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O-Zone: Equal-opportunity hater

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Orrin from Clearwater, FL:
O-Zone, I don't understand the offensive coordinator interviews? Doug Marrone … Yeah, I guess. But Greg Olson? Why do we want a retread from Mike Mularkey's staff?
John: For me, Wednesday was the real beginning of the offensive coordinator interview process. Not that the previous names weren't serious, but Wednesday felt more like the direction Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley wants to go with this thing. To reset this, the Jaguars reportedly spoke with Marrone at EverBank Field Wednesday and reportedly are expected to interview Olson for the offensive coordinator job. There also were reports that the team wants to speak with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Let's go one by one: Marrone was the head coach in Buffalo, but is an experienced guy who was the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator from 2006-2008 and the New York Jets' offensive line coach from 2002-2005. That's the sort of rock-solid, experienced resume that makes you feel good about a hire, especially for a team that struggled on the offensive line at times last season. Olson, the coordinator for the Oakland Raiders the past two seasons, was the quarterbacks coach in Jacksonville in 2012. While very little went right that year, Olson's reputation for working with quarterbacks is first rate. Olson and Marrone make a lot of sense to be here in some capacity. Gase, at 36, is an offensive wunderkind who many believed would get the San Francisco 49ers head coaching job. That didn't happen. A lot of people wondered why Bradley was waiting so long to hire a coordinator. The reality was the offensive coordinator carousel turns at a different pace than the head coaching carousel, and now's time to hop on a painted horse for a good ride.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Could you provide an update on Sen'Derrick Marks?
John: He underwent reconstructive knee surgery Wednesday.
Mike from Orange Park, FL:
LOL. The New York Jets are hiring Gene Smith for their personnel department. What are they thinking? Do they like third-round punters?
John: What the Jets are evidently thinking is they want good football people in their front office. Smith failed as a general manager in Jacksonville. There is no debating that, because the roster was in sad shape when he left. Looking back there's no doubt many of his draft-day decisions were questionable, and no question a change had to be made. But you can be a good evaluator of talent and struggle as a general manager, and I always believed that to be the case with Smith. I don't know if he ever will be a general manager again, and I'd be surprised if that happened. I also have said since he left Jacksonville I believed Smith would work in the NFL again. There was never a reason to doubt that, and I believe he will be a significant asset wherever he works again.
Dave from Jacksonville:
What is up with all the angst about the Jags and Gus not hiring an offensive coordinator yet? I commend Gus Bradley for performing a professional search and actually interviewing candidates rather than just hiring an old coaching buddy. I also commend Dave Caldwell for allowing Gus to hire and fire his coaching staff as he sees fit. The offensive coordinator is an important hire for Gus, Dave, Bortles and the Jags. I would rather Gus continue with his professional approach and hire the guy who fits that criteria in the end! Whether the guy signs his contract this week or next week really isn't the primary issue. Do you agree?
John: Yes.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Gus Bradley is interviewing more offensive coordinator candidates than any team I have ever heard of. Why? This no longer comes off as simply "doing their due diligence;" it makes it look like he doesn't know what direction he wants to go. With the way this search has been handled and the way he answered questions about what the philosophical differences were between him and Jedd, it feels like he doesn't know what direction he wants to take this offense. Most coaches/teams put together a list of a few guys they have in mind for the job, gauge their interest, interview them, then make a hire. John, can you please explain to me why this coaching search is being handled this way? The team and Gus Bradley look like amateurs.
