Gus Bradley has no idea what the Jaguars' 2013 record will be, nor is he making predictions.
Well, Bradley – the Jaguars' new head coach – said his aspirations for the 2013 season are simple, and focus not on record or playoff hopes or even how the coming year compares to seasons past.
Bradley, hired two weeks ago as the franchise's fourth permanent head coach, said his objective for his first season is the same as it will be the following year and the year after and the year after...
"Our central theme of our program is competition," Bradley said Wednesday evening. "That's it. That's what we're going to base everything off, is competition. That's how you get better."
Bradley during a 45-minute interview on Jaguars This Week Wednesday evening discussed a variety of topics, including career influences, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and how the defense he ran in Seattle as the Seahawks' coordinator could translate to Jacksonville.
His biggest career influence, he said, was Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll, a veteran head coach he said played a significant role the past few seasons preparing him to be a head coach.
"We hit it off," he said. "We felt like our philosophies and personalities really meshed in the times we were together."
Added Bradley, "He really challenged me."
Bradley said while schemes and Xs and Os were important in Seattle, Carroll and the Seahawks promoted a philosophy of improving every day, and that approach – more than short-term victories and losses – will be the foundation for what he will try to create in Jacksonville.
"We have to provide an environment of discomfort with that competition," Bradley said. "We're going to play the best players, and really we're going to help those players develop and grow in all areas. My hope is at the end of the year they say, 'Wow, this is an extremely challenging year that we just went through, but probably my most rewarding.''
Also on Wednesday, Bradley addressed:
*What he likes about Fisch, with whom he coached in Seattle in 2010 when Fisch was quarterbacks coach. Fisch spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Miami. "He's really innovative," Bradley said. "I knew about his philosophy. I knew how his personality was in good times and bad. So I felt really good about that. But when he went to college and had to expand, he now has three or four different tempos he can attack you with. He can do it with different personnel groupings. He can do it with different tempos. Those are all things that I know as a defensive coordinator are tough to deal with. That's what I liked about Jedd, that it's an attacking mode of offense and it can come at you in different ways."
*His belief that Jaguars players should worry not about record or winning and losing, but improving each day. "I just believe so many times if a player can just play up to his capabilities – if he can just perform up to their capabilities and if everyone on the team can do that – you really like your chances that the end result is going to be in your favor," he said. "I really believe if we go out there and do those things that the results will take care of themselves. If we do that, you're going to like the end results. There are so many distractions in the NFL. You walk into a building and the NFL Network is on. ESPN is on. Really, as a coach you're trying to clear their mind so they can just concentrate on performing. It is a challenge, but there are things you can do to help players get in that direction. That's why I'm so excited about this team."
*The need for an NFL head coach to be consistent whatever the circumstance. "In the NFL, consistency is really what guys are looking for – consistency in approach," Bradley said. "It's not, 'One game, this is our approach and another game this is our approach or if you lose this game you break boards over your knee.' It's about consistency. They want the truth and they want to be told the truth. You have to hold them accountable and you have to demand from them and let them know there's a new level that's going to be acceptable here. The players have to understand that. We'll see what happens."
*How Seattle's defense, which ranked first in points allowed this past season will translate to Jacksonville. "The first thing you have to do is look at personnel and you have to play to our strengths," he said. "Obviously, I'm a firm believer in some of the things we did in Seattle because it was aggressive. Aggressive doesn't mean blitzing 80 percent of the time. When we're talking about being aggressive, it's read corners or press corners at the line of scrimmage, not letting receivers get off the line. That's aggressiveness. That allowed us in Seattle to become Top 5 against the pass. We pressured on third downs and picked our times to do it, but we felt like good aggressive coverage and good techniques – and keeping it simple for our players and allowing them to play fast – with that, you get a lot of turnovers. The NFL is really a precision league. You can play a lot of different coverages. But quarterbacks nowadays have a good idea of what you're in. It's your reaction time. Are you precise in what you do? Then, it's a game of who can respond faster. I think you can keep it simple enough to where you can do that."