Jacksonville Jaguars Offseason Program Begins, Changes Dominate
By Luke Sims
Feb 23, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
The new-look Jacksonville Jaguars assembled for the beginning of the team’s offseason program on Tuesday. Every player under contract was in the building, except left tackle Eugene Monroe who was excused to be at the NFL’s business management program at Stanford. Missing were a number of faces that the Jaguars have been used to over the years. Key among them being fullback Greg Jones (signed with Houston Texans) and outside linebacker Daryl Smith (free agent).
New head coach Gus Bradley’s message is simple. He wants the team to focus on the basic concepts of their roles and he wants them to execute. “Do your job” seems to be the prevailing theme of Bradley’s coaching career and he has begun getting the Jaguar players to understand their jobs. He spent the first forty five minutes comparing it all to Michelangelo and Mozart:
"I want to really come across as our plan is being really simple. Michelangelo used three primary colors and look at what he did. Beethoven used seven notes and look at what he did. We don’t have to be complicated in our house."
The simplicity of Bradley’s fiery approach to the game is appealing to the players. “He’s excited, which I think comes as no surprise to anybody because we’re all excited and all glad to be here,” said outside linebacker Russell Allen following the day’s activities. Allen, among others, should be happy to be there.
The changes surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars will be obvious as the team completely rebuilds. Starters Dawan Landry, Terrance Knighton, C.J. Mosley, Daryl Smith, Derek Cox, Greg Jones, Aaron Ross, and Rashean Mathis have all gone. Most notably, the defense is being completely reshaped. The top three corners – Cox, Ross, and Mathis – are all gone and two of the top three defensive tackles – Mosley and Knighton – are gone as well. Everything is changing.
“It’s part of the business,” said star running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He has seen some of the best leave in his time and has gone from a rookie sensation to one of the more veteran players left on the roster. He, tight end Marcedes Lewis, and center Brad Meester have gone through the Jack Del Rio and Shack Harris, Gene Smith and Mike Mularkey, and now the Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley eras. They are the constants for the Jaguars and now they are no longer surrounded by as many familiar faces. Jones-Drew continued,
"There will be a time when this locker will be empty, so it is what it is. There’s going to be changes, if you don’t win there’s going to be changes regardless. . . . Like I said, a lot of people think it’s just fun and games around here. We have a job to do, and if you don’t do it, they’re going to find someone else to do it. It’s just the reality of the NFL."
Rebuilding for the Jaguars hit home as the start of their offseason program began. Bradley will be able to shape this team in the image he sees fit because there really isn’t a lot of carry over from the previous regime. Rebuilding began with the firing of ex-GM Gene Smith but it didn’t really become real until Tuesday.
– Luke N. Sims
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