The Jacksonville Jaguars finally ended Gus Bradley’s tenure as head coach, but will general manager Dave Caldwell stay safe in his job?
It “only” took almost four full seasons before the Jacksonville Jaguars finally fired head coach Gus Bradley, letting him go following a 20-21 loss to the Houston Texans in Week 15 of 2016. He was a key component of the “three-season rebuild” that was supposed to be complete in 2016.
The other key component of that long, arduous rebuild is general manager Dave Caldwell, who hired Bradley after a long process in replacing head coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Gene Smith.
In owner Shad Khan’s official statement, he mentions that Caldwell will be beginning the search for a new head coach:
"Dave Caldwell agreed and will now be charged with exploring all options to hire the best head coach possible to lead what I feel is an extremely talented team and reward a very loyal and patient fan base in Jacksonville."
That part of the statement makes it sound like Caldwell’s job is safe. He has arguably assembled enough talent for the team to be competitive, even with quarterback Blake Bortles struggling to be effective. Players like Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Malik Jackson, and others highlight many acquisitions through the draft and free agency that can be effective leaders going forward.
But being general manager is more than just picking the right players. Caldwell will now also have to be effective in hiring a new head coach and ensuring the relationship within the building is conducive to success. Caldwell is a part of the losing culture that has developed over the last four seasons in Jacksonville.
Hiring Bradley clearly wasn’t a successful move by Caldwell before. That said, Khan apparently has faith in his ability to judge talent, saying, “I feel is an extremely talented team” which could actually do something impressive moving forward.
Whoever Caldwell brings in will have to be able to work with that roster and work to make sure they are achieving the best results with that talent. This won’t be the kind of complete rebuild that dooms teams like the Jags and Cleveland Browns to decades of irrelevance (at least hopefully).
At this point, Caldwell seems safe. How long will that last for, though?