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O-Zone: Big mistake

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John. Could you help us with the pros and cons of the 3-4 and the 4-3 defense? And also, is there a particular player physical profile that is needed for either scheme? Thanks.

Offensive and defensive schemes vary somewhat based on personnel and coordinator, so any discussion of pros and cons is by definition a bit vague. But vaguely speaking, a 3-4 utilizes three linemen and four linebackers – with the number of linebackers having the advantage of giving the offense more looks than a four-lineman, three-linebacker set. Four linebackers theoretically mean more blitz options. The 3-4 theoretically might not be as strong against the run as the 4-3 – unless it has a dominant nose tackle. A 4-3 because of four linemen is theoretically stronger against the run and more dependent on down linemen to rush the passer – as opposed to a 3-4 scheme, in which outside linebackers typically are the "edge rushers." A couple of things to remember: the 3-4 and 4-3 discussion is most pertinent in "base situations" – i.e., first downs and manageable second downs. Teams are typically only in base situations about 30 percent of plays these days and they increasingly play nickel, third-down packages more than they play their base schemes. Nickel schemes are relatively the same regardless of whether a team is in a 4-3 or 3-4. As far as physical types … generally speaking, you need athletic outside linebackers to pass rush in a 3-4 and you need a dominant, space-eating nose tackle with physical defensive ends who are strong against the run. A 4-3 needs pass-rushing defensive ends – with one of the defensive ends often stronger against the run than the other defensive end, who often is more of a pass rusher. This scheme often features a more athletic defensive tackle next to a tackle who is more of a run-stuffer – and the outside linebackers often are better side-to-side players than their pass-rushing 3-4 counterparts. Biggest thing to remember: Neither scheme is very good without good players. Both are pretty good if the players can … you know … play.

KC from South Florida

With the draft season being really different this year due to COVID-19 in regards to no combine, less scouts at Pro Days and no in-person interviews and visits, how important will analytics be in evaluating and projections of prospects this offseason? Do the Jaguars still have an analytics department and is Tony Khan still in charge of it despite his other responsibilities?

Yes, the Jaguars still have an analytics department. And yes, Tony Khan still oversees the department he was instrumental in creating in 2012. Analytics in the 2021 NFL Draft will play essentially the same role as always – as a key element, but not a replacement for traditional scouting and grading. I don't expect it will be a significantly larger part of this year's process. A main difference this offseason will be more of a focus on scouting/evaluating from film. NFL and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks has told me multiple times in recent weeks that teams with good evaluators will have an advantage this offseason over teams with scouts who are more "information gatherers" – i.e., scouts that put a lot of emphasis on speaking with coaches/contacts close to college programs as opposed to depending more on their own eyes and judgement. That makes sense considering the lack of face-to-face, personal contact teams will have with prospects this offseason.

Jared from O-Town

Hey, John-O. I keep seeing mention of the possible move to a true 3-4 next season. It seems every article regarding a newly "hired" defensive coach I read elsewhere points out their familiarity with that defense.  Wouldn't the Jags need to acquire a true 0-tech first? Or is this not necessarily true anymore?

Yes, a 3-4 typically needs a dominant zero technique – or nose tackle. The Jaguars don't appear to have that on the roster.

Reuben from Pikesville

My impression of former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey as a good teammate is based solely on articles that I have read; one is an ESPN article entitled how Jalen Ramsey makes Rams better. The article quotes Van Jefferson, Troy Hill and John Johnson III. Marqise Lee is quoted as offering "a Rolodex of other Jaguars teammates he said would proudly vouch." His coach, Sean McVay, is quoted as saying "Whatever the narratives were before, I haven't seen any of that. I've seen nothing but good stuff from him. That's why we're fortunate that he's going to be around for a while."

OK. He's a great teammate.

Rob from Jacksonville

Hey, John: This is not an attempt to restate what has already been asked in order to be cute. I really don't understand. How does a new/upgraded stadium impact revenue? On game day people a) tailgate b) buy a ticket c) sit in the stadium and buy food, drink and apparel. New stadium or old stadium, these three things exist – and people come or don't based on how good the team is. They are not there to swim or play frisbee with their pets. It just doesn't seem to me that people spend more or less based on how cool the stadium is. People don't pay to see our jumbotrons because what is replayed on them isn't very good lately.

A state-of-the-art stadium doesn't by itself create more revenue. Fans are obviously needed for that. But such a stadium does help create revenue if it includes more club seating, luxury boxes and other premium-seat/experience opportunities. The need for a renovated/new stadium is more about the fact that the existing stadium already lags behind most NFL stadiums and will continue to lag further behind as time goes on as more NFL stadiums are built and renovated. An equally important issue in this market is that outside-the-box revenue streams are necessary – hence, Daily's Place, Lot J, the Shipyards, etc. That's why there's so much emphasis and discussion around what many people see as "ancillary" projects. In some markets, they might be ancillary. That's not as much the case here.

Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL

If I understand it correctly, quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out of the Houston Texans because his feelings got hurt when management did not go with his recommendation. Now I read, not sure if it is a rumor or a possibility, that the Jags might want to trade their No. 1 pick for Watson. So here we go again, another disgruntled player sticking his nose in none of his business. Does that make sense at all to you if that is the case?

I haven't read from anything remotely resembling a legitimate source that the Jaguars might want to trade the No. 1 selection for Watson. Until that changes, I wouldn't worry much about this. As far as Watson specifically, I'm not close enough to the Texans to know if this is who Watson is all the time – or if this is a case of a player wanting out for reasonable reasons. I do know I'm not nuts about the trend of players forcing trades because they don't like this or that. Not everybody likes everything all the time. I hardly like anything. Except questions about local revenue and creative revenue streaks? I love those.

John from Jacksonville

If Brian Schottenheimer is the Jaguars' passing-game coordinator, will there also be a running-game coordinator? Do you think that person is already on staff?

I doubt the Jaguars will hire a running-game coordinator. Darrell Bevell as the offensive coordinator has more than enough expertise to coordinate that aspect of the offense and incorporate it into the overall scheme.

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

It seems like Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer wants to announce all the coaches at one time (unity). That acknowledged, how many positions have to be filled before the "team" is announced?

All of them.

Chris from Houston, TX

You mentioned that you believed the Kansas City Chiefs have an overall better roster than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if both starting quarterbacks were to not play. What makes you think that? Tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and their offensive line are probably better than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Bucs are deeper at all the skilled positions with wide receiver Mike Evans, wide receiver Chris Godwin, wide receiver Antonio Brown (if healthy), running back Leonard Fournette and running back Ronald Jones III. I believe the Bucs defense is more stout and athletic overall while the Chiefs have the Honey Badger. I don't know if it would be a lopsided affair and if they played each other 100 times this way, I think it would be quite close to split 50/50.

I give the Chiefs an edge because of their front-line skill players. You're right that the Buccaneers' defense is probably superior. And yeah … it would be close.

Mark from Jacksonville

Thank you for answering my question as thoroughly as you did.

My bad.

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