INDIANAPOLIS – Jacksonville experienced a very difficult season in 2012, going 2-14 and finishing last in the AFC South. Helping account for the record was a 22-17 win in Indianapolis on September 23 and a 27-10 home setback to the Colts on November 8. A look at the Jaguars:
2012 Record: 2-14, Fourth in AFC South
General Manager: David Caldwell (1st season with Jaguars; with Colts 1998-2007)
Head Coach: Gus Bradley (1st season with Jaguars; formerly DC at Seattle)
Offensive Coordinator: Jedd Fisch (1st season with Jaguars; formerly OC/QB at Univ. of Miami)
Defensive Coordinator: Bob Babich (1st season with Jaguars; former DC at Chicago)
2012 Pro Bowlers: None
Pending Free Agents: UNRESTRICTED – G-Eben Britton, DB-Derek Cox, RB-Rashad Jennings, FB-Greg Jones, NT-Terrance Knighton, CB-Rashean Mathis, C-Brad Meester, CB-William Middleton, CB-Antwaun Molden, QB-Jordan Palmer, RB-Jalen Parmele, LB-Daryl Smith, C/G-Steve Vallos; RESTRICTED – FB-Brock Bolen, LB-Kyle Bosworth, C-John Estes, TE-Zach Potter, DE-George Selvie, WR-Jordan Shipley; EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS – DE-John Chick, RB-Keith Toston
Rounds with Draft Picks: 1st round-2nd overall, 2nd round-33rd, 3rd round-64th, one pick in rounds 4-7 (rounds 4-7 overall choice not available until compensatory picks awarded)
Estimated Salary Cap Space: 22.4 million
Off. Rank (AFC/NFL): Total – 299.3 (14/29); Rushing – 85.6 (16/30); Passing – 213.7 (10/21)
Def. Rank (AFC/NFL): Total – 380.5 (16/30); Rushing – 141.0 (15/30); Passing – 239.5 (12/22)
Key Decisions: The needs are relatively wide-ranging. Help along the defensive front seven may be a target for new General Manager David Caldwell. The team has missed on a few players here in the past, and an impact player could be perceived as a real need. The second overall pick could be the ticket.
The Jaguars’ offensive line could be another target area for upgrades. Eugene Monroe has been solid for the team. Other than Monroe, upgrades could be thoughts in the draft or free agency.
The Jaguars took Justin Blackmon last year in the draft. They have Cecil Shorts, but health issues have been factors on the receiving corps. Jacksonville might want to add something via free agency.
Jacksonville must identify if Blaine Gabbert is the long-term answer. The draft this year does not seem to have the quarterback depth of the previous two. Chad Henne got some playing time last year in addition to Gabbert. General Manager David Caldwell says the position will have “wide open competition” this spring and that the team would be adding competition through the appropriate avenue(s).
QUOTE-UNQUOTE: General Manager David Caldwell (on the use of sabermetrics) “It’s something we’re heavily involved in and dealing with right now. It’s just another part of the process – it can help us confirm some of the things we already know and can raise some red flags on some of the things we don’t know. It pretty much confirms what we’re seeing.” Caldwell (on need for veterans to provide leadership) “The veterans are important. There is a leadership role we’re going to need, but the most important thing is to get the talent in there and guys that are committed to playing and competing.” Head Coach Gus Bradley (on getting a pass rush) “We come into it with our system and evaluate the players we have. What we did in Seattle is say, ‘OK, these are the types of players we have, let's incorporate a system that best utilizes their talents.’ We’ve brought that same approach to Jacksonville. We have some good players and some unique talents. We’re going to incorporate them, but we also have a philosophy that we'll eventually get to and that's getting those ends on the perimeter that can rush, not only on first and second down but third down as well.” Bradley (on team being a 4-3 with 3-4 wrinkles) “You see a lot of teams that might be 3-4 but on third down, they show some 4-3 principles. On first and second down, we'll have some 4-3 and 3-4 principles and in the past, what we've seen in the run game, some offenses might say, ‘Here's our run game attack for a 4-3 team and here's our run game attack for a 3-4 team.’ When they see us do both, the run game shrinks down a little bit and the philosophy behind it defensively is it pears it down and easier for us and the style of runs we'll see. You'd like to rush out of both.” Bradley (on defending read-option in Seattle) “For us, it started off with having really good coverage corners, guys who can play press and obviously at the defensive end spot, guys who can run. That’s so important in our philosophy. You need a defense built around speed. The corners that press, it allows you to bring an extra player into the box to account for all the different option aspects and that's critical.”