JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … April from Pooler, GA:
With at least three guys known for working with young quarterbacks – the Oakland and Buffalo guys – and their guys, can you see how 'too many cooks in the kitchen' and offensive-philosophy conflicts are concerning? Getting everyone on the same page while moving Blake forward is going to be an interesting challenge.
John: We appear to be well into the worrying-for-the-sake-of-worrying stage of the offseason – which, come to think of it, is pretty much the entire offseason. Look, I understand the passion for this team. And I understand that this team has lost enough in recent seasons that every move will be judged with a skeptic's eyes. But now we're essentially asking, "Is there too much competent, experienced knowledge around Blake Bortles?" The Jaguars by all accounts have hired the core of a solid, balanced offensive staff. Greg Olson is experienced in the offensive coordinator position and working with quarterbacks, Doug Marrone is the offensive line coach and has experience in other positions such as head coach and coordinator. Nathaniel Hackett at quarterbacks coach is young, but has two seasons experience as an offensive coordinator and Kelly Skipper is an experienced running backs coach. On paper, there is little to dislike there. It's the responsibility of the men involved – including Head Coach Gus Bradley – to fulfill their roles without getting in each other's way. Marrone is coaching offensive line, Olson is coordinating the offense and Hackett will focus on Bortles. Each has enough to do without bothering the other.
James from Jacksonville:
Love Jags of the round table. Still looking at the square table there. Is there a reason for this?
John: Wait. What?
Ron from Asheville, NC:
I liked everything I heard from Olson about his approach to the Jags' offense. It was pretty simple and to the point, centering around developing Bortles to get the most out of his talents. I thought the most telling thing he said was he wants very much to get the running game going to take the pressure off Bortles – that he and Marrone will spend the next couple of weeks primarily looking at how best to get that going. Would you agree the vision he has is more of a run-heavy offense, and tailoring back the passing game to make it easier to execute the plays Bortles does best?
John: I don't know about the "tailoring-back" part, but I certainly think Olson wants to run the ball better than the Jaguars did last season, and I believe Bradley very definitely wants a more effective, consistent running game. Once that is working, execution of the passing game should improve no matter how simple or complex the approach.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
I actually prefer Kevin White over Amari Cooper. Maybe not at No. 3, but in general. As the draft comes closer, I imagine that will become more of a conversation. Your thoughts?
John: I think so, too.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
Did you use a pickup line when you met your wife? If so, what was it and did it work?
John: I used the line I used a lot back then: "Hi, I work for a newspaper. Do you want to date me and pay for a lot of what we do?" We all have regrets. A lot of hers started around then.
David from Oviedo, FL:
It has been well-documented the Jaguars are looking for an upgrade at the free-safety position. Josh Evans is currently in that position … do we believe that he cannot grow into the long-term star at free safety or has that ship sailed?
John: I haven't been keeping track of the ships or their schedule. I do believe the Jaguars will work very hard to sign a veteran free agent at free safety, and I think that means they want to improve over the players who played last year.
William from Section 432 to Section 231:
NEW SEASON TICKET HOLDER RIGHT HERE
Eric from Section 206:
In your experience, are Jaguars fans more negative and pessimistic overall than other fans? Or are whingers and whiners just over represented in the Zone? What dose do they have you on? You seem to cope better than I would.
John: Fans for all teams complain if their teams aren't winning enough. That means winning the Super Bowl. So, yeah, I would say Jaguars fans are about like all other fans. And considering there hasn't been much winning around here lately, I would say a little whining and complaining is merited.
Rick from Jacksonville:
Bortles is going to get Gus Bradley and David Caldwell fired. This kid has a low football IQ, has horrible fundamentals and his athleticism is average compared to other NFL players. It is obvious that he was not worth a second-round pick let alone a first round pick. Unless the team's running game and defense are amazing next season, this is still on 0-16 team because it has a horrible head coach and an incompetent quarterback.
John: But other than that, things are good, right?
Eric from Long Beach, NY:
O-Man, with the addition of Nathaniel Hackett as the new quarterbacks coach, Gus Bradley has truly assembled a top-notch coaching staff. Everyone is hungry and passionate in competing. Top to bottom throughout the organization. I am more than thrilled with our direction.
John: Haven't you talked to Rick?
Paul from Jacksonville:
What does it say about the Bills that they have had two head coaches voluntarily step down? Also, what does it say about the Jags that we picked up both those coaches?
John: It doesn't really say much about either place. Mike Mularkey left the Buffalo Bills in 2006 when that franchise was owned by the late Ralph Wilson and was run by Marv Levy, who recently had taken over as general manager. Mularkey didn't join the Jaguars until January 2012 – six years later. Marrone left the Bills early this month when the franchise was owned by Terrence Pegula, who bought the team last September after Wilson died. Mularkey was hired in Jacksonville by then-General Manager Gene Smith while Marrone was hired by Head Coach Gus Bradley. While the teams may be the same so many variables have changed that there really aren't any parallels. While it is indeed an interesting coincidence that Mularkey and Marrone left head coaching positions Buffalo and later worked in Jacksonville, it is just that – a coincidence that says little about either franchise.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
Derek Carr spoke glowingly of Greg Olson and he seems to think Blake will love the guy. Sacks are where he thinks we'll see the biggest difference, with Olson being great at teaching blitz recognition and protection calls. That should be a boon to the offense itself.
John: If Bortles improves in those areas, it would be a good thing. Very good.
Tym from the Southside:
O-Zone, aren't we in an age of football where you'd hope all of your linebackers have pass-rushing ability and coverage skills? It's a passing league and I think we'll continue to see a transformation of linebackers to slighter, more athletic players who have the skillset of traditional safeties (although better tackling and maybe less speed). Telvin Smith seems like a perfect example. Eventually you'd like to have an Otto, a Leo, and some Mayo (that's a pass-rushing MLB, in case Gus needs to know).
John: You'll probably see teams gear a bit toward that, but only a bit. Yes, teams ideally want linebackers who can run and cover. And when you get them, that's a good thing. But if you gear too much in that direction, you find yourself unable to defend the run. Then, you not only can't stop the run but you tend to leave yourself exposed to the pass by shoving safeties to the line of scrimmage because your linebackers can't stop the run.
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 233:
We can't handle the truth. We want you on that wall. We need you on that wall....
John: OK, but you gotta ask me nicely.
Morgan from Jacksonville:
Do you ever use questions posted in the O-Zone for interviews? I sometimes see good questions about players/coaches opinions that would be better answered by the people themselves – i.e., the question regarding Doug Marrone's thoughts or motivations to step down from a head coach position to an offensive line coach.
John: Doug Marrone hasn't been available to the media since his hiring as assistant head coach-offense/offensive line. I think it's safe to say this will be topic when he speaks to the media – and it probably would have been even with or without the existence of this forum.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
With all the names of defensive positions such as Leo, Mike, Sam, Will, and Otto, do you think there will ever be a "John" position? What do you think the responsibilities will be?
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
Is the list published?
John: The question refers to a list I mentioned in the O-Zone earlier this week. It's a list of character flaws and mistakes and just general wrongness that I bring to my marriage. No, it's not published, though I am fortunate enough to be reminded of its contents regularly.
O-Zone: Daily reminders
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … April from Pooler, GA: