Nothing like the praise of defensive coaching legend Monte Kiffin to make you feel good. New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has had praise heaped on him in spades during his coaching career. He has accepted it with humility and hard work, earning more accolades from coaches and peers. Bradley, by all accounts, is being given an opportunity that would inevitably be his.
Kiffin has praised Bradley multiple times and was influential in convincing Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll to keep Bradley on as defensive coordinator. Kiffin told Taylor Lawlor of Igglesblitz.com what he thought of Bradley,
He really is exceptional. You could tell. He’s not just a really, really smart coach; he’s got a great personality. He connects with the players really well. He reminds me of Mike Tomlin. We hired Mike at 29-years-old out of the University of Cincinnati. It didn’t take long to know that Mike was special, and I knew from Day One that Gus was special. He’ll be a head coach in the NFL. He’s got no panic. Some people do, it doesn’t mean they’re not really good coaches, but Gus, he’s special. When he interviews, he’ll knock your socks off. I’m not trying to pump him up, but I know what he is. He’s put it on tape up there.
As if Kiffin’s word wasn’t gold already in the coaching world, being compared to Super Bowl winning coach Tomlin is a nice touch to boot.
Bradley is a unique talent. He has a very firm understanding of what is expected of him and what he expects of his players. He is more than a coach who is simply doing the bidding of Carroll, he has his own philosophy. He even has his own mission statement. First presented on January 13th, Bradley sat for an interview with Carroll’s inspirational Win Forever program to talk about how he and Carroll have similar mindsets. Bradley’s mission is simple:
In his own words he is describing a culture for an NFL franchise. Before ever being handed the reins of an organization, he knows what it takes to build a successful organization. In changing organizational culture, there is a certain amount of fact finding you must do before trying to instill your “one size fits all” mantra or culture. You need to identify the needs of the organization you are attempting to change. You need to identify the potential roadblocks to the success you are hoping to create. Sometimes the change may be too much and you will have to adapt.
With new GM Dave Caldwell and Bradley coming into Jacksonville, they will not have the roadblocks some other teams may already have. They are building from scratch. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be built in their image. If that image is anything like Bradley’s personal mission, then the Jaguars should be well on their way to being a more successful team.
Having written many business plans and culture improvement plans for organizations it is readily apparent that having a clean slate to start from is invaluable. Bradley and Caldwell should be able to accomplish all of their goals in Jacksonville. It would shock me if they were unable to instill their mission into every member of the organization.
Of the most importance may be Bradley’s ability to coach well. While many head coaches are the head of the organization and provide the mission, vision, and organizational principles of a team, a player’s coach like Bradley likes to get involved with the coaching as well. Of this, Carroll couldn’t rave more about Bradley, “He’s the best teacher I’ve ever been around. He’s so thorough, so thoughtful, and he’ll go to such lengths to find ways to make sense of the information so the guys can understand it in practical ways.” For a team coming off a convoluted offense under Mike Mularkey, this could be the best thing for the Jags. A coach that can’t communicate is not a coach worth having.
Bradley’s stint in Jacksonville ushers in a new era for the Jaguars. Everything is pointing up. Now, armed with a fresh GM and a “once-in-a-lifetime coach,” the Jags have a new opportunity to become something they haven’t been since 2007: a contender.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims