Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer 12d

Chargers' Gus Bradley holds no grudges in matchup vs. Jaguars

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Gus Bradley finished with a 14-48 record during his first stint as a head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was fired with two games left in the regular season last year, never reaching his goal of leading that team to the playoffs.

Now, midway through the 2017 season the Jaguars are 5-3, sitting tied atop of the AFC South standings with the Tennessee Titans at the direction of new coach Doug Marrone and appear headed toward the postseason.

However, the usually upbeat Bradley does not see Sunday's game against his former team as an opportunity to get a little bit of revenge.

"No, I'm more focused on us and what we have to do," said Bradley, smiling.

Bradley said he's excited the Jaguars turned things around, even though he's not there to experience it with his former players.

"To me, you're happy for them," Bradley said. "You can't not care for players that you were with for so many years, so to see them do well and play at a high level and some of them get rewarded because of it, I think that's cool -- I'm all for that.

"I think in the NFL there are a lot of really good people -- that's what I've learned from the years I've been in it."

Now the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers, Bradley has his group playing good football heading into this matchup. The Chargers have created seven turnovers and allowed just 14.7 points a game during the team's past four games, finishing 3-1 during that stretch.

Bradley also has gotten the most out of the Chargers' two talented edge rushers, with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram recording 8.5 sacks each through eight games.

"He's just always positive and trying to motivate you," Bosa said. "When you mess up he's going to point it out and correct it. But just in terms of mental health throughout the day and the week, having him to talk to every day has been great."

In the team's final game before the bye week, Bradley's defense went toe-to-toe with the defending Super Bowl champs, holding Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to 21 points -- keeping the game close enough for the offense to have a chance to put the game into overtime on the final drive in a 21-13 loss in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

"We needed that game," Bradley said. "We needed to say. 'All right, we're making some progress and doing some good things,' but we needed that type of challenge. We needed to go into Foxborough and get tested as a next step for us. We needed to have that."

The Chargers are No. 8 against the pass, giving up just 201 passing yards a contest, and are tied for No. 4 in the league with 26 sacks.

But they still have to do a better job defending the run, giving up 135 yards per game, second-worst in the NFL. Bradley understands they will be tested by a Jacksonville offense led by Leonard Fournette that wants to run the football.

Off the field, Bradley has had to deal with the fact that his wife Michaela, sons Carter and Eli, and daughters Anna and Ella are still in Jacksonville while he makes the transition to Los Angeles.

Bradley's son Carter is a highly recruited quarterback in his senior season in high school. However, Carter suffered a season-ending knee injury and is done for the year.

"It's good, but it's hard," Bradley said about his family remaining in Jacksonville. "I'd like to have them out here. But we're a very close-knit family. We talk a lot, and we've got good kids, and my wife is really good.

"I think always as a coach in an ideal world your wife is independent enough that when you're not there she's fine, but dependent enough that when you come home she's happy to see you. And that's kind of how Mick is."

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