Jaguars' WR DJ Chark, Jr. Quotes 8.7.20
COURTESY OF JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On his focus this year and what he can do to make the team better and win) "I feel like this city, this team, deserves something to look forward to. That first starts with me as being a guy that's trying to be there for my teammates, trying to get the right energy going. We are very young, so now I am kind of forced out of the shadows to speak a little more. At the end of the day, we just want to win, that's what we are here for. Win, play football, and that's really the mindset of talking to my teammates and learning this new playbook. There are no excuses once we get out there on gameday. We have to get it in now."
(On the comparison between last year and this year, and which will be more difficult in terms of proving himself) "It's the same situation for me. Last year is over. Once I am done playing, I can look back on whatever years I went to the Pro Bowl or had winning seasons and talk to my kids about that. As far as right now, this 2020 season, we are not going to get any wins, and I am not going to make any accolades based off last year. So, that is out of the window at this point."
(On what it is like to compete against D.J Hayden and the toughness he has shown in bouncing back from injuries) "I love going against D.J. [Hayden]. He's very confident, which is something that I always admire about any player. When you're confident, it allows me to be confident and talk smack with you. You also can learn from guys like that. He's very smart. He knows route patterns, based off your stem. He can easily read your route before you are at the top of your route. I ask him things about that. If he gets me on a play, it's 'What did I do that you saw this, this early to be able to jump this route?' Then next time, I won't do it. So, next time he will have to figure out a new way to jump my route because I am not going to run it the same way. Being able to bounce back from injuries is big. In the NFL, it's long seasons. Now the season is a little longer, in the future it's going to be a little longer. So, being able to bounce back from injury, from year to year, being able to keep your body healthy throughout the year is really tough and the older you get the harder it is, obviously. He bounces back and comes back strong every time."
(On becoming a leader among the receiver group) "The way I view leadership is a little different. I don't really like being the guy that appoints myself to leadership. I feel like real leaders should not always want to be the leader, if that makes sense. I understand the situation that I am in. So, I understand that young guys come in, they look at the roster, they realize that, 'Hey I am in the room with a Pro Bowl receiver.' But honestly, I am still looking at Coach [Keenan] McCardell because he has done it multiple times. So, I am looking at Coach [Keenan] McCardell as a leader for me. Also, I am still looking at things that Chris Conly does well, things that [Keelan] Cole does well, things that Dede [Westbrook] does well. I am just taking notes and trying to make myself a better player. If anybody ever has a question about it or ask me anything, I am always willing to help, I am always willing to talk to them. I don't really want to be the guy that is calling the meetings and saying this is what we need to do or this is what we should do. If it is something that is in my heart, then I am going to speak on it. Other than that, I am still here playing football."
(On what he has seen from the young receivers, specifically Laviska Shenault Jr. and Collin Johnson, in terms of what they look like on the field and what he knew about them before this year) "I am not going to lie, the only receivers I knew about were LSU coming out of the draft. That is the only real college football that I kept up with. After we got them, I went to look at them a little bit. I was able to meet them this summer. They were willing to come out here early and get some work in with me, the other receivers, the quarterbacks, and I was able to build a bond with them. They work hard, and they are great people as well. I think that is something that we need to continue to add to this team, just hard workers, people who want to come in and win games. One goal for me is to help those guys have a better rookie year than I did. So, I want those guys to be able to come in and make whatever contribution to the team they are able to make at the time. Some people are more advanced than others. Whatever they can do and whatever they are ready to do, I am behind them. The better we are in the receiver room, the better we are as a team."
(On the excitement from the receivers to work in Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden's offense) "Getting to know Coach [Jay] Gruden, I love the fact that he's aggressive but his schemes, his offense, was pretty easy to learn for me in year three. Also, the spacing that he has on his routes, I love it, the different combinations, I love it. I actually talked to Gardner [Minshew] yesterday about it, asking him if the offense was being tailored to his strengths. He's very confident about that, which is good. If he's happy, and he's comfortable, that makes everybody else comfortable. So, I think it is going to be a pretty good season for us offensively. This offseason we have all been getting together, learning this offense together in this unprecedented time. It's showing on the field, the chemistry is showing on the field. This is the most connected I have felt to the offense, and to the players on the offense, in a long time. So, with the addition of Coach [Jay] Gruden being a head coach, knowing how to get his guys ready, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his players, we are in good shape."
(On whether he has had any recent communication with his teammates on the topic of social justice issues) "We are not shying away from it at all. If something comes up, we speak on it. That's something that Coach [Doug] Marrone has done and made sure that we speak on it whenever things happen or making sure that we all feel comfortable in our skin. Making sure that we all feel good, or we are all on the same page about what is going on in the world. It's not the topic of conversation because obviously we all come from different backgrounds and you can't really push some of these worldly things on everyone. We understand that. In the locker room, we aren't going around and speaking on it all the time. There is a time and a place for it. Whenever that time happens, we are all at the place ready to speak on it."
(On what he has seen from Laviska Shenault Jr. and what he expects from him this season) "Very strong, confident, efficient, I think those are the biggest things that I realized about him. Coachable, he will listen to me and I don't consider myself a big-time veteran. So, he will listen to me, he will listen to anybody that is willing to give him coaching advice. He is definitely going to help us out a lot. Very talented, and I think working with Coach [Keenan] McCardell and once he gets the hang of the offense and gets the hang of the way that the defenses are trying to take him away and things like that, which come with time, he is going to be a very dominant player."
(On he and K'Lavon Chaisson's history at LSU and K'Lavon Chaisson's trash talking) "I remember trying to help LSU recruit K'Lavon [Chaisson] out of high school. I saw that he was going to be a dominant player when he was in Houston. We had Arden Key at the time, and I was like, 'if we could get him on the other side, we are going to be hard to mess with.' Unfortunately, we were not able to get them both on the field at the same time, really. Kind of a similar situation with him and Josh Allen now. Obviously, he showed and proved that he is the type of player that I thought he was and that he thought he was. Yeah, he liked to talk, but that's just LSU swagger, I guess. That just comes with it. He is going to definitely bring the work ethic. He is going to make plays, I am not worried about that. So, if he is talking smack and sacking quarterbacks, maybe we need that."
(On whether he and Leonard Fournette will ask K'Lavon Chaisson to dinner) "No, I know the D-Line room, they get first round. So, they already got to his pockets. We are going to get 'Mr. 2Live' [Laviska Shenault Jr.] I am going to hit him up for some dinners."
(On his relationship with Gardner Minshew and how its grown from last year) "Definitely. Minshew, that's my dog on and off the field. Last year, I didn't expect him to be the quarterback Week 1. I played in the preseason with him. I am one of the only receivers that was actually out there in the preseason with him when he was battling those demons against the Ravens. But, I love Gardner [Minshew], like I said that's my dog. Any time I have a suggestion, he is willing to listen, he has a suggestion then I am willing to listen. He worked with me on my strengths and weaknesses, same. Very confident guy, and just a good guy to be around."