One day removed from firmly stating that no coaching changes would be made, Gus Bradley announced that he had, in fact, fired Greg Olson. In addition, Bradley announced that Nathaniel Hackett, the Jaguars quarterbacks coach, would be promoted to offensive coordinator. Most people, including myself, view this move as ‘too little, too late” for Bradley. Unless this team has some unprecedented turnaround and makes the playoffs, which isn’t happening, Gus is most likely canned at the end of the season. Bradley probably knows that, hence Olson’s departure. However, is it possible that in an effort to save his own job, Gus Bradley actually opened the door to saving Dave Caldwell’s?
There’s an old football adage that says a GM is tied to his quarterback. If that’s the case, then there would be reason to believe that Dave Caldwell’s seat is very hot right now. Quite frankly, Blake Bortles just isn’t playing good football. Now, there is some discussion to be had about how much of that is due to poor coaching, and how much of it is just on Bortles himself. This is where the door to Dave Caldwell being safe starts to creak open.
Now, I’m not saying that if things don’t turn around that Caldwell is definitely fired at the end of the season; I have no idea what Shad Khan is thinking on that end. I would have bet my mortgage that Bradley would have been fired after Thursday night’s debacle, yet here we are. However, it would be naive to think that both the head coach and general manager aren’t in hot water right now. As mentioned before, I think Gus Bradley’s fate is etched in stone at this point, but I think Dave Caldwell has a little more wiggle room right now.
Improvement by the offense seems highly unlikely, given how inept that unit has been so far this season, but something resembling a turn around is possible. Could it be that the offense had just become despondent under Greg Olson, feeling as though nothing would work under him, and there was no hope going forward? It definitely seems possible, especially if you attribute the ‘basket case’ and ‘pins and needles’ comments about Blake Bortles this past week to Olson, a theory that is really starting to pick up steam. If that is the case, booting Olson and promoting Hackett, someone who Bortles reportedly has a great relationship with, could open the door for the offense to start performing at a respectable level.
If Bortles and the offense can return to the level of play they showed last season, it would alleviate some of the pressure to fire Caldwell (it could also make this team a much more desirable location for the next batch of head coaching candidates, but that’s another story). Like I said earlier, a GM is tied to his quarterback, and if Bortles gets back on track to being a franchise signal-caller, it would bode well for Dave Caldwell.
Will the firing of Olson spark the Jaguars offense to start churning out 30+ points per game? No, probably not. Will it be enough to get the Jaguars a winning record and save Gus Bradley’s job? No, almost definitely not. But it could be enough of a change to get the offense back to a respectable level, which would include the quarterback improving his play. If that happens, Dave Caldwell will probably sleep a lot easier come the end of the season.
In a move to help try and save his own job, Gus Bradley may have actually saved the guy who hired him.