New Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell has found his guy.
The Jaguars made news Thursday morning when they hired Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as their new head coach less than 24 hours after interviewing him.
Bradley was thought to be the heavy favorite to land the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching job on Tuesday, but left for Jacksonville without a deal on Wednesday. The Eagles then passed on Bradley and went all in on Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly.
The move comes as somewhat of a surprise as most people were assuming that the Jaguars were killing time while waiting for San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman to come available for interviews next week before making a decision on their next coach. Roman and Caldwell were college roommates at John Carroll University.
Bradley’s NFL resume is impressive and at 45-years old, he is a young guy who has the ability to get the best out of his players. He has been the Seahawks defensive coordinator since 2009 and has been the architect of one of the NFL’s best defenses over the past two seasons. The Seahawks defense has improved each of the four years of Bradley’s tenure and finished the 2012 season allowing the fewest points in the league averaging 15.3 per game.
Prior to taking his job with the Seahawks, Bradley worked for three seasons as a linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under legendary defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and for 10 years as a defensive coach at his alma mater, North Dakota State.
Bradley’s hiring will also end any speculation that the Jaguars will switch to a 3-4 defense this offseason as Bradley has run a 4-3 defense with the Seahawks. The Jaguars should be better on the defensive side of the ball under Bradley next year, but perhaps the most important hire will now be who Bradley hires to be his offensive coordinator. Bradley has no experience with coaching offense and will need to find a guy who he trusts to run the offense.
The Jaguars hiring of Bradley will also make them a candidate for acquiring Seahawks backup quarterback Matt Flynn via trade this off-season. Caldwell has said that he plans on bringing in at least one outside competitor for the Jaguars quarterback position in 2013. Even though Flynn lost out to rookie Russell Wilson in Seattle this year, most believe he is still capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.