Gus Bradley is the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, bucking a common trend this offseason of teams going with offensive-minded coaches to lead their squads. Bradley lands in the Sunshine State after having spent the past four seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks.
During his stay in the Emerald City, Bradley helped turn Seattle’s defense from one of the NFL’s worst (ranked 25th in points allowed in 2009) to one of its best (ranked first in 2012), thanks to a fluid, attacking style and aided by aggressive pass rushers and tough-minded defensive backs. He has a tough task on his hands as he attempts to rebuild the league’s 29th-ranked scoring defense.
Despite that, Bradley says his top priority is to shore up the Jaguars offense. That could be an even bigger task since Jacksonville ended 2012 as the NFL’s 30th-ranked offensive unit. Some of that had to do with a foot injury that kept Maurice Jones-Drew out for most of the season. More of the problem lies with the underachievement of Blaine Gabbert and Justin Blackmon — though Blackmon started to come around late in the season. Still, it seems counter-intuitive that a man who has made his living coaching defenses could or should be tasked with trying to resurrect a moribund offense.
Having a healthy Jones-Drew can help some of Jacksonville’s issues. Cecil Shorts III was a revelation in 2012, but there are serious questions as to whether Gabbert is the QB of the future — we already know Chad Henne isn’t the long-term answer — and if not, where does the team go? It was made abundantly clear that Tim Tebow won’t be wearing teal and black anytime soon.
It’s all a very big job for a man who has just four years as a NFL defensive coordinator and a total of four months’ experience as a head coach…at North Dakota State. Right now, it inspires very little confidence in the fantasy fortunes of any Jaguars players in 2013.
– Marcas Grant
Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG