INDIANAPOLIS – Gus Bradley is attending his eighth NFL Scouting Combine, but this one is unlike the previous seven.
That will happen when you go from being a position coach, as he was with the Buccaneers from 2006-08; to a defensive coordinator, as he was with the Seahawks the past four years; to a head coach, the position he was hired to fill with the Jaguars last month.
Asked on Saturday for an example of the change, Bradley smiled and said, “The other day, it’s the first time that I saw punters and kickers do heights and weights. I’m sitting there kind of shaking my head thinking, ‘I’ve never done this before.’ ”
As a position coach, Bradley attended the Combine only to see the players at that position. As a coordinator, he would hang around long enough to see all the defensive players. Now, he’s here from start to finish.
“But it’s been great,” he said. “It’s been a great opportunity. Everyday I’ve been learning.”
And it was obvious during his Q&A session at Lucas Oil Stadium that Bradley learned a lot from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll the past three years. Bradley repeatedly made Seattle and Seahawks references when asked how he planned to approach things in Jacksonville during his first stint as a head coach in the league.
“Pete’s a tremendous coach – offensively, defensively special teams,” Bradley said. “I think he had tremendous impact offensively. He was in there in those meetings. He was in our defensive meetings. He was in the special teams meetings.
“Every day he was the same person. And he had great vision, great conviction. I think I’ve always had some vision. And if I was in this opportunity, that I have even stronger convictions now that I’ve been with Pete. He’s obviously someone who’s had a great impact on me.”
But some things with Bradley have not changed, despite his relocation and rapid ascension up the coaching ladder. He remains as energetic and passionate as he was the past four seasons in Seattle.
“All this right now is great, but I can’t wait for April. That’s when we get our players in-house,” he said. “And really, the communication, the vision, the language that we want to use in our building and how we coach as a staff … I’m excited to see that.
“I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait.”