Jaguars’ fans will not have to wait until Black Monday to know the fate of the team’s head coach as Jacksonville’s owner, Shad Khan announced Gus Bradley will be back in 2016.
According to ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco, Khan released a statement on Tuesday afternoon that said he told Bradley that he would be back in 2016 despite a 12-35 record in his first three seasons. Khan indicated, however, that there are high expectations for Bradley's fourth season.
The team has shown noticeable improvement on offense this season, but the defensive side of the ball may see major changes for next season.
"It's evident to see how far we've come in many aspects of our game, and Gus deserves a lot of credit for that progress," Khan said in the statement. "It's also evident the considerable work that remains to be done to be where we expect to be at this time next season, which is well above where we stand today.”
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Bradley was the defensive coordinator in Seattle before he was hired to replace Mike Mularkey in 2013.
The five wins this season (5-10) are the most so far by a team coached by Bradley in Jacksonville. The Jaguars could have a hand in deciding the AFC South champion without actually making the playoffs. Houston must win on Sunday to advance to the postseason and hosts Jacksonville on Sunday.
There has been speculation all season if Bradley would remain in Jacksonville beyond the 2015 season because of the record of the team and the struggles the team has had this season on both defense and special teams. There is also speculation there will major changes to the defensive coaching staff, notably if defensive coordinator Bob Babich will return in 2016.
Last season, the team parted ways with offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch after quarterback Blake Bortles’ rookie campaign. The team brought in Greg Olson to run the offense and Bortles and the offense has improved to 11th in the league at 24.7 points scored per contest.
Bradley took over for Mularkey after the franchise posted a 2-14 record. Following the 2013 season, Khan fired then general manager Gene Smith and hired David Caldwell, to replace him. Caldwell served as the Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel, who then hired Bradley to replace Mularkey.
How this team does in 2016 will have a direct effect on the direction the franchise takes in 2017. This could be a year that Bradley is literally coaching for his job each game.