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O-Zone: Chaos on the way

JACKSONVILLE – Home at last.

Let's get to it … Cory from Madison, WI:
The explanation for the Greg Olson hire was a bit underwhelming for me. This is an organization that supposedly prides itself on analytics. Yet Gus and Dave said stats and numbers didn't even cross their minds when making the hire. So, are numbers important or not?
John: We're to the point where it's obvious many Jaguars fans aren't initially going to be particularly whelmed by the offensive coordinator hire. That's OK; you don't win in the NFL based on offseason style points. To your analytics point, though, let's keep this in context. Analytics aren't about looking at the league's statistics and saying, "Thirty-two is not as good as thirty-one, so let's cross this guy off of the Desirable Offensive Coordinator List." When David Caldwell and Gus Bradley talked about numbers not being involved in the Olson hire, they were pretty clearly talking about the rankings of Olson's offenses as a coordinator. Those haven't been good and the Raiders finished 32nd in the NFL in total offense last season. The point Bradley and Caldwell were making was that the hire was about much, much more than that ranking – and that there are circumstances behind every statistic.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
So, will Olson bring in his own quarterback coach or will that be primarily Bradley's decision?
John: I expect that to be Olson's decision.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, I have a suggestion for backup experience along the offensive line. Re-sign Uche Nwaneri. He is only 30 years old and he'll cost next to nothing. He was cut on the final roster cuts (June 2014) from Dallas, and with their elite line, who wouldn't be?
John: The Jaguars moved on from Nwaneri last offseason. I don't expect them to move back toward him this offseason.
David from Orlando, FL:
It's interesting that when Dave and Gus came to town, they dumped a lot of experienced players for youth. Now, we're in the process of bringing in some experienced players. Many of the players that we cut went on to have success with Top 10 teams. Has Dave or Gus ever said anything to the effect that they maybe went too far? Surely, Daryl Smith, Terrance Knighton, Eugene Monroe, Justin Forsett, Jeremy Mincey, etc. could have contributed with their experience?
John: Caldwell said very clearly and publicly in his end-of-season press conference that he felt the team had perhaps skewed a bit too young, though it's important to note that he did not say the Jaguars should have kept the players he released. There probably would have been benefit to having more experience at several positions such as offensive line and receiver this past season, but that could have been attained by signing free agents from other teams as well. I've said quite often the Jaguars would have benefitted from keeping Daryl Smith. As far as the others you mentioned … maybe, but I don't know that you would have seen a tangible, dramatic difference. And stop calling me "Shirley."
GPP from Savannah, GA:
Nice verbiage trying to convince us Olsen was the right hire. As you said, proof is in the pudding! However, as much as Gus and you think numbers don't matter, another three-win season or a 32 ranking for the offense will guarantee a new general manager and coach in 2016.
John: Thanks for your kind words, but I've been doing this long enough where I'm kind of beyond trying to convince fans in the offseason that any hire is right or wrong. If you don't want to like the Olson hire, that's OK. If you want to praise it from rooftops, that's OK, too. Greg Olson and Doug Marrone each are professional, capable football coaches who appear professionally capable enough to put the Jaguars' offensive players in a position do well. How things play out after that depend on those young players growing and developing and making plays. Will they do that? I think they will because I think the offensive players will grow and develop and that with an addition or two the group will improve. That's the only convincing that matters.
Mike from St. Mary's, GA:
I'm a little curious about the assistant head coach-offense title given to Marrone. Wouldn't this put him in a position to butt heads with Olson, kind of like a too-many-chiefs-and-not-enough-Indians situation, or am I looking at this wrong?
John: That's a legitimate question, and the answer depends on how Bradley structured the staff and what the understanding is for the roles of all involved. Bradley said upon hiring Olson that he believed he believed Marrone and Olson were a good fit and would work well together as the core of the staff. That's the objective.
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
Who hired Greg Olson … Bradley or Caldwell? I was under the impression it was Gus Bradley, and if it was wouldn't that put to rest any question about Marrone being hired as a possible replacement for Gus? Seems kind of silly for a head coach to attempt to put pressure on himself by hiring his own potential replacement!!
John: Bradley hired Marrone. He's here to coach the Jaguars' offensive line, not to be Bradley's successor.
Chris from San Marco:
Bortles appeared to have cleaned up his mechanics in preseason and early in the season, then quickly reverted back to his natural motions for the rest of the season. If the same occurs this year after about Week Four, will it be an early indication that he was the wrong quarterback for the Jaguars? Inquiring minds want to know.
John: Bortles needs to improve his mechanics to the point where they remain sound and consistent throughout the entire season. I don't expect them to remain perfect all of next season; I believe it will be a process that continues through the early part of his career. But he does need to show significant growth in this area next season.
Ryan from Charlotte, NC:
Bortles has mentioned a few times that he feels good about his relationship with his current quarterback coach. Any word on if Scelfo will be sticking around or is it too early to know if there will be more changes to the offensive staff?
John: I believe we'll be finding out a lot in this area in the next week or so.
Mike from Section 238:
Any insight on how significantly different Greg Olson's terminology is from Jedd Fisch's? Major schoolwork in store for our quarterback?
John: The terminology will be different. To what degree, we shall see. Some of that remains to be seen, because the process of putting the offense into place has yet to begin, but whatever there is to learn will be the same for the rest of the offense as the quarterback. This will be an adjustment and there will be aftereffects of that. The idea is that the benefits of what Olson and Doug Marrone and the rest of the staff do will outweigh the aftereffects. We'll see.
Robert from Titusville, FL:
Is there a limit on how many assistant coaches a team can have?
John: No.
Austin from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Does J.T. Thomas have a starting spot to lose next year? If not, why? I thought he played great enough this year to be a cornerstone on the defense for few years.
John: Thomas played well. I expect he will return next season, but very few Jaguars players have a "starting spot to lose." They are still a young roster very much in development and seeking impact, elite-level players at most positions. It's not inconceivable that Thomas could start at the Otto linebacker position, but I expect the team to sign a free agent or draft a player who would have a really good chance to start.
Steve from Jacksonville:
In a very real sense these coordinator decisions are being made by the one person who has the most to lose. Head Coach Gus Bradley could very well lose his job in the next year or two if these hires don't produce results. People can pick nits all day long, but they should trust that he has his self-interest (and obviously that of the team) in mind. I mean he DOES have the most to lose.
John: Yes.
James from Jacksonville:
Regarding "deflate gate," is there any penalty from the NFL to the Pats for doing that?
John: As of right now, reports say the NFL continues to look into the matter. If the investigation reveals what's being reported to be true, I can't imagine there wouldn't a penalty and a pretty significant one. It's an integrity-of-the-game issue and officials from other teams are watching this one pretty closely.
Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
I see where Jack Del Rio is bringing the old gang back to the Raiders. Bill Musgrave as the offensive coordinator and working on Mike Smith as defensive coordinator. Will the Raiders be known as "Jaguars West?"
John: If you want to call them that I don't think anyone would stop you.
Jason from Falling Waters, VA:
I could care less who is coaching this team. I want to see more talented players on the field.
John: There's a lot of truth in what you say. January is the time to talk coaching, especially when there are staff changes. Talk will turn to free agency and the draft and the chaos that is both soon enough.

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