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No need for a sideshow

Let's get to it . . . Jack from Jacksonville:
OZONE!!! With the hiring of the coordinators I am really excited about the coaching staff! Just to let you know!!!
John: While we can't officially confirm the signings on until contracts are signed, you are referring to reports that Mel Tucker – who served as interim coach for the last five games of this season – has agreed to stay as defensive coordinator and Bob Bratkowksi has agreed to become offensive coordinator. Fantastic news about Tucker, who deservedly is very well-respected within the organization and should be commended for handling a difficult situation late this past season with class and passion. I don't know Bratkowski, who served as quarterbacks coach under Mularkey in Atlanta this past season and who was the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator from 2001-2011. But it seemed obvious from Mike Mularkey's comments in his introductory press conference that he was strongly considering bringing Bratkowski in. Mularkey said he planned to move quickly, and apparently he has.
Levi from Jacksonville:
With Mel Tucker now returning to his defensive coordinator position, do you think that the feeling among the players will be odd considering he was just their head coach for the last five weeks of the season?
John: I think they'll be torn between ecstasy and elation. Players very much wanted Tucker to return because he was what you want in a coach. He was fair, organized and put them in a position to win. I'm sure there's part of Mel – the human part – that's disappointed and even a bit hurt he didn't get the permanent head coaching position, but I'm just as sure that he's more than professional enough that that hurt won't affect his approach in the least. I'm also sure that Tucker will be a head coach in the near future, perhaps as early as 2013.
Larry from Jacksonville:
You keep suggesting that since Khan is a successful owner, one who built a great business, his decision-making skills will make him a good owner. One has nothing to do with the other. Look at the Redskins and Seahawks, for example. Rich owners who earned their keep in business but have done nothing in the NFL.
John: I have been very clear since Day 1 that I believe Khan will make good decisions, but I have never said that's solely because he was successful in other businesses. I have written that I believe Khan will make good decisions with the Jaguars because he has shown the ability to ask questions, listen to answers and take real, pertinent information into account when making those decisions. Many NFL owners who have been successful in other business fail because of arrogance and because they believe everything that has made them successful in the past will work in the NFL. These owners often refuse to learn how the NFL really works. If Khan's early days in Jacksonville have been defined by anything it has been his willingness to know that he doesn't know everything and to listen and try to learn quickly. That's what I believe will make him a good owner. Not his previous success. Sorry if I was unclear on that before.
James from Orange Park, FL:
I note time and time again how you keep referring to the NFL as a crapshoot of a sort. Do you really feel this way?
John: I wouldn't say "crapshoot," but I do believe too often fans and media portray it as being far more clear-cut than it actually is. I don't think it's so simple as to be able to say, "Hire this guy, draft this guy or sign this quarterback and be successful." I believe the proper approach is to hire good people, stick to a plan you believe in and draft/sign players you believe will be productive players. If you do that, you have a higher chance of success than if you don't and you have a chance to contend for the playoffs more often than not. Contend and make the playoffs and in years when you are fortunate enough to be healthy in the playoffs, you will have a chance to get to the Super Bowl. If there's a crapshoot element in the league, it's the quarterback position. It's simply impossible to know for sure how a player playing the position in college will fare in the NFL. Peyton Manning was a No. 1 overall selection; Tom Brady was selected in the sixth round. Drew Brees went in the second round and Aaron Rodgers went late in the first. If there wasn't a crapshoot element to the NFL, all would have been selected No. 1 overall.
Chase from Jacksonville:
This might be a dumb question, but what's the difference between restricted free agents and unrestricted free agents? For example, could the Jaguars sign Mike Wallace?
