USA TODAY Sports
With a new owner, GM, and head coach, the Jacksonville Jaguars head into 2013 seeking a fresh beginning. Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell spoke to the media today at the scouting combine about his new team.
Q: What did you learn from time with Colts?
A: Initially my years with the Colts, that was the foundation for my scouting background – how to scout and how to evaluate. That was the foundation for what got me here today.
Q: How beneficial was the time in Atlanta?
A: Atlanta was great. That was just taking things to the next level. Thomas Dimitroff knew how to think globally in terms of building a franchise but how to lead, how to manage people.
A: Greg was on our radar and he probably would have merited an opportunity to interview but when Gus came through, he really knocked my doors off and I knew he was a head coach in waiting.
Q: Was there an element of being too close to Roman?
A: No, not at all. Hiring Gus, I knew he was going to make me better because there wasn’t that comfort zone. For me to come in and challenge everyday was going to be exciting and where we could go together.
Q: Have you talked to Greg about things since season ended?
A: Greg and I have spoken. We remain very good friends.
Q: On the roster you inherited and Shad Khan using the word "delusional" to describe last year?
A: The delusional part came from the amount of money they spent in free agency last year thinking they may be one or two pieces away and then to come back and have the end result be a 2-14 season. There is a good core of players here that we feel good about it. We have our work cut out for us. We’re going to have a very young team this season and it’s going to be built through the draft and through college free agency.
Q: Veterans with big salary cap hits. Are changes coming based on money?
A: There are no changes coming that are financial, the changes will be based on performance.
Q: Gus had big cornerbacks in Seattle. Is that something you want to bring to Jacksonville?
A: The main thing is Gus will never sacrifice speed and aggression for scheme. It’s going to be a fast and very aggressive defense. That’s the main thing and the fact we can plug in and play with young talent.
Q: Do you need some veterans back to provide leadership?
A: The veterans are important. There is a leadership role we’re going to need but the most important thing is to get the talent in there and guys that are committed to playing and competing.
Q: Last in the NFL in sacks in 2012. Hard to get fixed?
A: What you need to do, you can’t be too overly urgent trying to fix a problem and reach in the draft or reach in free agency. You have to be patient and when the opportunity presents itself to get a difference maker at a position and you need to be able to strike.
Q: Talked to Tom Telesco – high school classmate – since he was hired in San Diego?
A: We’ve talked a few times on the phone and just texted back and forth a little bit. Tom and I, from St. Francis (HS) and John Carroll, he was always a year ahead of me and we’ve always had a great relationship.
Q: Two GMs from the same high school unique.
A: It was really good. We texted a little bit during the process and the day after I was named in Jacksonville, he was named in San Diego and our wives were exchanging emails. It’s a good situation for both of us.
Q: How much interest in the Jaguars’ No. 33 overall pick?
A: I think there’s going to be a lot of interest. There will be a very good player for us to select, too. We feel very good about having that. Those are very valuable picks.
Q: Style as a GM.
A: I haven’t thought about that, to be honest. My style is to be myself, be transparent and be decisive. That’s what can define me.
Q: Working with in-place scouting staff.
A: It only takes one team to draft a player higher than you would expect. If you want that player, you need to be ready to select them.
Q: Talked to center Brad Meester about returning (is a free agent)?
A: I talked to Brad briefly when I first got the job and his agent a little bit. We’re still talking about that. Brad has been a cornerstone of this franchise for so long and a tremendous leader.
Q: Use of sabermetrics?
A: It’s something we’re heavily involved in and dealing with right now. It’s just another part of the process – it can help us confirm some of the things we already know and can raise some red flags on some of the things we don’t know. It pretty much confirms what we’re seeing.
Q: Receiver Laurent Robinson’s stats (four concussions in 2012)?
A: From my understanding, he’s been cleared to participate so he’s full go right now. It’s something we’re going to monitor very closely with all our players.
Q: If healthy, how much can Robinson help passing game along with Shorts and Blackmon?
A: That’s a good trio of receivers right there and they all bring a unique skill set for us that will be difficult for defenses.
Q: What’s your take of tight end Marcedes Lewis on tape?
A: I think he’s still one of the top tight ends in the league. He’s a good blocker, he has good hands, he’s a good receiver – now a days in the NFL, it’s a unique situation when you have a tight end who can both block and be a threat in the passing game. You see teams bring in an extra tackle on some run-down situations and we don’t have to do that.
Q: Blaine Gabbert learning a third offense in as many years in the league?
A: It’s not the ideal situation. When I was in Indianapolis, we had the same offensive coordinator for my whole tenure and in Atlanta, we had the same for four years and Dirk (Koetter) brought a very similar system from Jacksonville. Hopefully this is the last change Blaine is going to see.
Q: If you play tomorrow, who’s your right tackle?
A: That’s a good question. Good thing we don’t play tomorrow. We have some guys that can compete there – we still have Guy (Whimper) and Cam Bradfield and both of them have experience in the league.
Q: Assess the defensive tackle spot?
A: C.J. (Mosley), Tyson (Alualu) and (Jeris) Pendleton are all very capable players. Obviously, we’re going to address every position and that would be one we’re going to address in the draft."