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What We Learned: Intro Day


JACKSONVILLE – What We Learned Thursday with the introduction of four new members of the Jaguars' offensive coaching staff …

1.The offense is still under construction …And that's as expected. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley only in the past week finished finalizing an offensive staff that now includes four assistants hired since the end of last season – offensive coordinator Greg Olson, assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach Doug Marrone, quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett and running backs coach Kelly Skipper. There's a lot of film study ongoing. From that process will come the details of the offensive approach. "We're just in the beginning stages of that," Bradley said.

2. … but a core philosophy is known.Bradley on his ideal offensive approach: "We need to establish the run and then have the pass game built off of it, the play passes." Those are the basics. The specifics will come later.

3.Protection is key.That's to be expected, too, after the Jaguars allowed a franchise-record 71 sacks last season. Marrone talked extensively about pass protection Thursday, and Olson said blitz recognition is one of the first things he emphasizes with young quarterbacks. "Especially at this level, you have to understand where the free hitters are coming from, how to change protections so that you're not having free hitters on the quarterback," Olson said. "Making those calls is in that whole developmental phase; that has to be number one in my opinion. Otherwise, I just don't think they last. If those things continue, it's very difficult to develop as a quarterback."

4.No, we mean pass protection is really, really key …Olson said working with quarterback Blake Bortles on protection will be a priority. "We'll make sure he understands what we're doing protection-wise and will be able to get us in the right position out of a bad protection and into a better protection," he said. "Those are things that he'll jump into immediately."

5.And once again, quarterback couldn't be more important.If Olson has had a theme since his hiring, this has been it: Bortles' development is far and away the priority. It's a quarterback-driven league, and Olson has left no doubt his belief in that. "You have to start with the quarterback in mind, especially when it's a young guy," Olson said. "The expectations, where this kid was taken, and the expectation-level and talent-level, if everything we do is not with Blake Bortles' development in mind, then we're selling the franchise short and the team short."

6.Frank Scelfo will be on staff …The quarterbacks coach the past two seasons, Scelfo now will hold the title of senior offensive assistant. "It's kind of a position in the NFL where you take a guy that's had a wealth of experience and you utilize his traits to watch the whole offense and bring new ideas," Bradley said, adding that Scelfo also will be involved in game-planning and preparing for future opponents.

7. … so will Jerry Sullivan and Ron Middleton.Bradley confirmed that the veteran wide receivers coach and tight ends coach also will remain on staff.

8.The staff developed organically.Bradley touched on this at the Senior Bowl upon hiring Olson and Marrone, but it was clear Thursday he did not go into the hiring process with a preconceived notion. "In conversations with (General Manager) Dave (Caldwell) and (Owner) Shad (Khan) in the beginning it's like, 'Now we're in this situation, let's really compete, let's really do everything we can to find out about as many people as we can, interview as many people and find out what's available and how we can better this organization,'" Bradley said. That process appeared to apply particularly to the hiring of Marrone. Bradley said when the two first talked last month it was more about philosophy and approach; as the process played out, Bradley said the idea of hiring Marrone as offensive line coach/assistant head coach took shape.

9.Bradley believes in Marrone …How much did Marrone's well-publicized resignation last month as Bills head coach matter to Bradley? Barely at all. "To me, I could sense where he was at in his journey in what he was trying to figure out and what went on," Bradley said.

10. … and Marrone is ready to coach the offensive line. Marrone hasn't coached a position group since 2005, having been the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator (2006-2008), the head coach at Syracuse (2009-2012) and the head coach of the Bills in nine seasons since. But Bradley said Marrone was clearly warm to the idea of working with the line, emphasizing that Marrone wanted to "get back to coaching guys with their hand in the ground." Marrone later talked about the strong bond between a position coach and players, and said he's not in Jacksonville thinking about his next job.

11.The Jaguars are still going to zone block. Bradley said the offensive line approach will remain similar to last season, which means primarily zone-blocking concepts with some gap blocking as well.

12.Bradley's big on flexibility… If you've listened to Bradley at all in the last five weeks you've heard him talk about the ability to adapt to personnel. He talked about it Thursday in relation to Olson's hiring. "You want guys that are flexible, adaptable, versatile, that are willing to adjust based on the personnel that you have," Bradley said. "I think that's what we have in Oley."

13.Marrone likes Joeckel.The second-year veteran struggled at times in his first full season as a starter last season, but Marrone left little doubt that he thinks Joeckel can play and that he's the left tackle.

14.Experience mattered …Three of the four offensive hires have NFL coordinator experience – Hackett, Marrone and Olson – and Skipper has been a running backs coach the past six seasons.

15. … but caution was the watchword.Bradley said one concern with so much coordinator experience was being sure the staff could work together seamlessly. "There's a theory that one bad general is better than three good generals," he said. "That's where I had to take some time and say with these guys and this experience that they've had, the ideas that they bring, could we mesh everybody together and form a really, really strong group of coaches?" Bradley decided the answer was yes. "As I was going through the process it started to come together real well," he said.

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