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What we learned...

Posted Jan 11, 2013

Here's what we learned from new Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell's introductory press conference Thursday

1. Caldwell has guts. You knew he had the resume. He had the pedigree. He had the backing of good football people such as Bill Polian and Thomas Dimitroff. But could he lead? Could he make decisions? On his first day at EverBank Field, he dismissed former Head Coach Mike Mularkey and ended the speculation about Tim Tebow. Yes, he can make decisions.

2. Tim Tebow isn’t coming to Jacksonville. The quote will be remembered for a while among those who favored bringing Tebow to Jacksonville, and those who opposed. “He is a member of the New York Jets, so I can’t imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar,” Caldwell said. Asked to repeat what he’d said, Caldwell said, “I can’t imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar.” Even if he is released by the Jets? “Even if he’s released,” Caldwell said. So, that’s that.

3. Caldwell wanted to be in Jacksonville. Caldwell said he had a good feeling about Jacksonville from his first interview the Monday after the regular season. Owner Shad Khan wanted Caldwell to be sure about Jacksonville, and told him to interview with the New York Jets. “He wanted to make sure for me and my family,” Caldwell said. “And to be quite honest with you, that had a major role in me selecting the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

4. Caldwell believes in the trinity. In the NFL these days, successful teams typically have good general managers, good quarterbacks and good head coaches. It was a formula that worked when Caldwell was in Indianapolis with Bill Polian, Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy and in Atlanta with Thomas Dimitroff, Matt Ryan and Mike Smith. Asked the common thread between Indianapolis and Atlanta, that was where he started, saying, “The common thread is the relationship between the head coach and the general manager and obviously the quarterback.”

5. Analytics will be a part of the Jaguars’ philosophy. It actually has been for much of the last year, with Tony Khan a key part of the process. Caldwell said he and Shad Khan discussed Tony Khan’s role with the team during the interview process, and added, “I am a believer of analytics. I’m familiar with analytics. We use a lot of the data in Atlanta. We have a great IT guy in Atlanta and he does a lot of studies for us. I believe it is part of the process. Drafting players and signing players, there’s so much information to be gathered and any way for us to get better and to improve our process, I’m for that. It’s not the whole part of the process.”

6. Previous experience won’t be an issue for the head coach. Caldwell’s top immediate priority is finding a head coach. Names such as 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden are being mentioned. Of that group, only Nolan has previous head coaching experience, but Caldwell said that won’t be a prerequisite.

7. The scouting staff may not be overhauled. Caldwell almost certainly will bring people around him he trusts, and with whom he’s familiar. But to hear him tell it Thursday, that doesn’t necessarily mean wholesale changes on the scouting staff. “Right now I know we have a good scouting department,” Caldwell said. “I’m very familiar from my time on the road with the scouts.  I want to give everybody a fair share of getting on board with our system and winning their job.”

8. There’s no timetable for a head coach yet. Caldwell said he has names in mind, and that the wheels have begun turning in the search for a head coach. There were reports Thursday that the team had requested permission to speak with Schottenheimer, but Caldwell said there’s no firm timetable for the hiring. “We’re going to do our thorough research and detailed research to find the right person,” he said.

9. Caldwell feels an organizational change is needed. One of his money quotes Thursday said as much: “When I talked to Shad in terms of a culture change along the football side I felt like it was more of that. I felt like it was an atmospheric change. I felt like that to do that, you’ve got to have a fresh start across the board.”

10. Caldwell can handle the moment – and the media. Caldwell has been in the NFL for 17 years, but until Thursday, he had comparatively little experience with the media. That’s true of most personnel and scouting types, who often are low-profile until getting their first general manager job. Caldwell handled the situation with confidence and apparent ease, and delivered one of the better quotes of the day when he said, “I learned about Shad’s automobile history here. I know one thing; out of 1,000 parts he makes, he doesn’t make rear view mirrors. We’re not looking in the past, we’re only looking forward.”

11. Quarterback is far from settled. With Tebow out of the scenario, the Jaguars have Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne under contract. Caldwell said the team will bring in a quarterback to compete through the draft and free agency, and whoever is with the team, “We’re going to have open competition. . . . We’re going to let the best player win that position.

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