MOBILE, Ala. – When Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell was hired in Jacksonville over a year ago, Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said that he looked forward to having another ally in the league.
That friendship is paying off this week as the Jaguars and Falcons staffs work side-by-side coaching and interviewing the South and North teams, respectively, for Saturday's Reese's Senior Bowl.
"The relationship between our coaching staff on the South and their coaching staff is really good this week," Caldwell said following South team practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Prior to accepting the Jaguars GM position over a year ago, Caldwell spent five years in the Falcons front office, including one year as director of player personnel, under Dimitroff.
"We've been able to share a lot, seeing that they're an NFC team and we're an AFC team, it's not too big of a deal," Caldwell said.
"It's been a really collaborative effort amongst the two teams."
For Dimitroff, the collaboration comes from planning ahead prior to this week's event.
"Dave and I talked before coming to the Senior Bowl about being able to work together in certain ways that you might not with another general manager and head coach because you don't have the relationship," Dimitroff said. "We've done some interesting sharing of meeting times and opportunities for Dave to be on the field when we are practicing and for me to be on the field when Jacksonville is practicing.
"(We are) able to share certain nuances that maybe otherwise we wouldn't have a chance to do if we weren't coaching our respective teams."
Dimitroff said that, yes, there is collaboration, but there is also a limit to the information shared.
"Believe me, we are highly competitive. Obviously there will be a lot of positions that we will both be looking at, so we are very particular about that."
For Dimitroff, it all comes back to being generally helpful with a friendly competitor.
"I've said this time and again: it's about having allies in this league. The ally increases when you're AFC-NFC, and we both know that."
Caldwell on South team position groups
After three practices, Caldwell said a few position groups have stood out on the South team.
"The o-line group as a whole has done a really nice job and competed," Caldwell said. "They're stout, a very physical group."
Another group that has seen a successful week is being led by Jaguars defensive coordinator Bob Babich.
"Our linebacker group has done a really nice job too," Caldwell added.
"We have some hybrid-type of guys that can both rush the passer and that can drop into coverage, so I think that the interior seven on both sides of the ball have been really good."
Bradley on process of hiring LB coach
The Jaguars have not yet hired a new linebackers coach, but the phones have been ringing.
"You do have some time at night here (in Mobile), and you get phone calls and you talk to coaches," Bradley said.
For Bradley and Caldwell, it is an opportunity to utilize each other's strengths to find the best possible candidate.
"I think it's a chance for Dave and I to bounce ideas off of each other," Bradley said. "He (Caldwell) might not know specifically the techniques we are looking for, but he knows people."
Bradley said there are a few traits that a candidate should have.
"We really want to make sure the person we bring in here is a good teacher, a good person, really believes in what we are talking about as our philosophy and a good teammate on our coaching staff.
"That's always the challenge. I think as this process goes on it becomes clearer and clearer the direction we want to go."
The entire one-on-one video interview with Head Coach Gus Bradley will be posted on Jaguars.com Thursday at 12:00 p.m. ET.
-Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, discussing further collaboration with Jaguars GM David Caldwell: "We're actually going to dinner tonight to discuss a number of different things. We can take it from the field to the dinner table as well."
-Dimitroff on what both teams can take from the experience of coaching the game: "(We get an opportunity to) not only see them (players) on the field, see how they interact, see their intelligence level, football intelligence level, and just their demeanor in general to see if they are who we truly want on our team to take us to another level of grittiness and toughness."
-Alabama WR Kevin Norwood on working with Jaguars wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan: "He's real helpful. He's teaching me up on some little things I need to work on and I've been working on them, and he's been telling me that I've been getting better each day. It's great criticism coming from him. At the same time, I'm soaking it all in. Whatever he's telling me, I'm listening. He's a really good guy, and I respect him."
Also at the Senior Bowl:
- The North team worked out for two hours in the morning while the South team worked out for two hours after lunch. Wednesday's practices were the final full padded practices of the week.
- The teams will participate in a community service project, visiting Mobile-area schools and hospitals throughout Thursday morning.
- Both the North and South teams are scheduled for their final on-field practices of the week Thursday at 2:30 p.m. CT. The North team will practice at Fairhope High School, while the South team will work at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
- Kickoff of the 2014 Reese's Senior Bowl is Saturday at 4:00 ET, and will be televised live on the NFL Network.