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Inside the Jaguars: Bradley on QBs


INDIANAPOLIS – He was as non-specific as non-specific can be. As might be expected.

Gus Bradley was asked a lot about quarterbacks Friday, and not just because he's the Jaguars Head Coach. It was Quarterback Day in the media room at the NFL Scouting Combine, so Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater …

They were major topics for most league types speaking Friday.

Bradley, making his second podium appearance as the Jaguars' Head Coach, was asked about the aforementioned trio, and was asked, too, about the difficulty of finding a so-called "Franchise Guy" at the NFL's most important position.

"It's difficult, but it does get more attention as well because it's so important," Bradley said shortly after noon at the Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

"Everybody is tagged with, 'Is he a franchise quarterback?' That's really difficult. I guess Chad Henne is ours and he's our starter, if we get him re-signed. You're going to make some mistakes, but you hope it's limited and especially at that position."

Bradley commented on each of the three players considered to be top quarterbacks in the draft class, though he – like Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell on Thursday – offered no hints about the Jaguars' direction with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

About Bridgewater of Louisville he said, "He's got really good poise and very good decision making and very accurate - that's what jumps out."

About Bortles of UCF he said, "To give you a complete evaluation at this point, I don't think I'm ready to do that, but I can tell you we've watched enough that we're very intrigued by him, the traits he has - big, tall, timing, accuracy, decision making. Those are the things we take a close look at it. The evaluation process is never over. … I'm looking forward to seeing him really compete. There's a chance to compete here and we'll keep an eye on him."

Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback, is the most talked-about of the trio, and Bradley was asked more about him than any other player Friday. Bradley said Manziel's confidence was important, but said it needed to be balanced with humility.

"It's one thing to have confidence and another to have humility," Bradley said. "Can you have confidence and humility? Why is that important? Because if you have humility, you can talk about your weaknesses and that's how you improve. That's what I'm excited to talk to him about in our meeting.

"The confidence is great and all that, but are you willing to get better and challenge yourself like Peyton Manning and all the great quarterbacks? Can he challenge himself in a way that's he open to being coached and self-evaluate the areas he needs to improve?"

Manziel also is considered one of the most-difficult prospects to evaluate in this year's draft, with some believing he could be the No. 1 overall selection and others wondering if his style will translate into NFL success.

"He's very talented," Bradley said. "How can you argue with what he's done and the plays he makes? An exciting player. I'm looking forward to watching everything and I know our staff has, and we're in that process.

"We've been watching him for quite a while and seeing his traits, but he did some great things for his team."

The quarterbacks are scheduled to work out Sunday, with Manziel not planning to throw and Bortles expected to participate. The news around the top quarterbacks Friday focused on their measurements, with Manziel measuring 5-feet-11¾, 207 pounds with 9-7/8-inch hands while Bridgewater measured 6-2, 214 with 9.25-inch hands.

Bortles measured 6-5, 232 with 9 3/8-inch hands.

Manziel's size has made quarterback size and measurements a major pre-combine topic, with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians saying on Friday, "The 5-11 guys, it has to throw a question mark out there."

Bradley said the Jaguars put more emphasis on timing, accuracy and decision-making when evaluating quarterbacks.

"That's what we're really looking at," Bradley said. "Obviously, people take a look at height but those are the major components are those three things and that's what you evaluate on film."

Bradley also discussed the importance of mobility at the position, saying that while a quarterback must be able to step up and make throws in the pocket, a quarterback running at the time "creates great strain."

"It provides an added dimension to a game and the defense can't hone in and say, 'Well, we have a really good feel that the quarterback is going to be here in all our games, rushes and pressures,''' Bradley said. "Their ability to escape, extend the play and create big plays, that throws another dimension into it."

Though Bortles and Manziel each spoke with the media Friday, Bridgewater reportedly will talk on Saturday. 

A quick look at Quarterback Day in the combine media room:

*Manziel on his height: "I play with a lot of heart, play with a lot of passion. I feel like I play like I'm 10-feet tall. A measurement to me is just a number." …

*Manziel on off-field in college: "This is life now, this is a job for me, taking it very seriously and I'm really excited about the future. … I believe whenever I decided to make this decision to turn professional it was a time to really put my college years in the past. This is a job now. There's guys' families, coaches' families and jobs and all kinds of things on the line."

*Manziel on the difference between "Johnny Football" and Johnny Manziel: "Sometimes you get caught up in certain things, but at the same time continuing to learn and continuing to adapt to everything that's going on in my life. I'm not saying it's always easy, but continuing to be who I've always been is a big thing for me."…

*Bortles on possibly being selected No. 1 overall: "I believe I can compete with any guy here. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing [every drill]. … That's not for me to decide, (but) the goal is to be the top quarterback prospect. That's why I left (school) early." …

*Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron on why he tweeted his hand size Friday: "Because everybody kept asking me. Everybody kept talking about hand size and they were asking me. I think I had the biggest one, though. I'm not sure. I don't think anyone else had a 10."…

My hand was a size 10 for the people that keep asking me. Blessed to be here — AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) February 21, 2014

*McCarron on if he has a "chip on his shoulder: "Definitely. For sure. I mean, I feel like I've been disrespected my whole college career. Because I won. That's usually the knock on me. (Can't throw) the deep ball and I won with NFL talent. … I definitely have a chip on my shoulder. I'm anxious to get out there and prove everybody wrong.:…

*Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray on waiting to work out at his April 16 Pro Day because of a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament: "I wish I could go out there and compete. Wish I could have played in the Senior Bowl, wish I could have done everything out here this week, but it's a process. The recovery, I've got to trust in my doctors and know that I'm getting better, I'm getting stronger, and I'll have to go out there and have an awesome Pro Day."...

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