Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley has signed a one-year extension with the team. While this doesn’t mean Bradley won’t be fighting for his job in 2016, it does mean that he won’t be a lame duck coach. The extension was announced Friday morning by Jaguars’ GM David Caldwell.
“For an organization that we believe is ready to make its move, extending Gus through the 2017 season provides our club with much-needed stability in every respect,” General Manager Dave Caldwell said in a statement released to Jaguars.com. “It solidifies Gus’ good standing with our current players, provides certainty for free agents who may be considering the Jaguars and helps to deliver the continuity throughout our coaching staff that we think is critical for us to turn the corner. It also gives us the best opportunity to win in 2016. I appreciate [Jaguars Owner] Shad [Khan] supporting this approach as we enter a pivotal season with high expectations at every level of the organization.”
Bradley is going into his fourth year as the Jags’ head coach and now has the support that you would hope a coach would get from his organization. That said, Khan was adamant following the season that the Jaguars needed to improve in a lot of areas to avoid significant changes. This extension likely doesn’t change that, which is why it is only a one-year extension.
Along with the Bradley extension, Jacksonville also announced Friday, that defensive line coach/run-game coordinator Todd Wash has been promoted to defensive coordinator in 2016. Walsh takes over for Bob Babich, who was let go on January 5. The Jaguars interviewed four candidates for the job, but decided to stay in-house with Walsh. He has been with the Jaguars since Bradley’s arrival in 2013. Wash, a 20-year coaching veteran including nine NFL seasons, previously worked with Bradley with the Seattle Seahawks (2011-12), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2007) and at North Dakota State (2002-03). Other coaching changes announced include Daniel Bullocks, hired as assistant defensive back coach, Tony Sorrentino promoted to assistant wide receivers coach and Aaron Whitecotton to assistant defensive line coach. In one more move, the team announced that Mark Ellenz has been named the team’s director of college scouting. He has spent the last three seasons as the Jaguars’ eastern regional scout.
All these defensive promotions are good for the coaches that they affected, but outside of Bullocks, everybody was already on the staff. For a team that finished dead last in points allowed and near the bottom of the league in every other key defensive category, would it have been better to blow the whole thing up and start from scratch with new coaches? Only time will tell, but it does show that Bradley has confidence in his guys and is willing to go down with the ship. That in and of itself is a gutsy call.
Now that the coaching staff for the Jaguars is in place, Bradley can turn his full attention to the The 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl, where he will be the head coach of the South team. The game will take place in Mobile, AL on January 30. The rosters were announced Thursday and the game will be televised on NFL Network, with kickoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m.