Even though we have yet to hear that he has interviewed for the job, the buzz among NFL insider types is that former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is the favorite to become the Redskins’ next defensive coordinator. Let’s take a look at Bradley’s resume to see what the Redskins might be getting if he does come aboard.
Before becoming a coordinator: Bradley played safety at North Dakota State and became a graduate assistant there. He was a defensive coordinator there and at Fort Lewis College and after 16 years of college coaching he made the jump to the NFL when Jon Gruden hired him as the Buccaneers’ linebackers coach in 2006. Jay Gruden was an offensive assistant on that coaching staff and Bruce Allen was the general manager. His reputation grew quickly and in 2009 he was hired to be the Seahawks defensive coordinator. Scot McCloughan came to Seattle as a personnel executive a year later.
Note: If you want more complete stats on Bradley’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.
For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro
2009 Seahawks (5-11)
Rankings: Yards 5,703 (24th), points 390 (25th), takeaways 23 (24th), 3rd down 39.0% (19th), DVOA 12.0% (29th)
Notable players: CB Marcus Trufant
The core of players that had helped the Seahawks to the Super Bowl following the 2005 season was aging or gone. While the performance of the defense was not good, it actually was improved slightly from the previous season when it ranked 30th in yards allowed.
2010 Seahawks (7-9)
Rankings: Yards 5,897 (27th), points 407 (25th), takeaways 22 (25th), 3rd down 39.5% (24th), DVOA 12.0% (29th)
Notable players: CB Trufant, S Earl Thomas, S Kam Chancellor
The team improved somewhat, winning the NFC West at 7-9 and beating the Saints in a playoff game. But the defense basically spun its wheels; that’s not a typo, they did finish with the exact same DVOA percentage and ranking in 2010 as they did in 2009. They did add a couple of future key pieces in Thomas, who had five interceptions, and Chancellor, who played 16 games but had no starts.
2011 Seahawks (7-9)
Rankings: Yards 5,315 (9th), points 315 (7th), takeaways 31 (5th), 3rd down 34.8% (9th), DVOA -7.1% (10th)
Notable players: S Chancellor*, S Thomas*, CB Brandon Browner*, CB Richard Sherman
It’s amazing how the addition of some talented players can suddenly transform a defense from near the bottom of the heap one season to a top-10 unit the next. Sherman was a rookie, still learning while the safeties were hitting their stride.
2012 Seahawks (11-5)
Rankings: Yards 4,899 (4th), points 245 (1st), takeaways 31 (7th), 3rd down 38.4% (17th), DVOA -14.5% (2nd)
Notable players: CB Sherman+, S Thomas*+, S Chancellor, DE Clemons
They went from good to elite as the Legion of Boom was formed and the Seahawks made the playoffs and won in Washington before losing to the top-seeded Atlanta.
2013 Jaguars (4-12)
Rankings: Yards 6,070 (31st), points 449 (28th), takeaways 21 (21st), 3rd down 42.4% (27th), DVOA 10.9% (28th)
Notable players: MLB Paul Posluszny*
He was the hot commodity as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator and the Jaguars brought him in as the head coach. Bradley did hire a defensive coordinator in Bob Babich but he did have plenty of influence on the defense. It wasn’t very good although it did improve marginally from 2012.
2014 Jaguars (3-13)
Rankings: Yards 5,932 (26th), points 412 (26th), takeaways 20 (24th), 3rd down 42.8% (23rd), DVOA 1.5% (20th)
Notable players: LB Posluszny, DE Chris Clemons
This unit did improve slightly in terms of the standard stats and significantly in the DVOA metric. What set the team back on both sides of the ball was Bradley’s decision (possibly influenced by upper management) to force rookie QB Blake Bortles into the lineup after three games.
2015 Jaguars (5-11)
Rankings: Yards 6,000 (24th), points 448 (31st), takeaways 18 (27th), 3rd down 46.3% (31st), DVOA 9.7% (26th)
Notable players: LB Posluszny
The defense was supposed to get a boost when the team drafted edge rusher Dante Fowler with the third overall pick. But Fowler suffered a torn ACL the very first time he took the field in non-contact offseason workouts and he was out for the season. The defense continued to struggle although it should be noted that the points allowed total is inflated by the four pick sixes that Bortles threw and three Jaguars fumbles that were returned for touchdowns.
2016 Jaguars (3-13)
Rankings: Yards 5,147 (6th), points 400 (25th), takeaways 13 (30th), 3rd down 37.1% (8th), -3.1% (13th)
Notable players: LB Posluszny, DE Dante Fowler, DT Malik Jackson
The defense added some talent, signing Jackson from the Broncos as a free agent and by getting Fowler on the field for 16 games. They took some steps forward in defense, particularly in yards, third-down conversions, and DVOA. But Bradley was the head coach and the offense continued to struggle. After 14 games Bradley was fired with an overall record of 14-48.