Jacksonville Jaguars fans have had the pleasure of seeing general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley work their magic up close since they came into the fold after the horrific 2012 season. The calm, collected demeanor of Caldwell and the fiery passion emanating from coach Bradley have permeated through the franchise and the fanbase in less than 2 years. Us fans have been excited for a while now, but the national media is just starting to catch on to what’s brewing down in Jacksonville.
The Around the League folks over at NFL.com have been running a “Making the Leap” series, and the appearance of a few Jacksonville Jaguars on the list has been teased. Still, it was a little bit of a surprise to see head coach Gus Bradley and General manager David Caldwell make the list.
Marc Sessler had high praise for Gus Bradley, particularly for his ability to keep a floundering team focused after getting trounced for much of the season.
"Plenty of those old Jaguars teams would have crumbled coming out of the bye, but Bradley’s group fought on to win four games down the stretch, including three inside the AFC South."
Sessler also highlights Bradley’s ability to coach up young talent on defense, referencing his days in Seattle where he helped players like Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Bobby Wagner turn into all-pro type guys.
“That is one of, if not, the finest football coaches I have ever worked with,” Monte Kiffin once told former Seahawks coach Jim Mora. “He’s an A-plus. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime coach. … This guy is special.”
Unsurprisingly, a big part of Sessler’s praise for David Caldwell was his move to hire Gus Bradley. The marriage of a general manager and head coach is so vital in today’s NFL, and so far Bradley and Caldwell appear to be an ideal fit.
Caldwell also gets points for deftly and swiftly closing the door on the looming shadow of Tim Tebow (even if he’s released).
"The Bill Polian and Thomas Dimitroff disciple could have sold a trillion tickets out of the gate, but instead used his first day on the job to boldly and decisively slam the door on Tim Tebow."
Caldwell received high marks around the league for his moves in the 2014 NFL draft, but his overall directing of the franchise has been promising. Enough so that Sessler thinks the Jaguars can make the leap to a .500 football team.
"Another four-victory campaign would unleash the dogs, but I believe the Jaguars will double last season’s win total."
That would be quite the improvement considering how depleted this roster was when Caldwell took over, but it goes to show how much work Caldwell has put in to overhaul a roster that was league’s worst for a few years.
It’s only talk, but it’s nice to see Caldwell and Bradley getting noticed for the work they’ve put in to turn this franchise around.
– Daniel Lago