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Gus Bradley: Open to adjusting defensive scheme


INDIANAPOLIS – The Jaguars need talent, and they need it on defense.

That's not a surprise to those following the team. Gus Bradley knows it, too, and the Jaguars' head coach said Friday acquiring that talent may mean adjusting the team's defensive style.

Bradley joined live Friday at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, saying that signing some of the players available in the upcoming free-agency period may mean being flexible with the defensive scheme used in his three seasons as head coach.

"It's really cool," Bradley said. "You want to be open to all of these players that are available, knowing that if you do sign some of these you have to be open to changing your scheme a little bit to fit some of the needs of the players.

"Although we're looking at our scheme, trying to understand things we can do better, we're keeping an open mind to keep everybody available in free agency and the draft."

The Jaguars under Bradley for three seasons have utilized a defensive system similar to the one used when he was the defensive coordinator in Seattle from 2010-2012. It's a hybrid scheme based on a "single-high" safety and a pass-rushing defensive end referred to as the "Leo."

The scheme also emphasizes stopping the run on early downs, often using a strong-side defensive end and two defensive tackles with the Leo end in those situations. The scheme often has used three "Leo" pass-rushing specialists in a so-called "lightning package" in passing situations.

The Jaguars finished 24th in the NFL in total defense last season, and finished 31st in third-down defense and points allowed. The team dismissed defensive coordinator Bob Babich after the season, and promoted defensive line coach/run-game coordinator Todd Wash to coordinator in January.

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said Thursday he expected the Jaguars to go heavy on defense in the April 28-30 NFL Draft, and the team is expected to be active pursuing high-profile free agents when the new league year opens March 9.

"It's about trying to get the best players on the field," Bradley said. "We have our core principles. We have our core beliefs. But if it needs tweaking to get the best players on the field we have to be flexible enough to do it."

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