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O-Zone: Helping hand

Posted Feb 4, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Saturday was a disappointing evening for Tony Boselli.

The former Jaguars left tackle and best player in franchise history wasn’t among the five modern-era candidates named to the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class. He was in the final 10 for a second consecutive year.

The thought here was Boselli would get in this year – and I believed he should have gotten in this year. We’ll have more on it in this morning’s O-Zone but it really is too bad. And disappointing.

Let’s get to it …

Sid from Sidsonville:
Our Tony is a Hall of Famer … we believe ... even though they are all against us. The officials robbed us of a Super Bowl and now they robbed our Tony of a HOF spot … it is time to get angry ... someone needs to feel our pain... #DTWD
John: Breaking down the specifics of who does and doesn’t get into the Hall of Fame each year always involves several layers – and we’ll likely explore a lot of those layers in the coming days. I was angry and disappointed for Boselli Saturday, too – and I absolutely believe he should have been in this year’s class. I would have voted Boselli, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Steve Hutchinson and Brian Dawkins. I believe Boselli not getting in was more about a lot of offensive linemen cancelling each other out than an overriding feeling among voters that Boselli wasn’t deserving. Here’s my most prominent initial reaction to Saturday’s vote: that the Hall now has painted itself into a corner with Boselli and that it’s going to start getting very obvious that something’s wrong really quickly if he doesn’t get in. He was clearly at least the equal – and perhaps the superior – of four Hall-of-Fame left tackles when he played: Walter Jones, Willie Roaf, Orlando Pace and Jonathan Ogden. Now that longevity is not a reason for Boselli not being in the Hall – and Terrell Davis’ induction last year made that the case – what is the reason Boselli isn’t in? I don’t know the answer and I imagine I’ll wait a while for a satisfactory one.
Jay from Salem, OR:
Doug Marrone took a three-win team last season to the AFC Championship Game – more than the Los Angeles Rams and Sean McVay can say. Congrats to the Coach of the year in the NFC and One Fer' Marrone … and Tom Coughlin for being the AFC coach and All-Around-Bad-A** Jags management!
John: Tom Coughlin wasn’t the coach of the Jaguars this season, but I agree that the man who did hold that job – Doug Marrone – was deserving of Coach of the Year honors. McVay obviously did a good job, but had the honor taken everything into account – playoff and postseason performance – Marrone absolutely would have been the most deserving candidate. Knowing Marrone, I doubt he cared much about the award either way, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have won it.
Josiah from Fargo, ND:
Hi, John: There is no doubt that the loss hurt big time, but when it came down to it the Jaguars simply did not make enough plays at the end when they needed to most. The offense could have gotten first downs and maybe even scored off the Myles Jack fumble to put the Patriots in a more desperate position – or the defense maybe stops that third-and-18. The point that people seem to forget here is if the game ever comes down to reffing, which is also full of human errors, then you did not do enough to actually win.
John: There is no doubt this is true – and as I’ve said multiple times since the championship game, part of the reason the Patriots win so consistently is they have been good enough to take advantage of breaks that come their way. Did they get a break in 2001 in the Tuck Rule game? Perhaps, but they went on the road and won the following week in Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game and they figured out a way to slow down the Greatest Show on Turf in the Super Bowl a couple of weeks later. They got a break against the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game with the A.J. Bouye interference and the Myles Jack inadvertent whistle, but they were good enough to score a touchdown after the interference call and they stopped the Jaguars’ offense after the Jack whistle. All teams get breaks throughout the course of games and season. The good teams get take advantage of their opportunities; the teams that struggle do not.
Daniel from College Station, TX:
O, am I missing something or am I crazy when it comes to what we have at quarterback? People are asking to spend big money or a high draft pick on a player when our team is built on defense and the run game. I say let’s go offensive line or another position and draft a quarterback in maybe the second or third round; we have Blake for another year, so we can look at someone that has some work to be done, but is a solid pick at quarterback. If you are running the ball more, you’re not relying on needing a top-tier quarterback. Did we not get pretty far this year on this exact plan?
John: You’re not crazy. The best way to think about what the Jaguars will do at quarterback this offseason is this: they are going to look at what’s available in free agency; if a quarterback is better enough than Blake Bortles to make it make sense to pursue someone else, then they will pursue someone else. If they retain Bortles, then I think they will draft a quarterback somewhere in the middle rounds. And yes – the Jaguars got to within a few plays of the Super Bowl with Bortles. That makes sticking with him a very reasonable alternative.
Ross from Ramsey, NJ:
I must live in the land of critics. I listen to NFL Network to and from work every day. I heard something on the morning show this week that nearly made me choke on my coffee. Ross Tucker's guest host was saying Blake Bortles had his surgery on his wrist in order to possibly fail his physical in March so that he'd be sure to get his $19 million. If I had a half hour to wait on the phone to get to talk, I would have given him an earful. Blake played a good portion of the season with that injury and led the team to the AFC Championship. I can't recall Blake ever missing a game despite the beating he took from sacks in his first two seasons. My hat is off for BB5 and his gritty and tough performance. Wish him a speedy and full recovery for me.
John: Sometimes people on television say insightful things. Sometimes people on television that are silly and not based in reality. It sounds like your guy had a big dose of the latter.
Austin from Atlanta, FA:
I like Blake, and he will be the Jags’ starting quarterback Week 1 of next year. But instead of Cap'n Chad Henne behind him, it will be a rookie. It's facts, John.
John: Well, that’s not facts, exactly. But sure, that could happen.
Mira from Jacksonville:
Hi, John: I keep seeing the same thing repeated in regards to the Jaguars’ draft and potential options at quarterback – that Tom Coughlin “religiously” follows the Bill Parcells’ rules of scouting and drafting quarterbacks: “He must be a senior, because you need time and maturity to develop into a good professional quarterback. He must be a graduate, because you want someone who takes his responsibilities seriously. He must be a three-year starter, because you need to make sure his success wasn’t ephemeral and that he has lived as “the guy” for some period of time. He must have at least 23 wins, because the big passing numbers must come in the context of winning games.” Do you truly believe these rules dictate his selection process so heavily that it would prevent him from selecting what many consider an “elite” quarterback prospect that didn’t measure up to these rules if they took an Aaron Rodgers-type slide?
John: Those are very good rules, and it stands to reason Coughlin believes strongly in those theories. Much like any set of “rules” when it comes to the NFL, the key is knowing when to get away from those rules and to know why you’re getting away from those rules when you get away from them. If a quarterback checks most boxes on that list of rules and is slightly deficient in one area, then it’s probably OK to stray. But in general are those smart things to seek in a quarterback? Sure, no doubt.
Michael from Middleburg, FL:
O, I’ve been thinking about Allen Robinson and the help he would (or wouldn’t) give Blake Bortles. I feel that a lot of the interceptions were due to Bortles forcing the ball to him even when not actually open enough. I also think that led to Bortles possibly not going through his reads. I also think that without Robinson he was kind of forced to. What are your thoughts?
John: I agree that Bortles forced the ball to Robinson at times in Robinson’s last season, but that wasn’t all that was going wrong with the Jaguars’ offense that season. If Bortles and Robinson return, I think Robinson would be a major help to Bortles. He’s a really good player and good players have a tendency to help things when they play.

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