I go way back with Brad Hill, from the “nameyournflteam”Blog.com days to Bleacher Report and beyond. He was kind enough to answer some Jaguars questions. Here’s the new Jaguars jersey look that Brad’s so fond of.
Have the Jaguars found their coach/GM combo in Gus Bradley and David Caldwell? Absolutely. Caldwell is still dealing with the sticky mess left by Gene Smith. He hasn’t really missed on many players so far this year. Sen’Derrick Marks and Will Blackmon look like long-term keepers, and the Cyprien/Evans/Gratz trio in the secondary looks to be a difference-making unit sooner than later.
Gus Bradley is the perfect type of coach for a rebuilding team because he’s always positive, but it’s genuine, not the false positivity coaches on the hot seat tend to exude. He’s legitimately concerned with players getting better and isn’t as worried about results in year one, though that will come.
I will be shocked if the Dave Caldwell/Gus Bradley Jaguars don’t end up being a playoff team within the next three years or so.
Below: Brad’s amazing Jaguars avatar based on their new not-so-aggressive logo.
Is it addition by subtraction for the franchise to say “bye bye” to Gabbert and Justin Blackmon? Gabbert? Absolutely. Good riddance. Teddy Bridgewater should be in Jacksonville next year and should help everyone forget all about Blaine. [Zach note: Gabbert was drafted #10 overall, yet he was by far the least successful Missouri QB to end up in the NFL in the past decade.]
Blackmon is worth a lot more to the team on the roster than off it; he has serious personal issues he needs to have addressed. I don’t have a ton of firsthand knowledge of the situation so it isn’t really fair for me to speculate exactly what happened.
Do you like the team’s new uniforms and the gold helmets that they are going to debut this season? I LOVE the uniforms, though the different-colored sleeves look funky on players who wear longer sleeves and also on replica jerseys like the one I have in my closet.
The helmets I’m a bit less excited about. I wish they’d just gone with matte black. They’re growing on me, but only because they’re my team’s. That said, it’s like someone calling their own baby goofy-looking…they can do it, but if YOU try to call my baby goofy-looking you’re going to feel the wrath of Jaguars Twitter. Wait, I think I may have mixed references there. [Zach note: Jaguars “nation” on Twitter is fierce. I don’t really dig the Titans’ uniforms although I’m sure Nike can make them look worse.]
What players are the key pieces to the rebuilding process? The secondary: Johnathan Cyprien, Josh Evans, Dwayne Gratz. Will Blackmon could potentially be counted in this group, though I feel like he’s more of a third corner long-term.
The young receivers: Cecil Shorts, Blackmon, Ace Sanders, Mike Brown, etc. Shorts/Blackmon are a legit one-two punch, and Brown has looked very good this year. Sanders has great slot potential and Stephen Burton/Stephen Williams/Kerry Taylor all have talent but haven’t turned it into production as of yet.
The offensive line: Luke Joeckel, Austin Pasztor, etc. Pasztor has probably played well enough to be worth starting next year, though the interior line needs major work.
The two things most needed to jump-start the rebuilding process aren’t on the roster yet: a quarterback and a pass rush. Quarterback will be addressed next year, and hopefully the Jaguars will be able to add some quality pass-rushers as well.
When this year’s games have gotten out of hand, what memories of the team help get you through? None; I just enjoy the sucking and dream of Teddy. [Zach note: That’s what she said.]
What do you have against asparagus? I wouldn’t have anything against it if it tasted good. Also, SO FIBROUS. Give me broccoli with Sriracha/teriyaki sauce instead. [Zach note: There was a spirited back-and-forth about how overrated asparagus was as a veggie on Twitter a couple of nights ago. Twitter’s the best and worst.]
What’s your bottom-line prediction for Sunday’s game? Titans 27, Jaguars 20. I think Jacksonville has a shot at winning, but they absolutely cannot stop the run, and Tennessee ran all over the place last week. I could see CJ???K putting up one of those long-lost 200 yard games.