Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell met with the media this morning at the 2017 NFL Combine. Here are five thoughts on his press conference.
Bortles is STILL the guy...for now
This a theme that has been consistent lately, as this was one of the takeaways from Doug Marrone’s presser, but it was something Caldwell mentioned. While he did say the team hasn't made a formal decision on Bortles’ fifth-year option, and they probably won’t until May, they still view Bortles as the starting quarterback. Caldwell did say that Bortles needs to cut down on the turnovers, as well as learn to throw the ball away more, but he also echoed Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone’s previous statement that the team needs to be better around the quarterback. Caldwell made specific mention of Bortles’ 64 touchdowns the last two years being the fourth highest total in the league, and until they can account for those 64 touchdowns, Bortles is the guy.
Doug Marrone’s previous time with the team helped him get the job
Caldwell confirmed what everyone had already been thinking, which is the fact that Doug Marrone was chosen to stay on as head coach mostly due to his time already spent with the team. While Caldwell made sure to mention that they thought Marrone was just the best overall candidate for the job, he specifically pointed to Marrone having a two week head start on the other candidates, as well as him already knowing the weaknesses of the roster as reasons he was selected. Caldwell was also asked about Josh McDaniels, saying that while his interview went great, they just didn’t feel like it was his time.
Cyprien and Amukumara are out
Caldwell was asked about Jonathan Cyprien and Prince Amukumara possibly returning to the team, and his answer wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence for either. He said that both players would be hitting the open market and would become free agents. He said it in a way that was much more PR friendly, but that was the main point of it. As we’ve said before, it looks like a big time free agent corner could be on the way, and possibly a safety as well. If not, look for the Jags to fill both positions in the draft, as it is a deep class at both spots.
Caldwell did give some love to other members of the secondary, noting that while Tashaun Gipson didn't have many interceptions, the Jags defense majorly cut down on explosive plays thanks to his presence in the deep part of the field. He also called Jalen Ramsey a hell of a competitor, and noted that many personnel people have approached him this week to rave about Ramsey, specifically his game against the Texans.
What the hell is going on with the linebackers?
Caldwell spent a large portion of his presser speaking on the team’s linebackers. There was no mention of Telvin Smith that I heard, but he did speak on both Myles Jack and Paul Posluszny. Caldwell said that Poz will still be a big part of the defense moving forward, but free agency and the draft would determine the exact capacity. He also said the team wants Myles Jack on the field for 85-90% of the defensive snaps next year. That all makes sense on the surface, but something has to give somewhere. If Myles Jack is playing that many more snaps, it means one of three things: Poz is playing less, Telvin is playing less, or the team is in less nickel. The last one seems to be impossible/idiotic in today’s league, so then is it Telvin or Poz that will see their playing time reduced? Could Poz be moving to strongside linebacker? This will be something to keep an eye on in training camp.
This press conference was...weird
Most of the presser was pretty boring, with some pretty general PR speak answers. However, one interesting moment came when Caldwell was asked if he thought that the offensive line was the weakest part of the team. He said no. Then he was asked if he thought pass rush was the Achilles Heel. He again said no. So that would leave you to believe he thinks it’s the quarterback, right? Well, as mentioned above, he went out of his way to praise Bortles and say he's the guy. Could it be the running backs then? Well, Caldwell talked them up too, saying Chris Ivory had an unfortunate circumstance with his injuries last year, and adding that he ideally sees Ivory and Yeldon as 1A and 1B. Obviously, there is some big time PR speak going on here by Caldwell, but it is pretty funny that the he claims he doesn't see the two most glaring weak spots on the roster as the biggest deficiency.
Also, Caldwell was asked about Doug Marrone’s departure from the Bills. Once again Buffalo media, let. it. go.