- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The tendency in the NFL with hires is to get guys who are largely the opposite of the people they are replacing.
Departed Jaguars general manager Gene Smith and coach Mike Mularkey were low-key guys.
Replacements David Caldwell and Gus Bradley are high-energy guys who talk over and over about passion.
“I think what sold me on this opportunity was the passion,” Bradley said as his introductory news conference Friday morning. “I’m a defensive coach, I have great passion, great excitement. I’m trying to hold it back a little bit right here. But I think with [owner] Shad [Khan] and Dave, given a chance to visit with them, I could just feel the passion coming from them with what they really want to accomplish here. I knew our philosophies meshed together and it became very exciting very fast.”
That alone won’t cure what ails the Jacksonville franchise, but it’s a change the city and fans should appreciate.
Some notes out of the news conference:
Among those Bradley thanked were the players on defense in Seattle, where he was coordinator. “If it wasn’t for them,” he said, “I’m humble enough to know I wouldn’t be here.”
His name: Bradley’s birth certificate says his first name is Paul, which satisfied a Catholic family’s desire he be named after a saint. But his parents intended to call him Casey. It wasn’t long before his brother nicknamed him Gus, which stuck.
Bradley and Caldwell actually crossed paths once, briefly in 1990 or 1991. Bradley was coaching at his alma mater, North Dakota State and Caldwell passed through on a scouting trip.
Bradley said he’s spoken to colleagues who said as young coaches assembling their first staff they made decisions too quickly. He will take his time assembling his staff. “It’s important to find out about people, because it is a people business,” he said.
Regarding scheme, he said the Jaguars would play to their strengths. But we can expect a multiple offense. “I understand what hurts defenses, what causes us problems: Multiple personnel groupings, multiple formations, diversity, with the quarterback run game, with the spreading out, the two-back run game, the zone. All things are issues. ... We’ll work together on some issues that will cause great difficulty.”
He talked of having an explosive offense, something both Jack Del Rio and Mike Mularkey spoke of but were unable to produce in their time as the Jaguars head coach. He said being able to run effectively -- be it through backs, the quarterback or even the short passing game that functions like the run -- gives a team the opportunity to be explosive.
Bradley didn’t want to talk about a timetable for being a playoff contender. He said his team’s focus will simply be on getting better every day. If the team does that, he said, it’s remarkable how other things can fall into place.
While Caldwell’s contract is for five years, Bradley’s is for four.
“My whole hope is to be genuine,” he said. “That’s it.”