John: A restricted free agent (RFA) has received what is known as a "qualifying" offer from his current team, with the qualifying offer being a salary level decided by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. An RFA can negotiate with other teams, but if a team makes him an offer the player's former team can retain him with a "right of first refusal." If the former team opts not to match the offer, the former team can be compensated based on the amount of the qualifying offer. In other words, the Jaguars could sign Wallace, but the Steelers almost certainly would match the offer.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I'm OK with Mularkey, but based on your three possibilities, Fisher was not retired, and was available, has extensive experience with our division, and his late failures can be directly attributed to a quarterback he never wanted that the owner forced on him. I just want to know why the Jags didn't pursue him more avidly.
John: Khan said Wednesday the Jaguars spoke with several big-name coaches that he did not want to name because of confidentiality issues. I'll cite a story I wrote for Thursday in which Khan said those coaches weren't the right fit. "They would have wanted to get into a derby or something like that," Khan said. "That is a non-starter, obviously. That's very easy. Anybody we talked to it was, 'It has to be confidential for your sake and our sake and if you want it public, frankly we don't trust you because we don't want to be used.'" Khan absolutely won't name the coaches he was discussing and I absolutely don't know that Fisher fell into that category, but it would seem at least one of the high-profile coaches whose names were thrown around do.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Every year there are 31 general managers that "should be fired," "drafted wrong," "are clueless", and one that wins the Super Bowl; funny how that works.
John: Not if you're one of the 31.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
Does Mularkey intend to do the coaches radio show next year?
John: I'd expect him to be on with Brian Sexton weekly.
Joe from Fleming Island, FL:
The "disappointment in some fans for not hiring a big name" is a residual of the college-town mentality in this area. In college you can "hire away" a Nick Saban type by waving more cash or control. Or you can reach down a level and hire someone from Temple or Fordham to go to a SEC or Big 12 school. I cannot recall that happening in the NFL where a successful coach will get "hired away" into another head coaching position in the very next year, can you?
John: You make a good point, but I'm not as big a believer in the college-town theory as a lot of people. There are those who say the Jaguars' success early spoiled the town or that the success of Florida and Florida State during those early Jaguars seasons created unreasonable expectations. I was here then and thought the same thing. After being away for a decade and watching situations around the league, I realize that fans everywhere aren't reasonable and that they're not supposed to be reasonable. Believe it or not, fans were very critical of the Colts at times during my time in Indianapolis – and this was a team that made the playoffs nine of the 10 seasons I covered it. Fans want their teams to hire the biggest-named coaches and win every game by a wide margin and if they don't they're going to complain about it. If they do, they'll complain about something else – and more power to them.
Joey from Yukon, OK:
If Mularkey isn't doing the offensive play-calling, then why did they hire him? I thought they wanted someone one that could fix our offense.
John: The Jaguars wanted someone who can do what a head coach needs to do – hire a solid staff, establish discipline, motivate players, be organized, establish a philosophy. The offense will be Mularkey's, but a coordinator will run its details and call plays. That's a pretty standard setup in the NFL.
Lance from Jacksonville:
Sounds like Mr. Khan wants to do some upgrades to the stadium. The only upgrade I'm looking forward to seeing is him assembling a winning team and seeing those covers come off. That's the only upgrade to the stadium I want to see.
John: That's the one he wants, too, but he's also focused on upgrading the fan experience in the stadium, too. I'm pretty sure you can have both.
Brian from Orange Park, FL:
Didn't Tyler from Neptune Beach just whine about people whining?
John: Irony can be pretty ironic.
Keith from DeLeon Springs, FL:
I have read a couple times now that Mularkey is the fourth jaguars coach. What am I missing because I only remember three?
John: Those who are saying four are counting Mel Tucker.
Lee from Duval County, FL:
Love the hire, but I feel for you guys in the local media. Mularkey may challenge Belichick in the Most Monotone Coach category, but I could care less as long as we're winning.
John: An entertaining, on-camera coach is very overrated, even when judging how pleasant it might be to cover the team. I respect Tony Dungy a great deal, but believe it or not, his press conferences in Indianapolis were hardly yuk-it-up, sideshow affairs. I'll take a professional coach who will answer questions intelligently over a sideshow every time.

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