John: The Jaguars look like amateurs by how they have handled the search? I'm sorry, I just don't see it. Some teams interview a lot of coordinator candidates (the Browns, for instance, have been mentioned with/have interviewed at least seven offensive coordinator candidates this offseason), while other teams know exactly the guy they want and … boom, the timing is such they can make the hire. In answer to your main question, it's pretty easy to explain the handling of the search: when searching for a coordinator, it's often necessary to wait for teams to exit the playoffs and for other head coaching positions to be filled before making moves. It was difficult, for instance, to move on Greg Olson until it was known who the Raiders would hire as a head coach. As soon as it was known that Jack Del Rio was in and the current staff was out, the Jaguars apparently moved quickly to interview Olson. However these searches are portrayed in the media, the reality is the search for a coordinator is a process of behind-the-scenes moving parts and stops and starts. The smoothness and perception of the process doesn't matter much, though. Hiring the right guy does.
Redmond from Duval:
Who is a better quarterback? Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan?
John: Flacco.
Jordan from Joplin:
Maybe I've been listening to Prisco too much lately, but a vertical passing game is what I hope for with the new offensive coordinator. I know that comes with the offense making strides on the offensive line and its running game, but that's what I desire.
John: A little Prisco can go a long way – and that's good, because at his height, there's very little of him. And while I agree with Pete wholeheartedly that you must throw vertically to win in the NFL, there's also little question that the Jaguars must run more effectively. It needn't be the smash-mouth, in-your-face, mano-a-mano running that Prisco inherently detests, but you have to be able to run.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
I've enjoyed the "Focus On The Future" pieces. Robinson spoke of improving his burst off the line and catching the ball at its highest point. Hurns talked about Sullivan and improving his route running. But Lee mentioned getting more consistent? I'm sorry, but that sounds like the athleticism entitlement attitude that has ruined so many gifted receivers.
John: You're right. His goal should be to be less consistent.
Josh from Baker County:
Do you think the media not taking us seriously will make it harder to find an offensive coordinator? I would think Gus Bradley would have to truly convince people to see his vision. We as a fan base believe in Gus, but could it be hard for potential coaches to believe?
John: I don't doubt that there is a bit of convincing needing to be done. But I think it has more to do with the team's record and its offensive production last season than it does the media's treatment of the Jaguars. Any coordinator would look at a struggling offense and a 3-13 team and see there's a lot of work to be done. At the same time, what you want is a coordinator who can look deeper than statistics and see a young offense and a growing situation and know that potential is there to make this work.
George from Savannah, GA:
John, what gives you confidence that if we hire an offensive coordinator with running-attack experience that the current passing coaches can help Blake advance and develop into a better quarterback? It sure wasn't on display this year.
John: I have no idea who the passing coaches will be when a new coordinator is hired.
Joel from Boston, MA:
Your answer to Nate Wednesday regarding the offensive coordinator search was one of the best things I read all day. You may have a future in this, kid. On a related note, I probably need to expand my reading material.
John: Probably?
John from Jacksonville:
Do you have theory or insight on Bradley's mindset for seeking an offensive coordinator candidate strong on the running game? Do you think he is wanting to strike a balance of pass/run where the Jags are effective at both or do you think he wants the offense to be heavier on the run game with less emphasis on the pass game?
John: I think Bradley knows the Jaguars have to run more consistently and effectively than they did last season if they are going to win more games.
Preston from Waterbury, CT:
You say that Gus might have a coach in mind who is still coaching in the postseason. It seems painfully obvious to me that there is someone that he has coached with up in Seattle who he might have in mind. Am I wrong?
John: There's a 25 percent chance you're exactly right.
David from Orlando, FL:
We need a road-grating guard like Vince Manuwai – not these undersized guys that dive at defenders knees. Just sayin'.
John: The Jaguars run a zone-blocking scheme now. That sort of scheme utilizes linemen who are a bit lighter and more athletic. It can work very successfully, even if they aren't road-graters.
Mike from Julington Creek, FL:
The 9:30 a.m crap is just that ... a big pile of crap, dumped (pun intended) on the city of Jacksonville from the NFL. Let's expand the NFL overseas and forsake all the hard working people that love to go to games and support their team. 9:30 a.m. is just ridiculous. Thanks Commish.
John: I guess the Commissioner hates Atlanta, Detroit and Buffalo, too.

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