JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - New Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley turned to a former colleague for his first hire - maybe his most important one.
Bradley hired Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch to the same position Saturday, charging him with remodeling one of the league's worst offenses.
Just hours later Bradley reached out to his former coach to run the defense. Bob Babich was Bradley's coach when he played at North Dakota State and was with the Bears for the last nine seasons.
The Jaguars ranked 29th in the league in total offense this season, slightly better than their last-place finish in 2011.
Fisch spent the last two years as Miami's play-caller and quarterbacks coach, and his pro-style offense was consistently one of the most efficient in the country. The Hurricanes made significant progress in his second season, gaining 63.3 yards more a game and improving their scoring average by nearly a touchdown.
His biggest task in Jacksonville will be getting better quarterback play.
The Jaguars won just seven games the last two seasons with Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne and Luke McCown taking snaps.
Former general manager Gene Smith traded up to draft Gabbert with the 10th overall pick in 2010, but the former Missouri standout has made little progress during 24 starts.
Gabbert completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,662 yards in 2012, with nine touchdowns and six interceptions, before getting benched and ending the season on injured reserve. Gabbert is recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.
Henne started the final six games, finishing with 2,084 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Both quarterbacks played behind a shaky offensive line - they were sacked a combined 40 times - and didn't have the benefit of having star running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) for the entire season.
Nonetheless, it was clear that neither would be a long-term solution at an all-important position.
New general manager Dave Caldwell said last week that he has "others in mind" to compete for the starting job.
Fisch will play a key role in getting more from whoever ends up under center.
He has nine years of NFL experience, including working alongside Bradley in Seattle in 2010. He also has worked under Mike Shanahan, Brian Billick and Steve Spurrier.
He started his NFL career as an administrative assistant with Houston in 2001 before serving two years as the Texans' defensive quality control coach. He spent the next four seasons in Baltimore, working his way up from offensive assistant (2004) to assistant quarterbacks/ receivers coach (2005-06) to assistant quarterbacks coach (2007).
He spent the 2008 season as receivers coach in Denver, and then moved back to college to serve as Minnesota's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for a year. He was Seattle's quarterbacks coach in 2010 before moving back to Florida and taking the job at Miami.
Fisch graduated from Florida in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in criminology. He spent two years (1999-2000) as a graduate assistant for Spurrier with the Gators.
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