Much-needed change is underway in Duval.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired offensive coordinator Greg Olson, the team announced Saturday. Quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett has been promoted to assume the role of offensive coordinator. Olson had held the position since 2015.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that there had been a disconnect between Olson and coach Gus Bradley for some time with a lack of focus on the run being one point of contention.
"Tough day...but regression offensively was the reason," Olson told Rapoport of his firing. "Couldn't find an identity in the run game which significantly hurts blakes (sic) strengths as a QB. ... Made great strides last year but didn't follow up on the expectations. ... Would be easy to look for excuses and it hurts, but part of the responsibility of being an OC."
"Greg was a tremendous asset and always put all of his effort in doing everything he can to help in his players' improvement," Bradley said in a team statement. "He did some great things with our offense over the past two seasons, and for that, we are very appreciative.
"After a thorough evaluation, I came to the conclusion that with the direction that our offense was headed, it was best to make a change moving forward."
Olson's exit comes on the heels of Jacksonville's 36-22 loss to the Titans on Thursday Night Football in which the Jags were held scoreless at halftime, having run just 22 plays and earned three first downs. On the night, Jacksonville earned just 26 rushing yards out of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon. A second-half surge, during which Blake Bortles threw three touchdowns in what amounted to garbage time, was not enough to save Olson's job.
While many expected a coaching move in Jacksonville, Olson's exit comes as a surprise only because it had been his boss on the hot seat. And while Jaguars owner Shad Khan told the Florida Times-Union after the game that he would not fire Bradley, he did imply change was need: "Actions speak louder than words." Khan also sat in on meetings ahead of his team's loss on Thursday night to "get a little bit better of a look at what is actually going on with the team", per Rapoport.
Bradley wasn't worried about his job status after the game, adding, "I worry about this team and why did we perform like that in the first half, and figuring out, OK, how can we get it right?"
Changing the play-caller appears to be his first step.
Jacksonville's offense has regressed this season following their breakout campaign in Olson's first year. The Jags have the league's worst rushing attack (72.6 per game) and a -71 point differential in the first half. Bortles is struggling to find his throwing motion and hasn't become the franchise-stabilizing presence this roster deserves. Allen Robinson, a wideout on the rise, is M.I.A.
Will promoting the QB coach in charge of Bortles' progress help the offense as a whole? Bradley is betting his job on it.