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O-Zone: An out-of-state thing

MOBILE, Ala. – Getting going in Mobile … 2015 Senior Bowl week …

Let's get to it … Paul from Evanston, IL:
Please tell me we're getting Adam Gase, Greg Olson and Doug Marrone or some combination thereof. Now that I'm tempted by that, I can't go back O-Zone! I just can't!!
John: Whoa there, big fella … down off that ledge … there … there … good! All right, we'll start this getting-down-to-business-in-Mobile O-Zone by laying out the offensive coordinator position – at least as best as we know it now. The Jaguars as of Monday have interviewed seven candidates, with the strongest names right now appearing to be former Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson, former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and former Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone. As Jason LaCanfora of CBS put it on Twitter Monday, there are moving parts involved, but there appears to be a scenario where the Jaguars hire some combination of the three – and perhaps all three. Logic would dictate one scenario could be Olson as quarterbacks coach, Marrone as offensive line coach with some sort of "senior" title attacked and Gase as offensive coordinator. Now, that's STRICTLY SENIOR-WRITER-READS-TEA-LEAVES speculation, as the Jaguars continue to be understandably close-to-the-vest with this – at least in part because there are coaches still on staff and coaches involved in the process whose futures are uncertain. Such is the nature of an NFL coaching search. Gase reportedly was interviewing Monday night with the Baltimore Ravens for the offensive coordinator position vacated when Gary Kubiak left for the Denver Broncos head coaching job. How will it play out? We'll see. I imagine we'll know soon enough.
Thomas from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I can't get excited about Greg Olson. I don't know why.
John: I don't know why, either. Olson is a good offensive coach and has a reputation for developing young quarterbacks. He did a nice job with Derek Carr this season in Oakland. It didn't work out for him here in 2012 when he was working with Blaine Gabbert; it doesn't always work out for every quarterback and coach. But if Olson is in Jacksonville for either a quarterback-centric position or the coordinator position, I would be excited about it – and it's a logical fit. People in the organization liked him when he was here, and Bradley knows him from a year together on Tampa Bay's staff in 2008.
Deb from Jacksonville:
John, in continuing with why the Jags don't have more prime-time games, what about Houston!? They picked No. 1 overall in the draft last year. Is it just because they have J.J. Watt that at least one of their games had a prime-time slot?
John: Watt certainly has something to do with it. He's an elite, big-name player and elite, big-name players draw ratings. Also factoring into the Texans being on prime-time television last season was that they were a playoff team in 2011-2012. That means they were on television in years past and therefore are known nationally – and therefore are more likely to draw ratings. That's not very "fair," but fair doesn't matter in this equation.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
It's not as if a deflated ball would have helped the Patriots scored 45 points; it's the fact that the Patriots continuously try to find ways to get an advantage legally or illegally.
John: Yeah, it's not a "good look."
Benjamin from Section 132:
What has Gene Smith been doing since he was let go from the Jaguars? Has he been working in the NFL in any capacity? You say he's a viable front-office employee, and I was all "In Gene We Trust" during his tenure here until he ran us into the ground. Then, I didn't see him get a comparable job anywhere else afterwards like many do after being released, so it would appear not many other teams thought very highly of him. What is it that makes you say he's a good football mind? (I don't mean this in an accusatory way, I'm honestly curious.)
John: Smith hasn't been working in the NFL the last two seasons. To my knowledge, he had two years remaining on his contract when dismissed by the Jaguars following the 2012 season, so it's not completely out of the ordinary he didn't work in the NFL the past two years. There are reports that Smith could be hired in a significant capacity by new New York Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan, and I have said several times in the last week that wouldn't surprise me. Smith had a very good reputation as a personnel man before his time as Jaguars General Manager – and had a hand in picking a lot of good players for the Jaguars before that time … Look, you know what? We've probably talked this out enough in recent days, and I'm not going to keep beating this topic to death. Most Jaguars fans dislike Gene Smith and understandably so. The team was worse when he left than when he took over, and that meant he didn't get the job done as general manager – and in fact, he didn't get the job done in fairly significant fashion. But people fail in positions and come back and succeed in other positions all the time in the NFL. In fact, it's the story of a whole lot of success front-office types. Considering Smith's body of work and his reputation aside from his four years as Jaguars general manager, he's as deserving of another chance as the many, many, many other personnel people who have been fired from jobs in the NFL.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
If Amari Cooper is there as the third pick you have to take him. Every team in the NFL wants him. He might be the best player in the draft. If the Jaguars do not pick him it will be because they trade down to get the value for him. Go Jags!
John: If Cooper indeed is as can't-miss as you believe, then perhaps the Jaguars will take him. Your email makes it sound as if the entire league will be clamoring to move up to No. 3 to get him … maybe, but I doubt it.
James from Orange Park, FL:
You once said Bradley doesn't regret coming to the Jags as a head coach as opposed to staying in Seattle as a coordinator, but I would. You miss on your offensive coordinator and finally realize that at a critical point in your franchise quarterback's juncture, you have a combined win total of seven over two years, and the highest expectation for this team is six-to-eight wins in the next season. Seattle won the Super Bowl last year and is primed to repeat. I'd have serious regrets. Would you?
John: No. I wouldn't. NFL head coaches make a lot of money – more than coordinators – and they also get the rare opportunity to hold a job only 31 other people hold. That's why I wouldn't regret, though I expect Bradley has more noble reasons. A Super Bowl ring as an assistant is great. And those victories Seattle got since Bradley left are great for them. But Bradley is coaching an NFL team and he is getting the opportunity to build something he believed in with Jacksonville. I wouldn't regret that, and while I can't speak for Bradley, there's no part of me that believes he regrets it.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
Looking back on the season it looks like that Blaine played better on the away from the 'Bank than he did at home. Is this something that he can work on or just something that will get better over time?
John: Whoops.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
The road to the top of the AFC south would be MUCH easier if Luck was not in Indy. One of the WORST wins in NFL history.
John: Yeah, and if the Jaguars had lost the regular-season finale in 2011, then Andrew Luck would be on someone else's team and the Jaguars would still have to beat that team to win the Super Bowl. It's not against the rules to beat elite quarterbacks. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are all really good and they all have lost in the playoffs a lot.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Do you think the Jags will find their franchise quarterback at the Senior Bowl?
John: Only if Blake Bortles attends practice.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, over the last 10 years or so I've heard the term high-ankle sprain. How does it differ from a regular ankle sprain? I think Toby Gerhart, injury free, can be a help to us. At the end of the year when he was feeling better he ran harder.
John: I don't pretend to know details and ligaments involved, because I don't pretend to be a doctor (OK, sometimes I do, but only when I'm on vacation and "out of state.") But to put it as simply as possible, a regular ankle sprain typically involves injuries to ligaments low and on the outside of the ankle. A high-ankle sprain is … wait for it! – higher on the leg. A high-ankle sprain often keeps a player out upwards of six weeks whereas a low-ankle sprain often means a shorter return time.

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