JACKSONVILLE – The timing was right – perfect, in fact.
That was as true for Sen'Derrick Marks as it was for Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley. Of such situations are easy decisions made.
Marks, a fifth-year veteran defensive tackle who on Friday signed a contract to remain with the Jaguars on a long-term basis, said that was absolutely the case in this situation:
This was the right fit, and it also was the right time.
"It's very cool," Marks said Friday as the Jaguars (4-11) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (10-5) in the 2013 regular-season finale at Lucas Oil Stadium, Sunday at 1 p.m.
"I didn't expect it. I thought it was going to go all the way until the offseason, but I was never worried about what would happen. My job is to go out and continue to play. We still have a game left, so I didn't even think about it."
Marks, a second-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Auburn by the Tennessee Titans, reportedly signed a four-year deal worth up to $22 million with $8 million guaranteed. The team did not reveal duration or terms of the contract.
"We're very fortunate to have (Jaguars owner) Shad Khan, our owner, who is willing to do a deal like this," Caldwell said. "We have to thank him first and foremost because he's committed to this franchise and to this city."
Caldwell said the signing made sense for several reasons – that Marks wanted to play in Jacksonville, that the team felt the same way and that signing him before the season ended meant the team could count some of the salary on the 2013 salary cap.
"The message is basically, for Sen', he did everything we asked him to do and more and he's exceeded our expectations and from Day One we said we want to take care of our own," Caldwell said. "That's our intent, is to take care of own first."
Marks originally signed a one-year deal with the Jaguars last offseason believing he was a good fit for the scheme being run by Bradley, defensive coordinator Bob Babich and defensive line coach Todd Wash.
"It (Jacksonville) was shown to me exactly how it is, the guys around the building, how the staff is, the scheme I was going to be in … I knew that coming in," Marks said. "That's why I chose to come here. It worked out great for me."
The Jaguars last offseason signed several veterans to short-term contracts hoping some could develop and be part of the team's core moving forward. Marks moved into a leadership role on and off the field immediately and is the only one of those veterans – a list that includes linebacker Geno Hayes, defensive tackle Roy Miller and cornerback Alan Ball – to have started all 15 games.
"I think we targeted some guys," Bradley said. "Sen'Derrick was one of those guys and he's progressed. I think we had high expectations of what Sen'Derrick could bring to this organization and he exceeded those. … He's done a great job; great job competing, great job leading with our younger guys in the meeting room.
"Every day he comes to work we know exactly what we're getting and it's really what we want to embrace with this organization. I'm just really pleased and I know he is pleased as well. It's something that we knew Sen'Derrick really wanted to be here and to get it accomplished at this time is awesome."
Marks started every game, playing 890 snaps in the first 15 games – the most of any Jaguars defensive lineman and the fifth most of any defensive player on the team. He had the second-highest grade on the defense according to Pro Football Focus, and was consistently effective as an interior pass rusher, registering four sacks, 11 quarterback hits and 24 hurries. He also batted down a team-high seven passes.
"I think he's going in the right direction and we feel like he has a lot of good plays still to come," Bradley said. "We felt like at a three-technique we needed a guy that could give us some rush in there, play the run well and the biggest thing was to hold up that position and see some double teams. All those areas he really excelled in. We felt like that's what we were going to get from him so it's great to be able to take care of him like we did."
Caldwell said while the team ideally would like him to play fewer snaps this season, Marks "played hard every time he's been in the game and has made impactful plays. He fits into our scheme really well and what we ask of our three-technique."
"The more you're around Sen', the more you appreciate him," Caldwell said. "He's just a really good person, not only on the field but off the field to have in your building. … He's a great guy to be around, he brings a great sense of levity to the locker room and to the field, but also is very serious about his craft."
Also around the Jaguars Friday:
*Caldwell said the team will be open to the idea of coaching the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., next month. Caldwell said he expects to find out if the coaching staff will work the game by early next week….
*Cornerback Dwayne Gratz (cornerback) and Hayes (knee) were officially ruled out on the Jaguars' injury report. Bradley had said earlier in the week that neither would play Sunday…. Will Blackmon likely will start for Gratz, with rookie LaRoy Reynolds and rookie John Lotulelei playing for Hayes. Lotulelei started there last week. "They'll both play," Bradley said. …
*Offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield (ankle) practiced on a limited basis Friday after not practicing Wednesday and Thursday. He is listed as questionable. If he doesn't play, right tackle Austin Pasztor likely will start at left tackle with Sam Young making his first career start at right tackle. "I really feel like he's improved through the week and will give us a chance on Sunday," Bradley said….
*With Miller and Brandon Deaderick on injured reserve, Abry Jones, Jordan Miller, Kyle Love and Drake Nevis all will get time at defensive tackle Sunday along with Marks, Bradley said…
*The following players are listed as probable after working limited Friday: Ball (ankle/shoulder), wide receiver Mike Brown (wrist), safety Johnathan Cyprien (thigh/foot), safety Josh Evans (shoulder), running back Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring), Miller (shoulder) and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (groin). Wide receiver Ace Sanders is listed as probable after working full the last two days with a finger injury….