Despite losing what could have been his top pass rusher on a team devoid of quarterback hurriers, Jags coach Gus Bradley remains upbeat about the 2015 season.
"Maybe the fans, the media, felt Dante was the savior. That is not the way our team looked at it," Bradley told The MMQB's Peter King. "The draft picks were great additions, but we didn't look at him, or any rookies, as saviors. We challenged our veterans to have their best offseason ever, and I checked off that box on player after player this offseason-they came back so ready. So we adjust, and we move on.
"I'm not one to just say, 'Next man up.' I say, 'Hold on.' It's the same thing when (defensive tackle) Sen'Derrick Marks got hurt. I am not gonna downplay it. Paul Posluszny, Roy Miller, they had big impacts and were hurt. And I want those guys to know how valuable they are to us. But there will be a story somewhere on the roster. (Third-year pass-rusher) Ryan Davis will get his opportunity and do well. I believe something good is coming. This is not gonna affect the mindset of our team, I guarantee you. We handle adversity well. We will handle this well.
"We all feel bad for Dante, really bad. He was so excited. He couldn't wait to go out there. And damn, this happens. That is a tough deal for him. Your heart pours out for him.
Wow, if that isn't a guy you want to run through a wall for, one doesn't exist.
However, you'll note that zero of those names Bradley mentioned in that last paragraph were on defense.
When asked if Bradley had any "woe is me" or "why is this happening to us?" moments, the coach doubled down on his stance.
"Maybe on the way to the hospital," he said. "But after meeting with him and seeing how he's handling this, I'm more at peace because I know he'll be fine. We'll be fine."