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Friday Combine Notebook

Posted Feb 22, 2013

A look at news and notes from the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine

Bradley lays out combine strategy, looks forward to mini camp

Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has attended the scouting combine since 2006, and over that time he has been involved in all aspects of the scouting and interviewing processes.

Now as a head coach, Bradley said Thursday that he understands players might communicate with him differently in interview sessions than they would a position coach or coordinator.

“It’s hard because these guys have been prompted by their agents and kind of have a rehearsed answer for all the questions,” Bradley said. “So you try to get them out of their comfort level a little bit. Again, you only have 15 minutes with them to find out as much as you can.”

With the Jaguars conducting 47 official player interviews in the days leading up to on-field skill drills at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bradley said his time is regimented throughout the entire week.

“We saw heights and weights today, then it will be interview sessions this afternoon along with interview sessions at night until the workouts begin,” Bradley said. “I’ve also got a computer set up in my room, so any free time I have I try to get back up there and watch some more tape on these guys. It’s pretty laid out for you.”

Bradley also said that with all that has gone on in the offseason, including the reunion-style atmospheres of the Senior Bowl and the scouting combine, he is ready to get on the practice field for the first time.

“I really am looking forward to April when we have our first minicamp just to really be with the players,” Bradley said. “But this (the scouting combine) part is important. We’re rebuilding our team right now, we’re adding to the core of people we have already.

“Yes, we would like to speed things up and get to that point as a coach, but we know this is so important to the organization.”

Mike Florio impressed with direction of Jaguars organization

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said Thursday that he is impressed with the direction of the Jaguars organization with the hiring of general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley, but reminded fans that long term success takes time.

“The Jaguars have a lot of work to do, especially with the Texans and Colts in the division, and the Titans are no slouch either,” Florio said. “They’re laying the foundation and I think that’s the key. With a new owner, you have to be patient. Lay the foundation, don’t change out too quickly. Now that you have a new coach and GM, give it some time to percolate.

“Give it some time to build and don’t expect great things right away. If great things happen, that’s great. But give it time and work a long-term plan.”

Florio empathizes with Jaguars fans that have supported the team through recent rough seasons.

“I know Jaguars fans have been through a lot in recent years,” Florio said. “They deserve a better product than what they’ve gotten. They’ve supported a bad product for a long time, and maybe the product is going to improve.”

CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang expects Jaguars to address pass rush in first round

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com discussed the Jaguars possibilities with the number two overall selection in the upcoming NFL Draft.

“It sets up well for the Jaguars because when you look at their defense this is a club that needs some help stopping the run and rushing the passer,” Rang said. “This is a very good draft class for pass rushers, for defensive linemen as a whole.”

Rang mentioned Bjoern Werner of Florida State, Jarvis Jones of Georgia and Star Lotulelei of Utah as standouts on the defensive line who could be among the first defensive players selected, but added that the list could have been longer.

“I could mention all kinds of players,” Rang said. “That’s the beauty of being number two overall when you expect the number one (Kansas City Chiefs) to take an offensive player.”

Alex Smith and Matt Flynn trade speculation continues in Indianapolis

One of the key personnel stories in the offseason is the status of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn.

Each is under contract with his current team for next season. But with Smith losing his starting job to Colin Kaepernick and Flynn serving as a backup to Russell Wilson in 2012, the trade rumors continued to fly around Indianapolis on Thursday.

49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said the franchise is looking at “all options available.”

“Are we going to trade him for sure? That hasn't been decided,” Baalke said.

Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said while he likes having two starting-caliber quarterbacks, he hasn’t ruled out a trade.

“Everybody is in the middle of the draft process,” Schneider said. “So it's not like I've had a chance to sit down with other general managers and some of the people I know around the league to talk about what their situation is. As you guys well know, we're always going to listen to everything and if we're not doing that, we think we're not doing our job. That doesn't necessarily mean we will do something with Matt.”

Long learned from arrest, move from Tallahassee

Oregon offensive tackle Kyle Long has an NFL bloodline as the son of Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long and brother of St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long.

Kyle Long also has a tumultuous past.

A prized pitching prospect, Long was the 23rd-round selection of the Chicago White Sox in the 2008 baseball draft out of high school. He did not sign and received a baseball scholarship to Florida State University. Long left school before stepping foot on the mound.

In January of 2009, Long was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge in Virginia, and came to what he called a “tipping point” in his life.

“It was that next day that I made the decision that I wasn’t going to be able to go back to Florida State University,” Long said. “There was some stuff that I needed to work on personally. I took a self-inventory and was able to start the process of recovery. It was early in 2009 when I made that decision to turn my life around.”

Long returned to California to be near his family and worked in a surf shop before taking a recommendation and enrolling at Saddleback Community College. He played on the defensive line and then switched to offensive line in 2011 before transferring to Oregon.

When a reporter asked about having fun working at a surf shop, Long said that he probably would not have lasted much longer in that environment.

“Not when you don’t fit into anything in the surf shop and you can’t ride any of the boards,” Long said. “None of the pretty girls want to talk to you. Folding shirts was fun for a while, but I knew I needed to be in a football uniform in a football helmet somewhere.”

Publications have projected Long as a second-round selection in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Jones unable to show versatility in Indianapolis due to injury

Alabama center Barrett Jones entered the media center on Thursday wearing a walking boot on his left foot following postseason foot surgery.

“It’s a four-month injury, and I’m three weeks in,” Jones said.

Jones proved his versatility by playing three different positions for the Crimson Tide. He started his career at right guard, won the Outland Trophy and a unanimous All-America selection at left tackle as a junior and then earned the Remington Trophy at center in his senior season.

“I think when you play a lot of positions it allows you to really learn the offense from different perspectives,” Jones said. “You stop memorizing the offense and you start understanding it. I think that’s the big reason why playing center wasn’t that big of a challenge because I already understood the offense and kind of what we were trying to get accomplished.”

Lutzenkirchen returns from hip surgery

Auburn tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen will fully participate in the scouting combine drills this week, three weeks after being cleared by a doctor to resume football activities following hip surgery.

With his senior season cut short and without much preparation time following surgery, he understands that the times and numbers he posts in Indianapolis might not be as strong as some might expect.

“The biggest thing is to get my explosion back on my 40-yard dash start,” Lutzenkirchen said. “We will see where that is Saturday. I have no clue where it’s going to be.”

Lutzenkirchen said that he expects to be at his peak at Auburn’s pro day workout on March 5, but never thought about holding off until then to return to the field in order to post better times and numbers.

“My thing is as long as I can do it, then I’m going to do it,” Lutzenkirchen said. “I’m being as smart and safe about it as I can be and they gave me the go-ahead to go full speed, so I’m going to do it.”

“It will be fun to see where I’m at.”

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