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O-Zone: Cooler than he looks

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
O-man, here's one for Tom. Our Hall-of-Fame Coach.
John: You know what? Yeah – one fer Tom Coughlin! I was saddened to hear Monday he had resigned as New York Giants head coach. I'm not going to get into whether or not he "deserved a better ending," because as Coughlin knows, you don't always get a good ending in the NFL. I do hope he returns to the league, though. The sport and the league would be lesser for his absence.
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
I understand we need to build the defense from this year's draft … "but," this will be our last time drafting in the Top 5 for some time (see what I did there?), so if Tunsil is available at No. 5 and is the top player on Dave's board, are you sure he won't select him? Top left tackles are really hard to find in the second-through-fifth rounds, so if he is indeed that good and quarterbacks and pass rushers go Nos. 1-4, I say we should take him and spend picks 2-7 on the defense. No?
John: (I did see what you did there.) No, I don't think the Jaguars will select a left tackle in the first round this offseason. If Nos. 1-4 are indeed quarterbacks and pass rushers, go safety. Absolutely.
Cliff from Callahan, FL:
Wow, is the Jaguar fan base really this ignorant and emotionally fragile? Or is it just that ignorant and emotionally fragile fans are more likely to send their childish rants to you? What a bunch of sissies ...
John: Watch it … those are my readers you're talking about. They're fans. They want to win. They should be frustrated. Losing stinks.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Hey O-man, what is a realistic expectation for Dante Fowler Jr. next year and his impact for the defense? I thought it was generally considered that pass rushers take two-to-three years to make an impact. We all know he will be an improvement, but not sure he will fix the pass rush at all his rookie season.
John: It's hard to say the realistic expectation for Dante Fowler Jr., because we've never seen him play an NFL snap. Do I think it's reasonable to think he's going to be a double-digit-sack player next season? That might be asking a lot. Do I think it's reasonable to think he and a healthy Sen'Derrick Marks would be a good start to enabling the Jaguars to at least create a semblance of pressure rushing four down linemen? Yeah, I think that's reasonable.
Sebastian from Austin:
I read some articles on nfl.com and it seems a real probability that Eric Weddle hits the open market. At 31, is he a possible target of Dave this offseason ... play-making free safety that can come in next year and start in a crucial season ... what do you think, O?
John: I think free safety is a major need. As for specific names, we're about 36 hours beyond the end of the regular season. Give me a few days (but yeah, Weddle is a logical choice.)
Stan from Jacksonville:
Here's the thing. I understand your explanation for wanting to keep Gus. However, you can't lose 36 out of 48 games. That's unacceptable and quite frankly an embarrassment for an NFL coach.
John: Your thoughts on that are perfectly understandable. The Jaguars would make the case that the first 32 of those games presented pretty much an unwinnable challenge, but 5-11 this season? It was a disappointment. No doubt.
Geoff from Jacksonville:
If we have a losing record after Game 5 next season Bradley has to be gone, right?
John: If the Jaguars start 2-2 and lose in overtime in Week 5 I do not believe Gus Bradley will be fired following the game.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Hate it when fans have to talk about the draft even before the playoffs. Do you think there will be new free agents worth the dollars out there? Eighty didn't do much for me.
John: I think there will be some free agents available, though very, very few free agents are actually "worth the dollars." As for Julius Thomas, he was a good signing and I think he will continue to be a good signing. He helped the offense when he was on the field and I think as he develops more continuity with Bortles he will continue to improve the offense.
Keith from Summerville:
Jason Myers missed an NFL-high seven PATs … still think it was right to drop Scobee?
John: Not sure I ever said it was "right to drop Scobee." For the short term, I probably would have kept him. For the long term, Myers appears to have a chance to be really, really good.
Chris from Columbus, GA:
"[Luke Joeckel]'s not an All-Pro. He's not elite. But he's pretty OK overall when it comes to NFL left tackles right now." And this is the issue with him. Top 5 picks are expected to be All Pro/Elite. He has left a lot to be desired.
John: True, but there's a difference between Not Being Elite Enough To Be Worth the No. 2 Overall Pick and being Bad Enough To Cut Now.
Brett from Seattle, WA:
Wow. Just realized this: in one game (against us) Watt and Mercilus almost topped our two Leo pass rushers' total sack count for the season... Mind blown (kaboom).
John: Kaboom.
Richard from Jacksonville:
Somewhat lost in the fact that Blake Bortles led the league in interceptions with 18 is he also led the league with 14 fumbles. If Bortles can cure his callous disregard for the football, the Jaguars will have a chance to win more of these close games next year. I believe if he can bring that total down from 32, the league worst, to around the league average, the Jaguars will have a much-improved record. Do you agree?
John: Yes, and the important thing is that he agrees, too.
Carter from St. Augustine, FL:
Call me crazy, but 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in A-Rob's first full NFL season with a cadre of young counterparts on offense screams of future potential. I'm not saying he scores 24 touchdowns in a season or breaks 2,000 yards or even becomes a HoFer ... but I am. He has the opportunity to be that good. Who cares about the Pro Bowl? A ROB TO THE ALL-PRO LIST (and maybe Canton)!
John: Slow down, but yes … he has a chance to be good. Really good. What's important for the Jaguars is he showed consistency this season to be productive on pretty close to a weekly basis. That puts him well on his way to be a core-player, building-block-type player – and boy, does this team need that.
Ian from Indianapolis, IN:
Sir O of the Land of Zone, It sounds like Joe Thomas wants out of Cleveland with all the turmoil happening up there. Should the Jags go after him, and if you think they should, do you think they would? Regardless of how Joeckel has played this year, he ain't Joe Thomas. Imagine having him and Alex Mack on our line with Parnell and Linder...
John: I don't think the Jaguars will invest the sort of salary-cap space needed for that because I don't think they see left tackle as a huge issue – and because there are a lot of other areas of need. But that's right now. Two days after the season. We'll see.
Dave from Melbourne, FL:
Sunday's loss was bad, but as the season was over for the team, it's unsurprising they didn't have the extra grit to fight like they have all season. One sided scores and games like this happen, and it sucks, but it happens even to good teams like the Cardinals (36-6), Packers (38-8 last week) and the Falcons (38-0 a few weeks back). Do these teams need to fire everybody, and tear down their systems because of that one game? Nope, and we don't either. If we keep getting better over the offseason we will be a winning team next year. #dtwd
John: #DTWD
Kevin from St. Augustine, FL:
I've noticed no one talks about how much better our pass rush and overall defense was when Sen'Derrick was in the rotation. I don't have stats or figures to back it up, but it seemed there was a three-to-four game stretch where he was in where we looked much better.
John: I've talked about it and I've written about it, too. The defense was better last season when Marks was healthy and it was better when he was healthy this season, too. He's a surprisingly disruptive force on the interior of the defensive line and his absence without question hurt this defense.
The Lonely Jaguars from Winston-Salem, NC:
"good qb haver" on twitter … he's really irritating. I hope you two don't ever have to cross paths. Water n oil, O, water n oil...
John: Good qb haver is Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country. Alfie's cool. I like him. /ducks

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