JACKSONVILLE – Here’s what we learned from new Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley’s introductory press conference Friday:
1) Gus Bradley can command the room. Click here, and see if you don’t agree.
2) It wasn’t just the passion. A lot was made around Jacksonville on Friday about Bradley’s passion. Shoot, a lot was made on this web site about his passion. With reason. Bradley’s excitement and energy is infectious, and was understandably the talk of Friday’s proceedings. But Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell made it clear this hire was about more than energy. “What’s more important than that is that it’s genuine,” Caldwell said. “He is truly a leader of men.”
3) Bradley looks the part. This makes zero difference as to whether a guy wins or loses, but does he come out of Central Casting or what?
4) Bradley’s not all about defense. Though he has been the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator the past four seasons, he said he wants a potent, diverse offense. “I don’t want all games to be 10-7,” he said. “I think that was the No. 1 question I got asked on the interview: ‘You’re a defensive coordinator, you’re a defensive coach, you probably want 3-0 games or 6-3.’ We need to be explosive.”
5) The energy is real and the mood is different. First impressions guarantee nothing, and it’s true that there is always excitement when a head coach is hired. And yes, there was indeed excitement last January. But as one personnel official said Friday afternoon of Bradley, “The mood is different around here with him in the building.” Yes, it is – and that’s after just one day.
6) Bradley wanted this job. It was fascinating to hear Bradley talk about his interview on Wednesday. He had interviewed with the Eagles the day before, and was considered by many a favorite for that position. He arrived in Jacksonville the next day thinking he had a good chance to get the Eagles job. Early in the interview with the Jaguars, he said he got such a good feeling he had to overhaul his thinking. That was how good the fit was, he said. Cynics might say, “Well, of course, he’d say that,” but the way he told the story, it was difficult to believe he didn’t absolutely want to be the Jaguars’ head coach.
7) Film and performance helped Bradley get the job. Caldwell didn’t know Bradley before the interview process, but he said he became intrigued last season when studying the Seahawks while Player Personnel Director with Atlanta. “I saw their defense and seeing how fast they played and how aggressive they played with young guys,” Caldwell said. “He has had such a track record of success there in that system with the young guys.”
8) Greg Roman could have been in the mix – but he wasn’t. For a week and a half, rumors and speculation connected Roman – the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator -- with the Jaguars’ head coaching position. That was because Caldwell and Roman were teammates at John Carroll and roommates while working with the Panthers. Caldwell said had the coaching search extended past Sunday, when the 49ers play the Falcons in the AFC Championship game, he probably would have interviewed Roman. But Caldwell also said the connection between he and Roman wasn’t as significant as had been speculated, and that the relationship never made Roman a front-runner.
9) The evaluation has yet to begin. Caldwell said Bradley has yet to watch much film on the Jaguars, and actually Caldwell said *Caldwell* hasn’t watched much yet, either. “I wanted to do this in phases,” Caldwell said. “When I got the job here, my sole focus was on getting the head coach. I haven’t done any more since then. This has been so time-consuming in doing the research and the background, the candidates and the travel and this and that. The main thing was for us to get that (a head coach). ”
10) Friendship played no role. With all the rumors about Caldwell possibly being interested in Roman, there was worry among some fans that Caldwell would be swayed by friendship. As Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said, any worry about Caldwell in that area should be answered now. “It should be clear to everyone today that Dave’s search was not influenced by his relationships, his comfort zone, or any other criteria,” Khan said. “His one and only objective was to find the right man, the right person for the Jacksonville Jaguars.” Credit Caldwell in that area: it would have been easy to wait and hire a friend, someone he knew. Instead, he hired a man who he didn’t know, who would make him continue to evolve and continue to learn. That’s good stuff.
12) Bradley learned from Pete Carroll. Well, “Duh,” you say. “He worked for Pete Carroll.” Yes, but it was also clear on Friday he had absorbed much from the Seahawks’ head coach. Throughout the Seahawks’ ascension late last season, Carroll said often that the team was more concerned about improving each day and letting winning take care of itself. What reads as CoachSpeak is in fact something Bradley said is now his core philosophy, and one around which the Jaguars will build. “If we do those things we have the opportunity to win a lot of games,” he said. “It just happens. It just took care of itself. It was great. Really I have been looking for that vision for 23 years, and I think I finally understood it in Seattle that the players really responded to it and that same philosophy is going to be here. Get better. Everything we do, to compete and do it better than it’s ever been done before and let’s see where it takes us now. If we do that I like our chances.”