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Jaguars Go With Denfensive-Minded Bradley As HC; Hunt For QB Next
Former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has accepted the head coaching job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bradley replaces Mike Mularkey, who was fired after one season by new general manager David Caldwell.

“It was just a matter of time before Gus Bradley became a head coach in the NFL and the [Jaguars] are extremely fortunate that Gus will be on our sidelines for many years to come,” Caldwell said in a statement. “Gus more than met every criteria we insisted on from our new head coach and his intangibles and leadership abilities are exceptional.

“Gus is who the Jaguars need now and in the future.”

Shad Khan and Dave Caldwell expect to win and that’s what I wanted to hear,” Bradley said in a statement. “That’s why I am coming to Jacksonville – to win a Super Bowl. I can’t wait to meet everyone in Jacksonville on Friday and get this going.”

The Jaguars finished 2-14 in 2012, the worst record in franchise history, and lost eight games by 16 points or more. Not even Jacksonville's inaugural team in 1995 -- a group comprised of mostly rookies and street free agents -- was overmatched as often. Coach Tom Coughlin's team finished 4-12 back then, losing four games by at least 16 points. The 4-12 record had been the worst in franchise history.

As ESPN's Adam Schefter noted, Bradley, 46, has received strong endorsements from Seattle coach Pete Carroll and current Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who worked with him in Tampa Bay from 2006-08.

"He's got a brilliant football mind," Carroll said last week. "He's got a way of reaching people and touching people and getting the best out of them, coaches and players alike. He's got everything that you're looking for."

Bradley just completed his fourth season in Seattle. His defense finished first in the NFL in points allowed (15.3), fourth in yards (306.2) and tied for fourth in takeaways (31).

Seattle's defense has improved each of the past three years and finished in the top 10 in points and yards the last two.

Caldwell completed his head-coaching search in one week. Mularkey was fired last Thursday and Caldwell interviewed at least three other candidates -- Mel Tucker, Jay Gruden, Brian Schottenheimer and Bradley.

As Florida Times-Union staff writer Ryan O'Halloran noted, it was widely assumed around the NFL the Jaguars were waiting for San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman to become available. A college roommate of Caldwell’s at John Carroll University in Ohio, Roman couldn’t be interviewed by the Jaguars until the 49ers’ season was complete.

Atlanta special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong was also seen as a candidate but he, too, was unavailable to be interviewed until after the Falcons’ season was over.

Bradley interviewed Tuesday with the Philadelphia Eagles before flying south to the Jacksonville area. Believed to be a front-runner for that position, Bradley lost out when Oregon coach Chip Kelly was hired by the Eagles on Wednesday.

Now that the coach is in place, Caldwell can start his quarterback search.

The new GM said last week he's looking at the Atlanta model when trying to figure out what he was going to do. And he did by hiring an obscure defensive coordinator who had never been a head coach. Atlanta hired Mike Smith, and he hired Bradley.

But as Times-Union beat man Vito Stellino reminded readers, the Atlanta model included selecting Matt Ryan with the third pick in 2008. Caldwell has the second pick, but there doesn't appear to be a Ryan in this draft.

Stellino went on the advise readers the interesting thing about Bradley is that he watched Matt Flynn practice every day in Seattle last year. Caldwell has to decide if Flynn lost out to Russell Wilson because Wilson is a unique talent or whether Flynn simply didn't live up to expectations after signing with Seattle as a free agent.

Bradley can give his opinion on whether Flynn is a long term answer. Caldwell also talked to the Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and it is likely they discussed Flynn.

Flynn and Alex Smith of San Francisco, who both lost their starting jobs this year, should be two of the most sought-after quarterbacks in the offseason. Smith has a body of work to study. He was 16-5-1 in San Francisco before suffering a concussion and losing his job to Colin Kaepernick. But Flynn has played so little backing up Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Seattle's Wilson that it is difficult to judge if he's the answer or another Rob Johnson. Bradley's insights on Flynn could be invaluable.

Whatever the case. Stellino's contention that if Caldwell and Bradley are going to be successful, they have to find the right quarterback is hard to argue.

Caldwell has said that he will bring in two quarterbacks to compete with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. But neither man has shown signs of being a long-term answer.

I'll be watching for Bradley's choice of offensive coordinators. That could provide a clue as to what direction the team might take at QB -- or certainly who might be the most reasonable fit among the available candidates. Stay tuned and keep an eye on the News & Views section of the site for more to come.

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