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O-Zone: Bad taste

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Rik from Lexington, KY

How come most other teams build houses with large windows, while our house has very small windows? Does it all come down to the quarterback? Why aren't Jags picking a quarterback in every draft? And I am not talking about free-agent rookies. Even if Bortles works out, what is the issue of having couple of good quarterbacks on your roster? It makes sense to pick a quarterback in Rounds 3-6 of almost every draft. You give yourself a better chance. Thanks.

A team with an elite quarterback indeed often has a larger “window of opportunity” than one without. Though such a quarterback guarantees nothing, it raises your percentage chances for success over an extended period. And the Jaguars must continue to work to improve the position moving forward; while they proved last season you can win with Blake Bortles, a higher-level quarterback undoubtedly would improve their chances. How soon they will be able to do that is anyone’s guess, and there’s no guarantee change means improvement. What I can tell you why the Jaguars – or any NFL team – don’t “just draft a quarterback every offseason.” While the idea makes sense in theory – and while it’s in the right ballpark – it doesn’t work in reality. The primary reason is it’s difficult to truly evaluate more than two – maybe three – quarterbacks at a time because it’s tough to get all significant reps in practice. If you drafted one in the first five rounds every season you therefore would be spending valuable draft equity on players to which you can’t commit enough time or opportunity. Also, while there are high-profile exceptions, your odds of getting an impact quarterback in Rounds 3-6 are comparatively low – and you wouldn’t necessarily want to select Round 1 or 2 quarterbacks year after year after year because you would be neglecting other areas of your roster. Still, it makes sense to draft the position more often than the Jaguars have drafted it – say, once every three seasons. Because, yeah … it’s that important.

Scott from Daytona Beach, FL

Look at your all-important power rankings. The Top 8. It’s always about the quarterback.

Usually, yes.

Rob from Pace, FL

Hello, John: So am I wrong when saying that Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has decided on the definition of insanity and doubled down on what's not working? I mean just keep playing Bortles, same defensive scheme, no new receivers or linemen? Just keep the course. Wow, my frustration is at an all-time high. Sam Bradford is out there, Dez Bryant is out there, linemen I'm not sure but I know ours are not blocking. But let's stay the course, by all means. I really want to understand but doing nothing makes no sense. Thanks for letting me vent, John!

Many players are “out there,” and many have familiar names. Remember: available players are usually jobless for a reason. We’ve discussed the Dez Bryant stuff to death, so forgive me if I don’t dig deep there. As far as Bradford … I would be intrigued, but I don’t know that it makes a lot of sense. He’s not going to make an immediate impact in the short term – i.e., the next week or two – and I don’t know that at age 32 with his injury history he’s a long-term solution, either. The Jaguars do need to improve the quarterback position. I don’t know that signing a veteran who’s not a long-term fix is the best route.

Don from Macclenny, FL

O-Zone, this season has felt in many ways like the 2008 season. Both seasons looked promising based on the previous year. Both have involved significant injuries on the O-line. Do you think the Jags can finish better this year than they did that year?

The Jaguars finished 5-11 that season. I believe they will finish better than 5-11 this season.

John from Jacksonville

Some consider the Jags’ situation very dire. I say we can rebound with a win, and another win, and another until we find our team having a nice streak entering December. I say "why not?" We don't stop believing unless/until the Jags are eliminated mathematically. We have a way to go, and I think we are going to start in Indy this Sunday. If Houston can do it, we can.

DTWD

Marcus from Jacksonville

John, you seem to usually take the Jags at their word with most things. If they say something, you tend to believe it. I usually fall into that category as well, although I understand they may not be completely forthcoming when it gives them a competitive advantage (or disadvantage). That said, Bortles has a non-throwing shoulder injury. As a guy that has played through injuries and is a tough player who has never missed a start, if he ends up missing games would you believe the team if they blamed it on the shoulder, or would you be like the rest of us and believe that it is a diplomatic way of benching a struggling quarterback?

When deciding what to believe, I listen to people in position to know and put less credence in what is said by people in no position to know. I imagine I’ll apply the same approach to Bortles’ status for Sunday.

Sam from Orlando, FL

How many UF defensive linemen does this team have to take before they realize they don’t work out?

(Yawn) What?

Steve from Hilton Head, SC

Do you think the Jags could use Tony Boselli (in his prime) at left tackle now?

Boselli was one of the best left tackles in NFL history. Few teams in the NFL couldn’t use him in his prime now.

Nate from Hazlehurst, GA

The Jaguars need help at tight end – not just someone who can run-block but also catch. I think coming out of the bye they need to work running back T.J. Yeldon more into the passing game. I don't mean just having him run from the running-back position into the flat. I mean using him as a legitimate tight end with another running back behind the quarterback. The eye test tells me he’s not so great running between the tackles, but he's great at catching the ball and making yards after the catch. The stats seem to support this; he has more than double catching yards versus running yards. Having him in the starting lineup on the same play as another running back may prove hard to defend for some defenses. What are your thoughts on this?

Yeldon is a running back. He’s not going to play tight end.

Evan from Section 37

I know you will say it's hindsight, but if we had listened to the pundits and drafted a tight end in this draft like Dallas Goedert or the one from South Carolina as well as a quarterback instead of Fournette, don't you think we would have been much further along for the future by now?

If NFL teams “listened to the pundits,” they would pick multiple players at every position. There is, after all, more than one pundit. Here’s what would be ideal: if the Jaguars could go back in every draft and pick the available player at each draft position who would go on to the best career. That would be “awesome.”

Larry from Brunswick, GA

Since the NFL is a copycat league, do you think Jacksonville should reconstruct its offense to run the Kansas City offense? Maybe move away from power running attack to an air-raid attack like the Rams?

The Jaguars must improve as a passing offense. It’s not necessary to copy the Kansas City Chiefs or Los Angeles Rams to do that. Reshaping the offense to that degree likely won’t happen in one offseason, though it’s certainly fair to expect the Jaguars to take steps in that direction.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Is it impossible to keep all four of our premier defensive linemen next year? Do you think this season’s disappointment will make them less likely to restructure in hopes of winning a Super Bowl – as in, if we had a great season they might restructure to stay? We gotta pay Yan or do we have one more year?

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has a year remaining on his rookie contract after this season, but I would expect the Jaguars to try to get a long-term deal done there this offseason. As far as the other “premier” linemen – end Calais Campbell, tackle Malik Jackson and tackle Marcell Dareus – it will be tricky to keep all three. My guess is they keep at least one and perhaps two – and it’s not certain which they will retain. I could see the Jaguars restructuring contracts with the idea of pushing some salary-cap ramifications into the future, but I would be surprised if any of the three took less money to stay with the franchise. That’s nice in theory, the people doing the “taking less” don’t find it all that palpable.

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