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.
Wide receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars
Born: Nov. 25, 1991
Experience: Four NFL seasons
The whole thing is my mindset. I just try to be more free and open to things. As far as allowing things to get to me, those things don't get to me no more. In my first two years, the injuries were a problem for me. When I step back, I honestly thought about that 24/7, like, Oh man, I'm hurt. I'm hurt. I finally learned to just let it go. That opened me up to be freer on the field and go out there and just play and not worry about injuries.
I'm not going to change anything [now that Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns aren't on the roster]. I gotta stay on top of the [young] guys as far as understanding what they're supposed to do and putting the work in. Even though they did it last year, [Keelan] Cole and Dede [Westbrook] are coming out and doing the things they need to do.
I have to let everyone know that we have big shoes to fill. We came a long way last year and our main thing is to get back to where we were at. We gotta come to play every day.
Do you see what they're paying all these other guys? [Odell Beckham is] putting in the work to get [at least $20 million per year]. Off-the-field issues and things like that may [rub people the wrong way], but on the field, he's producing every time. It's all about, What have you done for me lately? You saw a difference this year in New York in how good they were when he was out there and how bad they were when he wasn't. It's a big difference. I'm not a general manager but me, as a receiver, I feel like he deserves it.
If they don't pay him this year and he goes out and balls, then what? They're going to have to pay him that money.
Blake [Bortles] actually works out in Cali every offseason. I always get the opportunity to work out with him, so we have a great relationship. We talk 24/7 as far as what he wants and what I'm actually seeing out there on the field. We try to stay on the same page, but our relationship has been [good since] Day 1.
I try to get down there twice a week throughout the whole summer. I feel like Blake makes his stops. Cali is his main stop in the offseason, but he'll go somewhere else if he feels he needs to work out with somebody.
Character. The thing about Blake is people talk so much crazy trash about him. The fact that he continues to put his head down and work and grind says a lot. He don't pay attention to the stuff from the outside. He really don't care, in all honesty.
The difference is [Bortles] in the huddle. Even when we were down, he was pumping people up. Stuff about how we just have to go down and score or do one thing here and there. ... That stuff he wasn't doing the first couple of years. He was a lot quieter, but now he's a lot more open, saying things, telling us how we're going to switch it up. That's the biggest thing.
The thing is, I always felt like we had a great team. Even though our records were so bad [my first couple of seasons], I always felt like we had a good team but we were missing a few pieces here and there. But we finally figured it out as far as the right picks in the offseason.
Look at last year: You have A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell, [Barry] Church. Then you pick up Leonard [Fournette] and the attitude all those guys brought in. Calais has been doing this for a long time, so he came in and taught. All their energy brought all of our energy up, and that's why we continued to win.
In a sense [the offense feels pressure]. You don't want the defense going out there doing [well] 24/7, and [the offense] goes out there and is stinkin' up the spot. There was a good amount of that this year, where the defense was going crazy and the offense needed to step up. We lost some games because [the offense] fell short.
But it's also a positive because we can lean on them. If we go three-and-out, I got no doubt in my mind that we'll be out there in the next three plays because I know our defense will get a three-and-out, too. Our opportunities are greater because we know our defense is going to get stops.
They are two totally different guys as far as the way [Jalen Ramsey and Bouye] play, so I have my hands tied as far as the different techniques in which they play. They like talkin'. Everybody knows Jalen loves talkin', so it's the same in practice. We go head to head, but I actually enjoy it. The thing is about Jalen and A.J. is they've made me that much better. I'm more confident going into games because I felt like I've already won [in practice] against the best.
I'm not over that. A lot of people felt like we should've won that [AFC title game]. That's a fact. No offense to the Patriots. They're a great team, but we should've beat them. But we fell short. Next year is another opportunity to get back to it. It's a lot of work, but I feel like we have the right team and pieces to get it going.
We're not discouraged at all. We know the type of team we have.
Leonard is good and he's only gonna get better. He sat out [three] games [last] year and still had 1,000 yards. His determination is crazy. He came in with a vet mentality as far as pushing the offense. He's talking to all of us and getting guys on the same page, and you don't really see that from young guys. But he came in and took control.
I saw that alert [of Jaguars owner Shad Khan putting an offer in to buy Wembley Stadium], and I said, "Oh my gosh!" I'm not sure how this will affect our team, but if he does buy it, I'm sure we'll be playing [at least one game per season] there for the rest of our careers.
[Khan] comes in a lot to the stadium and at practice. He'll be around talking to us.
Our team has so many characters. Telvin [Smith] is a character. He's the main guy in [our locker room] that keeps everybody going for the most part. Even though he's a young guy, his work ethic is crazy because he was behind Paul Posluszny, his mentor, so I gotta say Telvin.