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Day after: Time to "dig deep"


JACKSONVILLE – The evaluations will be thorough, and difficult decisions could follow.

Head Coach Gus Bradley made that clear Monday when discussing the conversations that will take place within the Jaguars' organization in the coming days, weeks and months.

"We really need to dig deep," Bradley said Monday, adding, "It's a results-driven league, and we're not to the results we had hoped for. That's what we need to look at."

And thus, a tone for the 2016 offseason was set.

"We have a ways to go yet," Bradley said a day after the Jaguars' 30-6 loss at Houston capped a three-game season-ending losing streak. "A lot of good things took place. We're very pleased with a lot of areas, but boy, we sure have a lot of work to do."

The Jaguars won three of four games following a 1-5 start, but lost five of their final six games to finish 5-11 – four games behind the AFC South champion Texans.

The Jaguars had been a game out of first place at 4-6.

"You look at the last part of the season and you go, 'OK, we're in a great situation and we have to finish strong,''' Bradley said. "And we didn't. We had a great opportunity in front of us and we didn't capture it."

Bradley, speaking shortly after noon Monday, said while he had met with the team as a whole, he had yet to meet with players one on one for exit interviews. He also said he had yet to meet with the coaching staff in a season-ending capacity.

"Until I get a chance to do that, I won't be able to provide any insight into what's taking place," Bradley said, adding, "As coaches, we have to dig deep. Our central theme is compete. That's what we need to do this offseason. We have a lot of areas we can build on and some weaknesses we have to get straightened out. That's what we'll devote all of our attention to."

Bradley, whose record is 12-36 in three seasons as head coach, will return next season. Owner Shad Khan announced that in a statement last Tuesday.

"Are we close?" Bradley said. "What I like about our team is we've built it through the draft, we've added good free agents and we've set ourselves up with the salary cap and the draft to add (more). We had 12 of 15 guys (draft selections and rookies acquired last offseason) make significant contributions. If we can do that again this year, you can get better faster."

Bradley added, "We're trying to get this to the point where year in and year out we're a highly competitive team. We have a plan and I think we just need to stay true to it."

The coaching staff was a major topic Monday, with Bradley first addressing the future of assistant head coach-offense/offensive line Doug Marrone. The head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2013-2014, Marrone is rumored to be a candidate for head coaching vacancies with multiple teams.

Marrone met with the offensive linemen Monday morning, and Bradley said he expects Marrone to return if he is not a head coach elsewhere.

Bradley on Monday was asked specifically about defensive staff changes. The defense finished the season ranked 24th in the NFL in yards allowed, finishing 31st in the NFL by allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 46.3 percent of their red-zone opportunities. Their 448 points allowed ranked 31st.

"I want to get the truth, is what I want," Bradley said. "You say, 'Gus, well you had all season.' I think a lot of truths I know, but one of the things in my conversations with [General Manager] Dave [Caldwell] and [Owner] Shad Khan is to do due diligence and to get all of the information and to have a strong sense. Until I do that, I'll respect that."

Bradley did not dismiss the possibility of being more involved in the defense next season, though he has yet to decide if he will call defensive plays. He said he anticipates being more involved in the offseason in terms of analyzing player strengths and responsibilities within the scheme.

"The obligation is to do what's best for the organization," Bradley said. "I really want to gather all of the information, see what's best and go from there."

Bradley also said "wholesale" changes in defensive scheme are unlikely. The Jaguars under Bradley run a hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme that emphasizes pass rush from a linebacker/end-"Leo" pass rusher. Leo rushers Chris Clemons and Andre Branch combined for seven sacks this season, and the defense as a whole struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks.

"There are going to be some things you see within the scheme that are different," Bradley said. "There are things that we added within the season that were different on third down we haven't done before. I think you have your core principles, then you try to utilize the strengths of your players."

Bradley said personnel issues make a "wholesale" change unlikely.

"Everything we've done in the draft and free agency has been guided toward the skillset we need," he said.

Also Monday:

*Bradley said the team would be open to coaching the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, January 30. The staff has coached the Senior Bowl's South team each of the last two seasons. "If we have the opportunity to go coach it, then we'll go coach it," he said.

*Wide receiver Allen Hurns said he will undergo sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia next week. He played through the injury much of the season, starting 15 games and catching 64 passes for 1,017 yards and 10 touchdowns. He said he expects to be able to begin training in six-to-eight weeks.

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