/FIRED: Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley

FIRED: Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley

Via The Florida Times-Union

Although two weeks earlier than expected, the ax fell on Jaguars coach Gus Bradley late Sunday afternoon after the team’s ninth consecutive loss and with two games remaining in the franchise’s most disappointing season.
Owner Shad Khan made the decision to fire Bradley, who was informed by general manager Dave Caldwell moments after the Jaguars lost 21-20 to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.
Bradley traveled back to Jacksonville on the Jaguars’ charter flight.
Caldwell remains in charge of the team’s football operations and will conduct a press conference Monday to name an interim coach for games Saturday against Tennessee and Jan. 1 at Indianapolis. Offensive line coach Doug Marrone is the only staff member with NFL head coaching experience.
In a statement, Khan said Caldwell — also on the hot seat because of the team’s underperformance — will remain in place and lead the search for a new coach. Khan clearly thought the team was built better by Caldwell than it was coached by Bradley.
The Jaguars (2-12) have the third-worst record in the NFL this year and fired a coach in-season for the second time — Jack Del Rio was turfed in 2011.
Bradley is the second coach this year and this week to be fired; the Los Angeles Rams fired Jeff Fisher last Monday.
Timeline: Gus Bradley’s tenure as Jaguars head coach
“It is unfortunately evident that we must make a change,” Khan said in a statement. “I thought it would be best to do it immediately after [Sunday’s] result so Gus can step away, relax and regroup with his family during the Christmas and holiday season.
“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.”
If Caldwell has a mandate that head coaching experience is required, the Jaguars are expected to pursue offensive coordinators Josh McDaniels (New England) and Todd Haley (Pittsburgh) and defensive coordinator Mike Smith (Tampa Bay).
If the Jaguars move to a second part of their list that contains first-time head coaches, some of the prominent names in the league this year are offensive coordinators Kyle Shanahan (Atlanta), Sean McVay (Washington) and Anthony Lynn (Buffalo).
One coach the Jaguars are free to speak with immediately is Tom Coughlin, the first coach in franchise history who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants and now works in the NFL office.
The Jaguars last made the playoffs in 2007, which was also their last winning season. Coughlin experienced his greatest sideline success after the Jaguars fired him following the 2002 season.
Bradley’s fate appeared to be sealed throughout the current losing streak, but those close to Khan believed he would wait until the season was complete to fire him.
But in an effort to get a head start on finding Bradley’s replacement, Khan acted after the Jaguars blew a 20-8 second-half lead to the Texans, a division rival they lost to for the sixth consecutive time.
Bradley and the entire Jaguars coaching staff signed one-year extensions last January that carry them through the 2017 season.
Caldwell has one year remaining on the contract he signed in January 2013 and his job will ride on hiring a replacement that can quickly turn around the Jaguars’ fortunes.
Bradley’s winning percentage of .223 (14-48) is the worst all-time among NFL coaches with at least 60 games of experience.
By season, the Jaguars were 4-12, 3-13, 5-11 and 2-12 under Bradley.
Khan showed patience through the losing. He approved the firing of three coordinators by Bradley, including offensive play-caller Greg Olson after seven games this year and didn’t fire Bradley after the Jaguars’ 36-22 prime-time meltdown at Tennessee on Oct. 27.
What doomed this year was an offense that took multiple steps back – quarterback Blake Bortles’ 16 interceptions are tied for second-most in the NFL and receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are unlikely to match their 1,000-yard breakout years of 2015. The new coach must decide if Bortles is the starter moving forward or competition needs to be acquired.
On defense, the Jaguars waited until their fourth off-season to make big additions in free agency and while improved, it was a unit that failed to make game-changing plays.
Popular in the locker room and within the entire organization for his upbeat and open personality, Bradley leaves many friends with the Jaguars, but some of them also realize the need for a fresh start.
“As anyone close to our team knows, Gus gave his staff and players literally everything he had,” Khan said in his statement. “Our players competed for Gus and I know they have great respect for him, as do I. Gus also represented the Jaguars, the Jacksonville community and the NFL in nothing less than a first-class manner as our head coach. That counts for a lot.”
But it doesn’t count for everything, as Bradley learned Sunday.

Advertisements