us in practice and the meeting rooms and everything.

[The locker room is] fun and we joke around a lot. Usually we just talk about football, but everything is a tight schedule, going straight to meetings, then you gotta eat, [do the] cool tub and everything. You don't have a lot of time to just chill, because by then, you have something else to do. It's been fun in there, though.

Not getting down on the setbacks and taking a better approach to the game [led to a career year in 2016]. I started to get a feel for the game my second year, but I kind of took a step back because I thought I knew it all and didn't stay on top of my technique and everything. My third year was kind of up and down but finished strong and gained a little bit more confidence to keep going. I studied a lot of film in the offseason and worked on my weaknesses.

[Jalen Ramsey] is an outgoing guy, but he's very athletic and a hard worker. We've been working out together a lot, and when we worked out together before OTAs, we just did extra stuff after workouts. And you can see that he wants to be great, and we were just pushing each other.

It's an honor, especially coming from Ike [Taylor]. I watched Ike growing up with the Steelers, and we worked out together in Orlando with Tom Shaw. I learned a lot from him coming out, and just to hear him recognize how good we can be, I'm excited to try to live up to the hype. We know there's going to be a lot of people watching, but we're very excited.

It's tough to say right now, because we haven't been in games together yet. We're physical corners and we like to tackle. We like to play aggressive. We're going to be in your face. We're going to play tight coverage. We're going to come hit, talk trash, all that. There's a lot of great corners in the league, and it's an honor to be considered a top tandem. We just want to go out there and prove that we can be.

[I can help this team make the playoffs] just by leading by example and just encouraging others. We gotta get better and take it one play at a time, one day at a time and just stay in the moment. We really just have to stay focused on our jobs and emphasize that.

Everybody on the outside might have something to say, but we can't focus on that. It starts in the meeting rooms and it starts in practice competing against each other. It's going to be a fun ride, and we're going to do everything we can.

Calais [Campbell] has been in the playoffs before, too, so we have some experienced players who have been in the playoffs and know how tough it is to even win in the playoffs. It's going to be a long road, but we started in OTAs and we're going to keep on working.

Most definitely [looking forward to playing the Texans]. They're our first game [of the season], too. I talk to some of my former teammates over there, and they're excited, too. They already know what's in store and the type of player that I am, and they say, "Man, you're going to ball and blah, blah, blah." Not even then, but just in-season. It's very exciting, but I'm also humbled, because those guys are proud of what I've done there and even proud of what I'm doing now. I'm excited to see them guys, but once we get between the lines, we're trying to win.

I haven't been comparing the organizations, but like I said, with Marrone and Coughlin, it's new. I'm still feeling it out, but everything is football. It was a little more laid back in Houston, as far as we had a little more leeway time.

The chemistry I'm still building with the Jaguars. I was in Houston for four years, so of course, it's going to be different. They both practice hard, and it's all about the competition and getting better.

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