Is Gus Bradley a Good Coach?
I’m going to let you in on a long-held theory of mine – Gus Bradley is a lousy defensive coach. That may seem counter-intuitive considering he was Seattle’s defensive coordinator during the Legion of Boom’s rise to prominence, but I am fully convinced it is true. For one, Seattle’s defensive scheme is Pete Carroll’s and no one else’s. The defensive coordinator in Seattle may be able to suggest tweaks and wrinkles, but it is Pete who comes up with the overall scheme and approves what gets put into the game plan each Sunday. In addition, Seattle’s defense actually improved the year after Bradley left, with the Hawks going to back-to-back Super Bowls in the two years immediately following his departure. In Bradley’s final season as defensive coordinator, the Hawks had the 6th ranked defense in the league. The following year, under Dan Quinn, they were the no. 1 ranked defense in the league, a feat they repeated the following year.
Since taking over as Jacksonville’s head coach, Bradley has presided over some pretty awful defenses. That isn’t completely his fault; he inherited a roster riddled with holes and with a severe shortage of talent on that side of the ball. Despite efforts to shore up these holes, the Jacksonville defense has shown no noticeable progress during his tenure, going from 28th in 2013, to 26th in 2014, and 24th in 2015. Their pass defense has actually regressed during that time. Their offense has improved, but it would be a hard sell to attribute that to Bradley. It’s probably more due to the fact that they have a serviceable quarterback and they play from behind consistently, meaning they’re throwing the ball more often than many teams.
This season is probably make-or-break for Bradley; they’ve drafted defensive players in the first round the past couple of drafts and he has had enough time to mold the defense in his image. So will his squad finally make a leap to respectability this season? Something tells me they won’t.