Senior Bowl '16: Bradley says Wash will be aggressive

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MOBILE, Ala. – Gus Bradley has no doubt about Todd Wash's mentality.

The Jaguars' new defensive coordinator will be aggressive, but Bradley – the Jaguars' head coach – said that might not mean a steady diet of exotic schemes and blitzes.

"He [Wash] is aggressive by nature," Bradley said early Tuesday morning as he and the Jaguars' coaching staff began coaching the South team in the 2016 Reese's Senior Bowl. "But again, aggressive doesn't always mean blitzing."

Bradley pointed to this past Sunday's AFC Championship Game when Denver pressured New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throughout.

"We all look and say, 'Wow, Denver's defense played very aggressively against New England,''' Bradley said. "But they only blitzed, what? Less than five percent of the time. I'm careful when I say, 'Aggressive,' because people generally jump and say, 'Oh, you're going to blitz a lot.'

"We'll do whatever we need to be aggressive, whether it's press coverage on the perimeter … if we're not getting pressure with our front, then we add pressure with our pressure package."

The Jaguars ranked No. 5 in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per attempt this past season, but finished 31st in third-down defense. That was at least in part because of a pass rush that finished 20th in the NFL in sacks with 36.

"If you stop the run, you have to affect the quarterback," Bradley said. "That's where the aggressiveness comes in. If you can blitz less and get pressure, that's ideal because you can double receivers and take that quick that game away."

Wash worked as a defensive line coach with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011-2012 when Bradley was defensive coordinator in Seattle, and Bradley said Wash's long-standing familiarity with the team's four-three, Leo-pass-rusher based defensive scheme is a positive.

"We do see things very similarly," Bradley said. "It's something where I'm going to be more involved on the defense. Todd Wash and I have worked together for many years in this style of defense, so we do have a lot of the same thoughts. There are some things we'll challenge each other on, too.

"Anytime you have a defensive coordinator calling the plays, you're going to see his flavor, his philosophy. There's always communication regardless of who it is, but I think with Todd we are aligned in how we want to go about it and what's important."

Bradley, as he did during Wash's introductory press conference Friday, emphasized Wash's attention to detail and his success as run-game coordinator this past season.

"He's very demanding," Bradley said. "There is no gray area. He knows what he's looking for. He's been like that with the defensive line, and that's really why I elevated him to run game coordinator. It takes a lot of detail. We talked last year about misfits and guys not being where they needed to be. We said, 'Hey, we need an emphasis on that.' Todd was there, cleaned it up and we had a good year stopping the run. He'll bring that same mentality to the whole defense.

"I think that along with free agents, draft picks and development of our guys who are in-house that's a good combination to have."

Bradley said the Jaguars haven't yet gone through the process of reviewing in detail offensive and defensive personnel and approach from last season.

Bradley spent much of the time between the end of the season and leaving Monday for the Senior Bowl searching for a defensive coordinator. Wash officially was hired last Friday with former defensive coordinator Bob Babich being dismissed two days after the 2015 regular season.

"We really want to dive into it and say, 'All right, we've been in this system for a couple of years now: How do we make this go to another level and what do we need to do?''' Bradley said. "Maybe we find out our first and second down wasn't as bad as we thought, but our third down was as bad as we thought. We'll tear it down, but I think there's a chance because of what we went through for really great growth. I think we can do some things."

Bradley said the feel he got recently from former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was the Jaguars can indeed improve quickly. Kiffin consulted with Bradley during the recent defensive coordinator search and watched film of the Jaguars' defense from last season.

"His constant thing was Gus, 'We're not too far away … we're not too far away," Bradley said. "But that last step can be the biggest step."

Also Tuesday:

*Bradley discussed the one-year extension through 2017 coaching staff received this past Friday. "It's more of a statement just from [Jaguars General Manager] Dave [Caldwell] and [Jaguars Owner] Shad [Khan] about the belief in what we're doing – that first and foremost. Believe me, as a coaching staff we appreciate it. We understand there's a lot of work to do. They showed great faith, and ultimately we all know what we need to do."

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