Sullivan, Duffner emphasize teaching

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
8:13
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The Jaguars went 2-14 this past season and there was an element of coaching/management that was delusional about how close the team was to being good.

New coach Gus Bradley found at least two things from Mike Mularkey’s regime worth keeping: receivers coach Jerry Sullivan and linebackers coach Mark Duffner.

The two assistant coaches will stay on as part of Bradley’s staff, per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

I think they were the two best position coaches on the team last year, and continuity at the two positions will be a good thing.

That’s particularly the case with Sullivan, a real teacher who came out of retirement to join Mularkey and did good work with youngsters Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. Those two guys will have to learn a new offense with coordinator Jedd Fisch in place, but the primary voice that will be teaching them will remain the same.

It’s a rare instance where continuity for the Jaguars will be a good thing.

All the way back in training camp last summer it was clear Sullivan liked Shorts and saw promise in the second-year receiver. Shorts seemed to have game-day stage fright as a rookie in 2011. He was a fourth-round pick out of Mount Union.

Sullivan found just the right way to develop Shorts, who caught 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. His 17.8-yard average with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne at quarterback provided a real boost to an offense that lacked big plays.

At Jaguars camps over the year as I watched position group work, I’ve always thought Duffner was a good teacher.

Coaches who can really teach are at a premium for a young team installing new systems. Bradley’s shown a feel for that by retaining these two coaches.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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