May 16, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley greets players during Rookie Minicamp at Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Gus Bradley a Coach of the Year Candidate?

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley walked into a tough situation when rookie general manager David Caldwell hired him at the end of the 2012 season. The Jaguars were coming off their worst season in franchise history, and no one was denying that the Jaguars had top-to-bottom the worst roster in the NFL. Never was the lack of talent on the roster more evident than the beginning of the 2013, when the Jacksonville Jaguars lost the first 8 games by a combined 178 points! Most pundits had the Jaguars as locks for the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, and some were talking about an 0-16 season and possibly the worst team in the history in the NFL. Then something happened over the course of the second half of the 2013 season. The Jaguars surprisingly beat the Tennessee Titans in week 10 coming out of the bye. Then they beat the Texans in week 12. Then won again in week 13… and again in week 14. The Jaguars had won 4 out of 5 games and completed one of the more improbable 5 game stretches in recent memory. Once expected to go winless, Gus Bradley managed to will the Jaguars to a quietly impressive 4-12 record in his first season. Out of context it may not seem like much, but it’s amazing considering how awful the team looked over the first 8 games. Gus Bradley’s ability to keep the team focused and motivated has gotten the attention of multiple analysts and pundits. Over at our fellow Fansided site NFL Mocks, Erik Lambert goes as far to list Bradley as one of his 5 coach of the year contenders.

Gus Bradley – Jacksonville Jaguars So many people have expressed admiration for what Gus Bradley is doing down in Florida with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  They get a sense that things are headed in the right direction and it’s only a matter of time before the team starts winning.  The obstacles ahead aren’t easy, namely figuring out the quarterback situation and building a proper offense.  Still, in that AFC South division anything can happen.  One or two breaks and Bradley could get a head start on his mission to turn the Jags into “Seahawks South.”

The Jaguars are only in the second year of an extensive rebuild, but head coach Gus Bradley has already shown a knack for getting the most out of his players. If Bradley can will this team to an 8-8 record or better, he should be the frontrunner for coach of the year.

 

- Daniel Lago

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