INDIANAPOLIS – If they were not familiar before, people around the NFL are starting to take notice of Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley’s enthusiasm and focus.
One person who already knew that enthusiasm and focus first-hand is Bradley’s former boss, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
Carroll said that the Jaguars second-half turnaround showed what type of leader Bradley is.
“He stayed to the guns of what he believes in, stuck to it, and they started competing like crazy at the midpoint of the year, started winning games and playing so much better,” Carroll told Jaguars.com exclusively on Thursday afternoon.
“I think it was a great statement about his approach and his toughness as a coach and as a leader. I was really fired up.”
Bradley was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator under Carroll from 2009-12.
Carroll said that circumstances around a team, such as the Jaguars start in 2013, should not and did not change any of Bradley’s core coaching philosophies.
“You either have a philosophy or you don’t,” Carroll said. “That doesn’t have to do with the circumstances around you, you’ve got an approach. Gus has one.
“He’s got a mentality that withstood a tremendous challenge, his players stuck with him and they started to turn around performances, they started winning football games and now they’re ready to go. It should be a really exciting offseason for them (Jaguars).”
Carroll said that he and Bradley do remain connected, and that the Jaguars’ Head Coach has support from Seattle.
“We do talk some, not as much during the week when we’re playing, but we try to stay in touch,” Carroll said.
“I’m always there to help him. Gus gave me everything he had and I, in like, will return that whenever possible.”
Florio says Caldwell is confident, patient
ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports analyst Mike Florio was among the national media members who visited with Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell on Thursday afternoon.
Florio said that in his second season as the Jaguars’ top executive, Caldwell is becoming more acclimated to his role and the direction of the Jaguars organization.
“He’s getting comfortable, he’s getting confident, he realizes that there is a long way to go,” Florio said.
“He told me yesterday (Thursday) that they (Jaguars) acquired a lot of camaraderie during the trip to London, and then they came back and that’s when they found the gas pedal. The challenge this year is to acquire that camaraderie earlier in the season, have it ready for Week One and come out of the gates.”
Florio said that any given year a team can turn things around and gain momentum, including the Jaguars.
“We see it every year – a team starts hot, they stay hot and next thing you know they’re in the playoffs,” Florio said. “It can happen for any team in any given year. You look at what the Chiefs did last year; it can happen with the Jaguars.
“It can happen for anybody this year.”
Florio said that he understands Jaguars fans might have a negative response to his analysis and comments on occasion, but he said that he hates or loves the Jaguars organization just as much as any other in the NFL.
“If you say something bad about their team, you hate the team; if you say something good about the team, then you love the team,” Florio said. “Under that standard, I both hate and love every single team in the National Football League because I’ve said something good or bad about every one of them at some point.”
Florio said that football fans in Jacksonville deserve a good football product, and that improvement is on the way.
“Jacksonville deserves to have a good football team, and things could be moving back in that direction,” Florio said. “It seems so long ago that the Jaguars were one of the elite teams in AFC, but I have faith in Gus Bradley and I have a lot of faith in Dave Caldwell.”
He added that one position in particular could help that improvement come faster.
“Get a quarterback and things could move back in the right direction.”
Florio on Michael Sam story: “I don’t care at this point”
Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who is expected to be the first openly homosexual player drafted into the NFL, is scheduled to meet the media Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
For Florio, the timing of his announcement makes the story a non-story.
“With Michael Sam, what more can you ask that isn’t already out there?” Florio said. “There aren’t a whole lot of questions that you can ask Michael Sam until it becomes incredibly repetitive.
“I think this all dies down. The teams have said what they have to say. I’ve been doing interviews the last day or two, and I don’t care at this point. Lets’ see where he gets drafted – let’s hope he gets drafted based only on football ability – and then the team that he gets drafted by, their players are going to have to adjust to this new reality.”
Florio said that, at least on a national media level, that the timing of Sam’s announcement and today’s media session could be overshadowed by the fallout from the Incognito/Martin situation in Miami.
“Maybe in hindsight, it was the best way to do it because maybe we all forgot about it,” Florio said. “It will pop up as a story at various points on the calendar, but I think also the perfect bookend was the Dolphins report coming out on Friday.”
Florio said that there is a distinct difference between the two situations.
“You want to call Michael Sam a distraction? No, here’s a distraction (Dolphins situation). This is a distraction. Now, Michael Sam is a distraction in the way that (television show) ‘Hard Knocks’ would be, in that you would have more media coverage. That doesn’t make it a bad thing.
“A distraction or a disruption is what happened with the Dolphins.”
Manziel meets the media
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel met a packed media room Friday afternoon, and answered a wide range of questions from his reported meeting with a counselor in college to his leadership skills.
For Manziel, the Aggies’ comeback win over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl was proof of what his leadership can bring to a team.
“I think you can ask my teammates, you can go back and ask anybody that when we needed to make a play, I think those guys would want the ball in my hands,” Manziel said. “I think a good example is the Duke game. We weren’t looking as good as we wanted to in the first half, but between me and some of these seniors, we had to get the troops rallied and continue to say that no matter how deep, how dark it looked on the scoreboard, just keep plugging away that the ball would eventually bounce our way.
“I think the guys on my team know that I’ll do anything and everything for them until there’s no time left on the clock, on or off the field, whatever it may be.”
Manziel also clarified a recent story where he was quoted as challenging the Houston Texans to not draft him No. 1 overall.
“I wish there would have been other comments from the article taken more seriously than that one,” Manziel said. “The main thing that I wanted portrayed… whether it was any of the 32 teams in the NFL, that whenever I do get to that team, whenever I am in that organization, that each one of those guys is now my teammates, my brothers. Whenever I’m on the field with those guys, whatever it takes to try to be successful to try to get a victory is what I’m going to do.
“I’m going to do anything for that team and anything for that organization to try to be great and try to be the best football player I can be. That’s what I wanted more than anything.”
Elway on what the Broncos can improve
The Denver Broncos put up an impressive regular season, but fell short of the championship in a Super Bowl loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway said that there are a few things that could improve now that the team has knocked on the door of a championship.
“I think that when you look at the numbers, offensively you’re going to say that we don’t have to get much better because you can’t put up better numbers than we put up offensively,” Elway said. “Defensively we had a lot of injuries over there, but we didn’t play as consistent as we had the year before.”
Elway said that the Super Bowl loss proved that the team needed to adjust the mentality of coming back.
“I think when you look at the Super Bowl and the way we played, there’s a mentality there that we want to create that when we get down like that in a situation we want to be able to turn it around.
“We weren’t able to do it in the Super Bowl. We were able to do it earlier in the year. I think there’s always a mentality and we try to create that mentality.”
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