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Senior Bowl: Olson hiring not about stats


MOBILE, Ala. – This was about more than numbers.

Gus Bradley said that was true of the decision to hire Greg Olson as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator, and it wasn't necessarily about past statistics or any one thing in particular.

Bradley, the Jaguars' third-year head coach, made the decision to hire Olson official Wednesday morning. When he discussed it publicly for the first time that afternoon, a few things were clear:

Bradley firmly believed Olson – the Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator the past two seasons and the Jaguars' quarterbacks coach in 2012 – was the best of the six candidates interviewed.

He believed the hiring process was a good one.

And he believed "fit" on the Jaguars' staff was a huge reason Olson was the right choice.

"I was really impressed with him," Bradley said at Ladd-Peebles Stadium after he and the Jaguars' coaching staff ran the South practice at the 2015 Reese's Senior Bowl Wednesday afternoon.

"You're building a team and you're building a staff. I just thought he'd be a great fit."

Bradley, who worked with Olson on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' staff in 2008, met with Olson twice during the hiring process this month, and said Olson's reputation for developing young quarterbacks was a major reason for the hire.

"He's a really good developmental coach," Bradley said.

Bradley said Olson's ability to work with Blake Bortles will be critical, and he said Olson was high on the second-year quarterback the Jaguars selected with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Olson had studied the top quarterbacks in last year's draft before the Raiders selected quarterback Derek Carr later in the second round.

"That's important, too, to come into the mindset of the organization with someone who feels very strong – and he did," Bradley said.

Olson worked with the Jaguars in 2012 under then-Head Coach Mike Mularkey. Bradley took over as head coach the following offseason and hired offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, who was dismissed this past December 30.

"I kind of had a plan in place (when hiring his original Jaguars staff), but I've known 'Oley,'" Bradley said.

The Jaguars also interviewed five other candidates for the position this month: 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.

"They all did a great job, and Adam did an outstanding job, too," Bradley said. "I think it just came down to building the team. I know what we have in the room, what we're looking for, and I just felt like he (Olson) was the best fit."

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell early in the afternoon cited Olson's extensive experience. He 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.

The Raiders were the 32nd-ranked offense in the NFL this past season, the only team lower-ranked than the 31st-ranked Jaguars.

"We don't get caught up in traditional numbers like that," Bradley said. "We're looking at does the team get better and does the talent he has progress? Just my conversations with him … In think we're really close in mind in the vision we have."

Bradley said a significant trait he sought was flexibility.

"You want to make sure he can easily adjust based on who we have as far as personnel," Bradley said. "And again, I go back to the developmental part: he's had a history of developing quarterbacks."

Bradley, who hired Olson the day after announcing the hiring of assistant head coach-offense/offensive line Doug Marrone, said no decisions have yet been made on the rest of the offensive staff. He said he and Olson will discuss that in the days ahead.

"He had a lot of respect for the guys on our staff," Bradley said. "We'll get a chance to meet with those guys and decide what's best."

Bradley said he didn't anticipate the Jaguars' offense to be one particular style or a carbon copy of another team.

"It's not going to be Oakland's offense or Buffalo's offense," he said, referring to the former teams of Olson and Marrone, respectively. "It's going to be our offense. We're going to go in a room, tear apart that film and analyze our abilities, what we do best and put together an offense that best fits us. That's where that flexibility is important.

"The first order of business is to watch all of our tape and to really find the skill set that we have," Bradley added. "Some of the offense should be based on our skill set."

Bradley said he spoke to each of the candidates who didn't get the job on Tuesday evening.

"We had a lot of people involved with it – starting off with our owner (Shad Khan)," Bradley said. "Shad had an opportunity to meet with some of these guys, and obviously Dave (Caldwell). It's my decision to make, but I think the guys who interviewed felt that sense of our organization tied as one.

"I really appreciated them. These guys are flying down at a moment's notice and spending 10 hours grinding on an interview process, so that's the least we can do is call them and inform them."

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