On Monday, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell met with the media to answer questions about Gus Bradley’s firing and announce Doug Marrone as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Caldwell faced questions from the local media and had some very frank and interesting answers to some pointed questions. I was going to write something on this Monday, but I wanted to watch it again, read over the transcript and really digest what he had to say, because it was a lot.
So here are five things I took away from his press conference:
1. Gus Bradley would have been fired even if he won
I only bring this one up because selfishly I am now upset that the Jaguars didn’t win the game and Gus Bradley got fired. It would have been the perfect Jaguars way to the situation. They likely should have fired Bradley after the loss to the Titans, but Caldwell revealed that he and owner Shad Khan had decided after the Minnesota Vikings loss that Bradley would not be retained. This was decided at the Owner’s Meetings mid-week, which is why the move wasn’t made last week.
2. Blake Bortles’ future is very much in doubt
I have no doubt Blake Bortles will be on the roster next season, but his role on it is what is in question. Caldwell made the note that whoever they hire for their head coaching vacancy will not be mandated to play Bortles in 2017.
“I think there won’t be any mandates for anyone that comes in,” Caldwell said. “There’s no untouchables in this organization, including myself, or any player, no matter how they got here, whether it was through a draft pick or a high-priced contract. My vision of looking at this team is this is going into our first year. We’ve got to correct this and make sure that, regardless of how people got there, they have to live up to their abilities. With that being said, I do still believe in Blake very much. The head coach will have a lot of input as to who the quarterback will be.”
3. The new coach will likely be polar opposite of Gus
One of Bradley’s biggest downfalls was he was too nice. I’ve heard people pull the “you don’t know what went on behind closed doors” card about disciplining players, but whatever did happen behind closed doors didn’t materialize in public so it’s irrelevant. Players lacked discipline and maturity to a detriment. Bradley was also a player’s coach and you can’t have those two things together at once, obviously. Many of the young players also didn’t seem to develop under Bradley. A lot of the young guys who are good like Telvin Smith, we’re good out of the gate.
“We want a guy that can bring a winning culture to this team. We need someone that can develop our young players, obviously,” Caldwell said. “We have our list of priorities and what we’re looking for. I think we’ll keep that internal for now, but I think for a guy to come in here and really set this culture in terms of us playing winning football. I think we’ve lost eight, nine or 10 games by a touchdown or less. Those are very winnable game for us and it could be a quick turnaround for us.”
4. Coaching search isn’t limited to just NFL assistants
Caldwell didn’t shoot down the idea of the Jaguars trading for a head coach, as the rumors of New Orleans Saints head coach being someone teams might try to trade for again, a rumor that has cropped up seemingly the last two-to-three seasons. Caldwell also didn’t shoot down the idea of targeting college football coaches, as you’ve heard calls for Jim Harbaugh, Nick Saban etc.
“I think it’s something that we have to look at,” Caldwell said when asked about trading for a coach. “But you have to find a coach that’s the right fit and somebody that would a) be willing to come and b) that we would be willing to trade for. That’s not an easy match.”
5. Shad Khan is expecting a home run hire
I’m still not sure if Caldwell remains the general manager after the team ends up hiring a head coach, but it’s clear that owner Shad Khan is expecting a home run hire from Caldwell if he wants to keep his job. If you watched Caldwell’s press conference you could tell he felt like he’d seen his life flash before his eyes, so he has to absolutely nail the hire.
“Shad, he has made it very clear that he expects big things from me and this coaching search, me and our staff for our free agency and the draft, to have a great offseason and then to have a better season come 2017,” Caldwell said about the coaching search. “I haven’t had to sell him or anything, but we have constant conversation about, hey, I’ll be the first to admit where I’ve made mistakes. And I’ve laid it out to Shad different places where I failed Gus, some things you guys don’t even know about, but some that you do. There was no selling. Shad just said, hey, I expect big things.”