JACKSONVILLE – From afar, safety
Starting Tuesday, he will hear it from the source.
And while learning the vision and the approach of a new head coach and coaching staff for a second time in as many offseasons will by its nature be a process, Lowery and other Jaguars players said Monday this much was certain:
The time is right for that process. And they’re excited about getting it started.
“You get to hit the reset button a little bit, and that’s something we need as players and an organization,” Lowery said Monday afternoon, the day before the official start of the Jaguars’ 2013 offseason program at EverBank Field.
The reset button comes in the form of Gus Bradley, hired 74 days ago as the team’s fourth permanent head coach.
Bradley, the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks from 2009-2012, is a high-energy coach who emphasizes competition and improving every day. The coming weeks, he has said, will be crucial in establishing vision, and players who have spoken with Bradley extensively have no doubt that when Bradley speaks with the team for the first time Tuesday . . .
Well, it won’t be a meeting players will soon forget.
“I’m looking forward to having the whole team be in one spot and be able to feel his vibe,” Jaguars guard
“For players, we like to see that. It tells us there’s a passion in what he’s saying.”
Bradley since his January 17 hiring has hired a largely new coaching staff, retaining linebackers coach Mark Duffner and wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan, but overturning the other positions and hiring Jedd Fisch as offensive coordinator, Bob Babich as defensive coordinator and Mike Mallory as special teams coordinator.
That means a new offense and new defense, as well as new coaches at quarterback, offensive line, running back, tight end, defensive line and secondary.
Those coaches have spent the last two months installing offensive and defensive schemes, and have worked closely with new General Manager David Caldwell and the front office to evaluate the roster, evaluations that in part have led to significant roster change since the end of last season.
What those coaches haven’t done is yet is coach.
While Bradley has spoken in person or by telephone with many Jaguars players, and while many assistants have done the same, under the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement they haven’t been able to talk football extensively or coach players.
On Tuesday, the Jaguars can begin phase one of the nine-week, voluntary offseason program, which means for the next two weeks they can conduct activities “limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.”
The second phase of the offseason program consists of three weeks of on-field workouts that may include individual player instruction and drills and team practice. No live contact or “team” drills are permitted. The Jaguars have an April 16-18 veteran orientation scheduled during that period.
The final four weeks of the offseason program consists of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or "OTAs." There is no live contact, but the team can hold 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills.
The Jaguars’ OTAs are scheduled for May 13-15, 20-21, 23 and June 4-7, with a rookie minicamp May 3-5.
Coaches can also begin meeting with players Tuesday. Bradley joked at the recent NFL Owners Meetings that his main concern will be holding the meeting under two-and-a-half hours, adding that the coming weeks and months will be critical to establishing his vision for the team.
Players on Monday agreed that the coming weeks are important.
“When you have a new staff, that’s the first step – allowing guys to understand the vision,” Nwaneri said. “You can tell people, ‘We’re going to be this kind of a team,’ but as players we depend on coaches to get us in the right mindset. Everybody has to be in the same sphere of understanding. If you’re not, guys misunderstand how they’re supposed to approach things. When guys are on the same page, the message that the coaching staff is trying to get across to players is perceived the same way.”
While Nwaneri said he spoke with Bradley at length shortly after Bradley took the job, Lowery said he has yet to meet with the head coach. Yet, while has yet to hear from the source, he said he has heard enough to have a good vibe about what’s to come.
“I’m like a sponge, taking it all in,” Lowery said. “It is exciting, because you have a feeling of what should come out of it in the long run. I know his big motto is, ‘Just get better.’ That’s very simple, but at the same time, it says a lot. It’s simple, because you can say, ‘I can just focus on that. I don’t have to worry about anybody else. I can just worry about myself individually, and in the big picture everyone puts their chips in and you can create something special.’
“I feel like it’s going to be a very well-rounded organization as a whole through his leadership. It’s good to see and be a part of that. You’d rather have that kind of energy, because you can use that energy to create some kind of positive.”
Also on Monday, the Jaguars released nine-year veteran defensive tackle C.J. Mosley. He started 12 games last season and had been with the team the last three seasons.