JACKSONVILLE – It’s a new year, and a new situation.
As such, Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks was asked this week if he felt any difference this year compared to last.
“The only different feel I get is just knowing I’ll be here for the next four years,” Marks said this week on Jaguars.com LIVE!, which airs weekly on jaguars.com Wednesdays at noon.
“Knowing I have a chance to help start something, and knowing what my future holds, that’s the difference for me this year from last year.”
So, there you have it:
The only difference for Marks this year is … well, all the difference.
Marks, a year after signing a one-year free agent contract with the Jaguars, enters this offseason having signed a four-year extension late in the offseason. That means he enters the offseason with his future secure by NFL standards.
“It helps a lot,” Marks said. “Not only knowing where I’ll be, but having played in the system for a year to also know all the guys and what’s expected by the coaches. It gives me an opportunity to know exactly what’s going on.”
Marks, who will enter his sixth NFL season next season, played his first four NFL seasons for the Tennessee Titans, who selected him in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. But while Marks played extensively in the Titans’ rotation, he said last season he never felt he was the ideal fit in Tennessee.
He said shortly after meeting with Jaguars coaches and personnel officials that Jacksonville would be a good fit. That showed up immediately, as Marks excelled in offseason workouts and organized team activities, and through his first season with the Jaguars, he was the team’s most consistently productive defensive lineman.
He finished the season with 33 tackles and four sacks along with nine quarterback pressures, six tackles for loss, eight passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered. And Marks said although he entered free agency last season with his future very much uncertain, any uneasy feeling vanished early in free agency.
“It was nerve-wracking as far as getting to that point,” Marks said. “Once I got to that point where I was offered by Jacksonville, it really wasn’t nerve-wracking. I do a lot of stuff off my true belief, and go by faith, what I believe in. A lot of people don’t do that. A lot of people let other people influence the way they think, what they think should happen.
“It’s your life. It’s mine. I made that choice. Usually when you do that, and when you have it in your heart that you did the right thing, usually it works out for you.”
Marks said Gus Bradley played a role in his decision last offseason, and that how the season played out verified his belief in the Jaguars’ head coach.
“Him as a person is what stood out to me when I came in,” Marks said. “When you look at it from a football perspective, it’s hard to get a read on certain people. With Gus, it’s the type of guy that he is. People say, ‘He’s a great guy. He’s always positive.’ I tell them, he’s like that every single day.
“That’s the type of guy he is. To add that with football knowledge, it speaks to what a great man he is.”
Marks, like many Jaguars veterans, said Bradley inspired trust throughout his first season, particularly when the team was 0-8 at the season’s midway point.
“He stayed true to himself,” Marks said. “He had a vision. When you have a vision and you’re working toward that, you don’t let a lot distract you off that path to where you’re going.”