Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley Focuses on Coaching with Coordinator Hires
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Jedd Fisch and Bob Babich are not household names.
They are the new coordinators for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
New head coach Gus Bradley eschewed the usual list of retreads to man his coaching staff and gave a couple of well-qualified unknowns a crack at coordinating.
Babich was plucked from the remains of Lovie Smith's staff in Chicago. While everyone expects Bradley to be the principal architect of the Jags defense, Babich brings experience and a healthy 4-3 background to the role.
Whenever a defensive-minded coach hires a coordinator, it's usually more for what he brings to the table in terms of personality and teaching ability than for scheme. Babich is a longtime position coach who can help Bradley coach up players and install the aggressive defense he's looking for.
There's no reason to hire a big name for the position because Bradley is going to be the headliner when it comes to scheme design.
Of more interest was the move to hire Fisch from the University of Miami. Fisch has bounced around football for more than a decade, moving in and out of NFL and college jobs. He spent three seasons as a college coordinator, first with Minnesota in 2009 and more recently with Miami for two years.
He has an eclectic resume of coaching influences, but seems to have been influenced heavily by Mike Shanahan and Brian Billick according to Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel (hat tip to ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky for that link).
Fisch will have to have a flexible view of offense as the Jaguars' issues at quarterback make it impossible to know exactly what the offense will look like.
Obviously the team knows it has to find a viable quarterback for the long term, but it may be forced to go with either Chad Henne or Blaine Gabbert in the short run. Instability at the position can wreak havoc on any offense, and Gabbert especially has a penchant for getting his coaches fired.
Working in Fisch's favor is the fact that he and Bradley now have more job security than the players they are coaching. David Caldwell doesn't seem to be under any delusions that he's inherited a competitive roster.
Should Gabbert or Henne eventually get the call, no miracles will be expected of the staff. In fact, Fisch's history as a wide receivers coach should serve him well.
Gabbert and Henne are just place holders to be ushered out when the real answer at quarterback arrives. The key to the future of the Jaguars offense will be Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon.
It will be paramount for Fisch to coach up the receivers who should form the backbone of his passing offense for years to come.
Jacksonville needed solid coaches to help install new systems and train young players in a new way of playing and practicing. From all accounts, that's exactly what Bradley hired.
So while Fisch and Babich are not household names now, if they can help return the Jaguars to the playoffs, everyone will know them soon enough.
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