Bradley 'pleasantly surprised' by calls for coordinator job
Jan. 07, 2016
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is "pleasantly surprised" by how many calls he's received about his open defensive coordinator position.
Bradley fired Bob Babich on Tuesday after the Jaguars (5-11) gave up the second-most points (448) in franchise history.
Speaking on a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Bradley said he already has received several inquiries about the job. And no one seems concerned that Bradley is entering the final year of his contract.
"I think there's a lot of respect, I believe, for our organization," Bradley said. "There's a lot of respect for what we're trying to get done here, and just by the many phone calls and the many texts and things that I've gotten and coaches from our staff have gotten, I think this is a pretty appealing place because they see the growth that's taking place. ...
"Just by some of the responses I've got, I'm pleasantly surprised. ... Just by the initial response, I'm excited about it."
Although Bradley already "made some calls" Tuesday night, he said he has no timetable for hiring Babich's replacement.
"If it happens in a week, it happens in a week," Bradley said. "If it happens in a month, it happens then. ... We're going to try to get it done as fast as we can. But again, it's not about time, it's about getting the right fit."
Bradley has made it clear he has no intentions on changing the scheme, meaning anyone hired would need to be comfortable coaching a 4-3 defense.
Bradley said Monday he intends to get more involved in the defense beginning in the offseason and he hasn't ruled out calling the plays himself, which he did as Seattle's defensive coordinator between 2009 and 2012.
"As we put it together and we look at all of our options, is there a possibility that I could be calling plays? Yes. Is there a possibility that a defensive coordinator that we go with could call plays? Yes," Bradley said. "We're looking at everything."
Bradley said it was an "extremely difficult" decision to fire Babich, a veteran coach who gave Bradley his big break by hiring him as defensive coordinator at North Dakota State in 1997.
"It's probably one of the toughest aspects of this job," Bradley said. "It's a results-driven business. It's also a people business and a relationship business, too.
"Bob and I have got a long-standing relationship that goes back many years, and it's not only Bob and I, but our families. It makes it even more difficult, someone you care deeply about, you have great respect for and you have great trust in.
"His loyalty, his work ethic, all those things. He poured his heart and soul into this organization. Whenever you have to make a decision like this, it's always difficult, always difficult."
Bradley made it clear that firing Babich was his decision, not something owner Shad Khan or general manager Dave Caldwell suggested or mandated.
The Jaguars regressed on defense in 2015 despite bringing in three high-priced free agents. The team managed 36 sacks, including just 11 from defensive ends, and ranked 31st in the league in stopping opponents on third down. The Jags also finished one point shy of tying the franchise record for points allowed, set in Babich's first season.
"We just didn't reach the expectations we had hoped," Bradley said. "We talk about improving and getting better every day, and we went back and looked at it, and I think we all take responsibility in this.
"Sometimes it falls on the defensive coordinator, and sometimes when you look at it, it's spread out. We all could've had our part in it to help and to ensure that the product was better, and in some cases, it falls back to the defensive coordinator."