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O-Zone: Coming soon

HOUSTON, Texas – Let's get to it … Keith from Palatka, FL:
How does the best tackle to ever play the game not make the Hall of Fame? What intellectual midgets would vote a kicker in before Tony Boselli? I am sick of the NFL and NFL media's bias against Jacksonville. I hate the rest of the NFL. I hate all of the other 31 teams. I hate New England most of all. "There is no joy in Mudville. Mighty Casey just struck out."
John: Tony Boselli indeed was not selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017, and I absolutely agree with many Jaguars fans – and many voters, for that matter – that Boselli should have been selected. But let's not paint this incorrectly: this was not media bias and it had nothing to do with Boselli playing in Jacksonville. This had everything to do with there being 15 Hall modern-era finalists and only five modern-era players selected. I agree that Boselli should have gotten in before Jason Taylor. And Morten Andersen. And yeah … my ears particularly perked up when I heard Andersen because kickers are a really tough sell with so many position players up for selection. But remember: every voter represents a market that has legitimate Hall-of-Fame candidates and every finalist had a memorable career that made him a legitimate candidate. I understand disappointment over Boselli not getting in this season, and I share that disappointment. But the Hall process is an incredibly difficult, taxing responsibility and the difficult reality is not every worthy candidate gets selected every year.
Justin from Jacksonville and Section 237:
I understand it's believed that the quarterback is the most important and crucial position to ensure sustained realistic chances to compete for Super Bowl titles. But, the only two times that Brady/Belichick were defeated in the Super Bowl were when Tom Coughlin's dominant defensive line was able to consistently get to Tom Brady and disrupt his "Brady-ness." So, my questions to you are: Does that make "pass rush" more valuable/important than quarterback (at least on some level)? Second, do you think it puts Coughlin anywhere near Bill Belichick's level since the two times they met head-to-head when the championship was on the line Tom came out on top because he ultimately took away the effectiveness of possibly the greatest to ever line up under center? #DTWD #TCTWD #GoJags!
John: Pass rush is not more important than quarterback, but it is the second-most important element to winning in the NFL. To paraphrase the late, great Paul Brown: the two most important things in the NFL are quarterback and a guy who can disrupt the quarterback. If you can keep a pass rush off of an elite quarterback – and if you have a pass rush that can disrupt the opposing offense – that's the best formula for year-in, year-out success. As far as where Coughlin ranks compared to Belichick, I have no idea. I don't spend a lot of time ranking coaches because they by nature are so often dependent on quarterbacks for success. I put former Washington Redskins Joe Gibbs as the best coach of the modern era, because he won Super Bowls with three different non-Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks – and I don't think that ever will be accomplished again. After Gibbs, you have a lot of coaches who have won multiple Super Bowls with the same – often elite – quarterback. You have to rank Belichick very high because he won so many Super Bowls over so long a period of time – and because his teams have won with a defense-dominated team and an offense-minded team. To win Super Bowls in different ways isn't easy. That's why Chuck Noll is one of the all-time greats; he won two Super Bowls with the Steelers in the early 1970s and won two more after the league changed rules to emphasize passing. Is Coughlin close to Belichick because he beat Belichick twice head to head? Sure, and I think that's a major reason Coughlin someday will be in the Hall of Fame.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
John, can I put in for your job? You seem to have it made.
John: Yeah, it's awesome.
J Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
Yo John, does every team owner attend the Super Bowl – and is it a requirement? Stupid question, but what else is going on this weekend?
John: Most team owners do attend the Super Bowl, and Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has attended every year since he owned the team. It's not required that owners attend, but generally speaking, going to the Super Bowl when you have much money at your disposal is cool. NFL owners seem to like it. I think I would.
Richard from Lincoln, RI:
Now, I'm seeing articles about how the Patriots have the "EDGE" over Atlanta because of experience. In the two Super Bowls against the Giants they had experience, too. How did that turn out for them?
John: The Patriots' edge in Sunday's game is they have Tom Brady at quarterback. He is experienced because he has played in six Super Bowls – and yes, that's an advantage. It's the reason I think the Patriots will win. It doesn't make them a dead-solid lock, but it's an edge.
Michael from Cassidy:
Will the decision on whether or not to keep Johnathon Cyprien tell us what scheme the defense will use –specifically, if they will play single high safety or Cover 2? I wouldn't keep Cyprien if I wanted to play Cover 2, but you probably aren't going to find an upgrade at strong safety this offseason if you are playing Cover 3/Cover 1.
John: I think we'll have a pretty good idea about the Jaguars' scheme before we learn about the Jaguars' direction on Johnathan Cyprien. Free agency begins in early March, and my guess is we'll have at least a general idea about the Jaguars' scheme well before that. As far as the specifics of that scheme, I'm thinking it's going to be pretty similar to what was run before, and I don't know that we're going to see the massive scheme overhaul that many observers expect. I'm guessing the scheme will be pretty similar to what was run in the past, and that could mean a lot of the single-high safety packages that have been run. Would that favor Cyprien's return? It absolutely could.
Brad from Mansfield, OH:
By no means am I saying Zeke would have played here as he did in Dallas for sure, but when I even threw out there last year about drafting that beast, I got a lot of "only because you're a Buckeye fan," hometown lover, blah blah blah … It doesn't really look like it would have been a bad choice had he even been available when our turn came, although I am very pleased with who we chose. That said, what do you think the chances either of the top two backs are still available when our time comes to draft – and if so, anyone you think that's behind us would want to move up to get them?
John: I wouldn't have been a fan of the Jaguars drafting Ezekiel Elliott at No. 5 last year had Dallas passed on him at No. 5. The Jaguars' needs were too great last year to go running back, and the offensive line was not at a level that would allow Elliott to produce last year in Jacksonville as he did in Dallas. Running backs far more often than not depend on their offensive line for success – and that's true even of elite running backs. As for this year's backs, I don't see either Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook being gone when the Jaguars select at No. 4. They are very good backs, but many analysts don't seem to believe they're on par with Elliott. I also don't believe a team will trade up past the Jaguars to get either player; there doesn't seem to be a buzz for that. Now, will the Jaguars take either player? Looking at it from this far out, my guess would be, "No." That's because right now I would guess that the Jaguars will go defense with that selection. That could change as the draft approaches. We'll see.
Sam from Orange Park, FL:
Sigh. Will Tony ever make the Hall of Fame?
John: I believe he will. The overwhelming feeling I got from talking to many voters this week was that Boselli has a very good chance to get in the Hall of Fame sometime in the next few years. The momentum he has built in recent seasons is significant. He went in three years from not being among the 25 semifinalists to being among the 25 semifinalists to being one of the Top 10. That's a rapid ascension of credibility to the voters and it bodes well for Boselli's chances in the coming years. I got a sense by Saturday that this would not be Boselli's year, but I got a real sense that momentum was building. I think Boselli's time is coming soon – in the next year or so. We'll see.

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