Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley**
Conference Call with Local Media
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
What has Blake Bortles done this year to develop? What have you seen out of him?Has throwing the ball down the field grown more as he's grown or has it always been part of the plan?
"I think the big thing is when you go back to last year, our initial thoughts were not to play Blake but to go with Chad Henne. A point in time came in the season where we made the decision and looking back on it, the way Blake handled it and the experiences he went through, I think it was real valuable for him. He addressed some of the issues that he learned during the season in the offseason. Some of it was game managing to owning the offense to just coming up with a routine prior to practice and in practice. I have seen really good growth there. I think he came into the season and OTAs with the mindset to really work to try to own the offense. It is a new offense with a new coordinator. I am very pleased with the time that he has put into it. I think that has helped his maturity. If you go back and look at the first game to now where he is at, I think he has more ownership of the offense and there is a certain comfort level. I think with the skillset of our receivers, we always try to utilize their strengths, and we have some guys that can go downfield and make plays downfield. I think that has been incorporated as we've went on during the year."
How much are you going to monitor Drew Brees' injury status as the week goes on?
"Anytime there is a situation with an injury, you always have to be prepared. You go into every game knowing who the backup is. You watch tape on him. When an injury occurs, it brings it to light even more. We're going into it expecting to see Drew."
What have you seen out of Brandin Cooks?
"His speed really jumps out at you. I think he is leading their team in receptions. Just the threat that he is. His speed really jumps out at you. He has the ability to make big plays. I think he is averaging something like 13 yards per reception. He's got eight touchdowns and he's got some long yardage plays. He can take a screen to the house or he can beat you deep. He stresses a defense in many ways."
I know you are familiar with Brandon Browner because of your time in Seattle. He has had a bit of bumpy year at times and a lot of penalties. Is that just part of the bargain with Brandon because he plays so physical?
"His style is very challenging. I know from my time with him in Seattle that his attention to detail, his aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage, it was always something to deal with for receivers. That is the style that he operates in and he has been very affective at it. Anytime you're playing a lot of press coverage, there are going to be some penalties that come your way. As a coach, you are aware of that and you understand that those things can happen. I know that at times he has been high in the number but you appreciate the style that he plays and know how difficult it can make it for an offense."
I don't think that you overlapped with Ramon Humber at North Dakota State at all; maybe you were part of the staff that recruited him? Do you have any recollections of him? Do you have time to watch your alma mater as they're going through the playoffs?
"I know Ramon real well. I was involved in the recruiting process and I (have) followed his career. He had a great career at North Dakota State. I am so happy for him and for his career in the NFL. His personality in high school and college (was great). He loved the game and was very aggressive in how he played the game. His speed jumped out at us. I am just very pleased to see that he has kind of found a home, understands his role and plays it at the highest level. I've had great recollection of being with Ramon. As far as the alma mater, yes I've been following closely. I know as much as I can. I know they're in the playoffs and have done well and are back in the Championship game. The number of players from North Dakota State that are playing in the NFL is growing. That is kind of cool, that they've reached success as a team and it has carried over to where individual players are getting an opportunity at this level."
Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Blake BortlesConference Call with Local MediaWednesday, December 23, 2015
(Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson) was Drew Brees' quarterbacks coach at Purdue; what have you learned from Olson? Have you ever met Drew Brees?
"Yes, obviously Olie was with Drew at Purdue. They spent some time together and have maintained a good relationship. Olie speaks very highly of Drew. I had the opportunity to work out with him a couple of times in California in the offseason. It was good to spend time with him and pick his brain a little bit, and really just watch and observe his work ethic and how he goes about handling his business. I think that is a big reason why he has been so successful for so long."
Were those one of his normal workouts in San Diego that he does that you're referencing there?
"Yes. Just throwing it a couple of times with him out in San Diego, between San Diego and Los Angeles. "
What has gone well for you this year? What do you attribute some of the steps you've made from year one to year two?
"I think the new system that Greg Olson has brought in has been really good, for not only myself, but for our whole unit as an offense. (Also), obviously the time and being able to see game reps week in and week out continuously. The only other choice you have is to get better, learn from mistakes and continue to grow."
What do you see when you look at the Saints defense?
"It's kind of funny but there are some really young guys and some really old guys. I think that is kind of unique. They obviously have some ballplayers that can get things done. Obviously, (Brandon) Browner is a big guy in the secondary. I think 31 (Jairus Byrd) makes a lot of plays as well at safety. A guy that is a little older that has seen a lot of ball, but I think still makes a ton of plays and that can move around. I think (Kenny) Vaccaro does a good job when he comes down to the box. I think 50 (Stephone Anthony) is a real active guy, obviously that's young, but has the ability to make a ton of plays. We'll have to be on our game plan and have to pick up some of the pressures and different things that they do, and find holes in the coverage behind it."
Has throwing the ball downfield a lot always been part of the plan or has that grown over the years?
"I think it is definitely part of who we are. I know, personally, my mentality – I want to throw the ball downfield. I sometimes have to check myself and talk myself into throwing check downs and underneath stuff that are more open than the stuff down the field. I enjoy throwing the ball down there and I think we have guys that can go down, get it and make plays. They've shown that. Allen Robinson, Julius (Thomas) and some of these guys that go down and worst case scenario, they break a pass up. I am going to give them a chance to go up and go get it. Olie does a good job of calling plays where we get opportunities to move it downfield."
Your bio listed Tulane as one of the finalists when you were considering a school; did you ever come here on a visit? Have you ever been to New Orleans?
"Tulane offered me to play tight end. That was encouraging but I actually didn't. I played a baseball tournament (in New Orleans). I have actually been there a couple of times. I played a baseball tournament at Tulane, and then played in another tournament somewhere in New Orleans. I have spent a little bit of time there."
Did you ever entertain the thought of playing tight end or have you only ever wanted to play quarterback?
"It was a little shaky there for a little bit. I got a couple of quarterback offers. I didn't mind catching balls and stuff but I wasn't a fan of blocking so I figured I'd stick with the quarterback thing."