The Jacksonville Jaguars are heading back to the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2007 after their dominant 45-7 win over the Houston Texans. Calais Campbell led the defense with five tackles and two sacks for a unit that held the Texans to just 187 yards of total offense. One day later, Campbell joined The Jim Rome Show to talk about clinching a playoff berth for the organization he joined as free agent in March.
“It feels real good anytime you punch a ticket to the dance,” Campbell said on CBS Sports Radio. “That’s huge. A guaranteed seat at the table to have the opportunity for a run to the championship, that feels good. But at the end of the day, you enjoy it for 24 hours and then try to take the next step.”
The Jaguars defense has already made that step, with Campbell out in front of the unit. The 31-year-old is having the best season of his career, 14.5 sacks on the season, pacing a pass rush that’s leading the NFL with 51 sacks. Campbell talked about what makes this unit so good.
“We got a lot of swagger. We got a lot confidence, a lot of guys take turns at making plays. We have so much talent on defense, we don’t have to do really anything special, we just keep doing what we do. Playing our assignments sound, playing disciplined, and good things are going to happen,” Campbell said, before rattling off a group of teammates’ names. “Just down the list, everybody makes plays.”
The Jacksonville offense is also making plays, in large part to the development of quarterback Blake Bortles. Over his last three games, Bortles has completed 71 percent of his passes for 903 yards, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. A lot of different theories are out there trying to explain Bortles turnaround. Campbell just thinks his quarterback is more comfortable.
“He’s been growing every day, playing more and more loose,” Campbell said. “Just getting lost in the timing and having fun. Taking calculated risks and making sure he’s utilizing his playmakers around him, and he has a lot of speed at receiver. The O-line is playing incredible and he’s been leading the troops. So Blake Bortles is playing on fire right now.”