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Senior Bowl: Caldwell likes OC hire


MOBILE, Ala. – Experience mattered.

David Caldwell said that was one factor in the hiring of Greg Olson as Jaguars offensive coordinator, and another was Olson's ability to build an offense around young players.

Caldwell, the Jaguars' general manager, talked to the media on Wednesday afternoon at the Senior Bowl for the first time since the team announced the hiring of the 51-year-old Olson earlier in the day.

Olson, the Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator the past two seasons and the Jaguars' quarterbacks coach in 2012 – the season before Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley arrived in Jacksonville – has a reputation in NFL circles for developing young quarterbacks.

"That's something that's going to be key to the franchise moving forward," Caldwell said shortly before the Jaguars' coaching staff worked the South practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium at the Senior Bowl Wednesday afternoon.

Add that with Olson's experience and ability to work with a young offense and Caldwell said the Jaguars believe they found the right candidate.

The Jaguars finished 31st in the NFL in total offense the last two seasons under offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, who was dismissed by Bradley on December 30.

The Jaguars last season started two rookie offensive linemen and three rookie wide receivers much of the season, with rookie quarterback Blake Bortles starting the final 13 games of the season.

The Jaguars also interviewed five other candidates for the position: former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Minnesota Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson, New York Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn, former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

Caldwell said they Jaguars interviewed everyone they hoped to interview during the process, adding that he liked the pace of the process that began 22 days before Wednesday's announcement.

Caldwell said Olson was a target from the beginning.

"He was a guy that Gus did not want to lose out on," Caldwell said, adding that Olson stood out from the beginning of the process.

"He was a perfect fit for us in Jacksonville," Caldwell said. "We're excited to get Greg."

Olson has been an NFL offensive coordinator eight seasons, coordinating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense from 2009-2011 and the St. Louis Rams' offense in 2006-2007. He also was the Detroit Lions' coordinator in 2005.

Caldwell said Olson caught his eye as a coordinator in Tampa Bay when Caldwell worked with the Buccaneers' NFC South rival, the Atlanta Falcons. Olson was credited with some of the early success of then-Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman.

"He did a really nice job with a young quarterback," Caldwell said. "I've known about Greg for a long time."

Olson also worked with Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr this past season.

"You combine him with Coach Marrone and it's a lot of experience working together," Caldwell said, referring to assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach Doug Marrone, a former NFL head coach (Buffalo, 2013-2014), offensive coordinator (New Orleans, 2006-2008) and offensive line coach (New York Jets, 2002-2005).

"With both of those guys we thought it was important to get some veteran presence there … with a young offensive team to have two guys who have seen a lot of different things in their careers."

The Jaguars hired Marrone Tuesday.

"That was a very important hire for us," Caldwell said of Marrone. "It was very good to get a guy who is very well-regarded in the NFL as an offensive line coach and what he brings to the table in terms of his pass protection and the running game."

Also on Tuesday:

*Caldwell said while Olson can't begin working with Bortles until the mid-April beginning of the offseason program – and while Olson can't give players playbooks until then – he believes Bortles can continue developing before then. "Blake has a real good plan with what he wants to accomplish in the offseason," Caldwell said. "He's already started it. He took two weeks off and now he's getting his body back to Square One." Caldwell said Bortles will focus on fundamentals between now and the beginning of the offseason program. "When he gets here in April we'll be ready to roll," Caldwell said. …

*Caldwell also called Bortles' plan to meet and work with Jaguars wide receivers in California before the beginning of the offseason program "very encouraging." …

*Caldwell also said additional changes in the offensive staff "will be up to Greg and Coach Bradley." …

*While Marrone is not known as a zone-blocking offensive line coach, Caldwell said he is versatile in his approach. "It will depend on our players," Caldwell said. "Both of these guys will put our players in the best position to succeed." …

Doug Marrone was named Jaguars Assistant Head Coach-Offense/Offensive Line.

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