Jaguars players speak out about changes at offensive coordinator

Hackett, Lewis discuss changes at offensive coordinator

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In the NFL, coaching changes are rarely a surprise.

When an offense, defense or an entire team is struggling over an extended period of time, it is usually considered prudent to make a move.

However, some of the Jaguars players were surprised to learn that offensive coordinator Greg Olson had been fired less than 24 hours after head coach Gus Bradley said there would be no changes to his staff.

"I don't think anybody saw that coming," Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson said. "But it's part of the business and we've got to try to do what we can to get this thing rolling."

Robinson was one of a handful of players that benefited from Olson joining the team last season. The offensive coordinator helped Robinson and quarterback Blake Bortles break franchise records.

This season has been the complete opposite, as the pair has struggled throughout the first even games of the season. The unit has failed to score in the first half of three games this season and the issues have yet to be figured out.

Olson was sacrificed as the team tries to turn around its fourth-straight disappointing season under Bradley.

Wide receiver Arrelious Benn spent three seasons in Tampa Bay with Olson and was signed last season partially due to his connection to the now-former offensive coordinator. Olson's dismissal was tough news to receive.

"I haven't had a chance to speak to him, it's tough," Benn said. "It's tough for anybody in that situation. I know what type of guy he is, what type of person he is. He's a great guy, he's great at what he does, but sometimes things don't work out as we plan. It's a business, it happens to players all the time - it happens to coaches rarely - and it's unfortunate that happened to him."

Quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett was promoted to take Olson's spot. The move has been a whirlwind for him, but for the players as well. The squad is dealing with the loss of a leader and finding ways to adapt to new one in a short period of time.

"[Olson] was a great OC, a guy and a lot of guys bought in," starting center Brandon Linder said. "You just approach it one day at a time. I don't know how it's going to be different because it's the first day, so we're just going to approach it one day at a time and get better and we're going to execute."

The Jaguars offense had its first practice under Hackett's leadership on Monday. Starting tight end Julius Thomas said there will be changes and the unit will need to learn quickly.

"I think that it's really just trying to grasp and implement the little, subtle changes that are offense is going to go through this week," Thomas said. "You don't have a ton of time to do a ton of things but I know there are a couple of different things that Nate wants to do. It's just about us getting it and detailing it, so we're ready to go on Sunday."

Hackett has a strong relationship with Bortles and has been around the team for two years. While he may have been familiar with the players, their working relationships are set to morph into something new.

"I think that's something we're going to have to build as skill players," Thomas said. "Not that we don't have a relationship with him, but our relationship is changing and [we're] understanding what that difference is going to look like and how it's going to be implemented."

Even with the change, the Jaguars players are embracing the challenges of the next nine games with Hackett at the helm. The young group has no choice but to adapt and improve. Otherwise, they may find themselves in the same position as Olson.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.


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