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NFL News and Notes: Cryptic Message from Jacksonville Jaguars GM and Other Thoughts

What does a general manager do when he knows his job may be on the line next season as well as the head coach? He comes out and tells the media his franchise will be aggressive in free agency.

That’s the mandate Jacksonville Jaguars GM David Caldwell said at his end of the season press fit better on offense in 2015 but was sorely lacking on the defensive side of the ball.

“It’s important we raise the level of expectations going into this offseason,” Caldwell said.

He was right on the money when he made that statement on Jan. 5 at EverBank Field. Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley may be working to keep their jobs past 2016. Bradley for sure is on the hot seat, while Caldwell may feel some heat himself if the Bradley experiment fails to get over in the win column next year. Team owner Shad Khan told the media prior to the Jaguars final game of the season Bradley would be back next year, but there are expectations that must be met – that includes a better defense and continued improvements on offense.

Bradley, who was the defensive coordinator in Seattle before coming to Jacksonville, is expected to hire a new defensive coordinator after Bob Babich was fired last week. It is believed Bradley will be more involved in calling the plays on defense next season.

There is a belief by Caldwell and management that the defense can get better next year, much like the offense did under new coordinator Greg Olson this season.

“We feel like it’s easier in this league to fix a defense than it is an offense,” Caldwell said. “It’s not like we don’t have any pieces on defense. We do have good players. We have a mountain of cap space and eight draft picks.”

Look for the Jaguars to seek a pass rusher or safety with the fifth pick in the Draft in April.

COUGHLIN SAYS “NO THANK YOU”

Once considered a front runner for the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching job, former New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin removed his name from consideration earlier this week, which led to the team hiring Doug Pederson, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator.

The hiring is not official yet because the Chiefs are still in the AFC playoffs.

Part of Coughlin’s concern was about the staff structure in Philadelphia, sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. Coughlin felt he didn’t have a strong candidate to serve as offensive coordinator if he took the Eagles job, sources said.

As discussed on “Jaguars Today” on 1010XL and 92.5 FM, there may have been an issue with discussions that led to his decisions where he was wanted to bring Ben McAdoo with him to serve as offensive coordinator, but since McAdoo was hired to replace Coughlin in New York, that fell through.

KOETTER REMAINS IN TAMPA BAY

After the shock of firing Lovie Smith last week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced they are promoting offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to the head coaching position. Koetter was instrumental in the development of quarterback Jameis Winston this past season.

Tampa Bay posted a 6-10 record in 2015.

Martin Fennelly of TBO.com said the team may have interviewed others for the position, but it was Koetter the Glazer family wanted all along.

“Koetter is a comfort for the Glazers, who saw something that worked — Koetter and Jameis Winston — and didn’t want a change.”

Now, Koetter and general manager Jason Licht will look to improve the team through free agency and then the NFL Draft. Both will be linked to Winston and could rise and fall together if this new marriage does not work out.

Koetter was an offensive coordinator in both Jacksonville and Atlanta before moving on to Tampa Bay last season.

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