PHOENIX – Gus Bradley likes what he hears from
Bradley, the Jaguars’ new head coach, likes what he has seen, too – on video, and from his own experience – from the Jaguars’ three-time Pro Bowl running back, a player Bradley on Tuesday morning called “elite” and important to the Jaguars next season.
“I knew when I took the job I was really excited he was back there,” Bradley said Tuesday morning during the AFC coaches media breakfast at the 2013 NFL annual meetings.
“He is elite. When he gets going and gets on a roll, he’s difficult to stop. A lot of teams would be fortunate to have him and we have him in Jacksonville.”
Jones-Drew, a Pro Bowl selection from 2009-2011 and the NFL’s leading rusher in 2011, missed much of last season with a foot Injury. He has been attending classes at UCLA this offseason, but reportedly will return to Jacksonville this week.
He remains in a boot following surgery late last season, but toward the end of last season the projection was that he could be ready by early summer or training camp.
He also said late last season that he planned to participate as fully as possible in the team’s offseason program. He held out much of training camp last season, with this season being the final year of his contract.
Bradley said Tuesday his conversations with Jones-Drew have been positive.
“We’ve talked a couple of times,” Bradley said. “I saw him at a function. He said, ‘We need to continue to talk.’ In my eyes, he’s doing everything right.”
Bradley added, “His mindset is right where it needs to be in my opinion.”
Bradley also said while Jones-Drew has been unable to work out because of the boot, he trusts that Jones-Drew will be in shape when necessary.
“I know Maurice’s past history is that sometimes he leans up as he gets closer to the season,” Bradley said. “I know this is probably challenging being in a boot, not being able to do something physical, but I trust him. I’ve had enough conversations with him that I totally trust that when he has the time he’ll be ready to go.”
Also on Tuesday:
*Bradley said while he was aware of recent reports from an anonymous former coach regarding quarterback
*Bradley said he likes the team’s approach with analytics, though he said his knowledge of the area was limited before taking the job. “I think it’s been great. We’re very open-minded to it,” Bradley said, adding that he particularly likes its use in game management. “I think what it does is stimulate discussion. It makes you think about, ‘OK, I’ve got to be prepared for all these different situations.”
*Bradley said he likes middle linebacker
*Bradley also discussed the team’s three free agent signings from last Friday, calling defensive tackle
*Bradley said he is in favor of a proposed rule making it illegal for running backs to use the crown of their helmet to initiate contact in the open field. ”How can you be against it?” Bradley said.” Safety is the No. 1 thing for players.” Bradley said a concern is calling the penalty in real game speed.