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O-Zone: First things first

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Cory from Madison, WI:
I appreciate your willingness to address questions that often have a negative vibe (guilty). It's well known that Shad Khan has given Gus a mandate this year. Do you foresee this being his way of setting up a potential house cleaning next offseason (general manager and all)? His message seems to be "Gus and Dave are in this together … this was their plan." Am I assuming too much?
John: I don't know that you're assuming too much, but perhaps you're looking through a slightly out-of-focus lens. Media and observers love words such as "mandate," but I've never gotten a feel from Shad Khan that he lays down mandates, do-or-die victory totals or win-or-else threats – certainly not within the scope of this building plan. First, Khan clearly understood and supported the plan from the beginning. Second, he expects the Jaguars to improve next season because it appears there is a good chance that enough building will have been done next season to show improvement on the field; he appears in lockstep with Caldwell and Bradley on that front. But know this: in no way, shape or form is Khan trying to pre-plan or set up a potential house-cleaning. He believes in this plan and – just like Caldwell and Bradley – he expects the time has come that it will show results on the field. Could there be change if it doesn't show those results? Sure, but Khan's certainly not hoping that that's the case, and he's not pre-planning or plotting for the scenario, either.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
There is a name I would enjoy hearing more in conversations about the Jaguars' next defensive coordinator. Jim Bob Cooter. He may not be available or desirable, but I would like it if we mentioned Jim Bob Cooter more. Saying that name is like the word version of downing a frosty pint as you float on a cloud.
John: You'll get no resistance from me on this one.
Scott from Section 137 and Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Don't you think our offense would be better with a durable, power running back like Derrick Henry? He appears to be a once-in-a-decade back like Adrian Peterson: big, tall, strong and fast. T.J. Yeldon is good between the tackles, but was injury prone at Alabama as well as now. Henry would help Bortles a lot; all teams need two good running backs. Any chance we might draft him in addition to a defensive player with our first draft pick?
John: I think Derrick Henry will be a productive player in the NFL. I don't see him being quick enough with enough side-to-side elusiveness to be a once-in-a-decade back. I hope I'm wrong. Everything I've heard from people who covered him is that he's a terrific kid who deserves success. Here's hoping he proves me wrong and is "once-in-a-decade." ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. on Thursday projected Henry at about the third round because he doesn't really have great "wiggle." That's probably about right.
Jesse from Hilton Head, SC:
I was just watching the Top 100 for 2014 and Eric Weddle was getting high praise from his peers. One in particular was Eric Berry, who said Weddle teaches him a lot. How sweet would it be if we could land both of them in free agency?
John: Getting one is all you need. I doubt Berry will be available. Stay tuned.
Brian from Charlottesville, VA:
Isn't the same argument for bringing Alex Mack in the same argument for finding meaningful competition for Luke Joeckel? Wiz and Bowanko both seem to be around average players, especially Wiz. Joeckel on a good day is an average player. Why would we want to improve one average position and not another? My major issue with Joeckel is he has shown on a rough day he will lose you a game. Over the last three years, he has had plenty of pretty rough days. Isn't he about at his ceiling by the end of Year 3?
John: I'm not going to turn every day of the 2015 offseason into a Luke Joeckel Debate, but I will offer a couple of thoughts on your thoughts. First, while your question implies that Joeckel has lost a bunch of games for the Jaguars over the last few years, I'm hard-pressed to think how the record would be dramatically different had there been a reincarnated version of Tony Boselli playing left tackle. It also implies that Joeckel had multiple awful games this past season, which – again – simply is not the case. Regarding Browns center Alex Mack, while his name seems destined to be associated with the Jaguars in the coming months, I would use pencil rather than pen when writing him into the starting lineup. I don't think there's any question the Jaguars will address the interior of the line in free agency, but General Manager David Caldwell also has mentioned the idea of A.J. Cann playing center, so that could be in the works, too. What I don't believe is in the works is a major outlay of free-agency money or an early-round draft selection for a left tackle. While many observers desperately believe such moves would dramatically upgrade the position, it's just not necessarily the case.
Payne from Irmo, SC:
What positions do the Jags need to be a better team?
John: Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush, safety, interior offensive line.
J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
Question! Do the same CBA rules apply during the playoffs in regards to practice? I would think extra time would be allotted to allow the players to prepare and game plan.
John: Answer! The same rules regarding practice days/schedule generally apply to teams in the postseason as during the regular season. Teams in the postseason may hold one padded practice per week.
Miguel from Section 145 and Duuuvvalll!!!:
How about one fer Wayne Weaver and Shad Khan for being men of their word and keeping the Jaguars here in Jacksonville (media reports of our relocation have been greatly exaggerated!)
John: Hey, one fer Shad and Wayne!
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I'm surprised Chip Kelly didn't somehow wind up in Tennessee. I'm not sure how it would have worked out, but surprised nonetheless.
John: I sort of am, too.
Josh from Lynchburg, VA:
First thing I heard when I walked in to work Wednesday morning was "Guess y'all are moving to St. Louis instead of London!" NPR was discussing the teams that are moving out of their respective cities. Overall, it was a fine piece, but then the last thing said in the segment was, "Will another team move there eventually? Say hello to the St. Louis Jaguars? Who knows!" and I had a couple un-nice things to say about that. Blithering idiots really burn my biscuits.
John: A lot of Jaguars fans heard those things Tuesday and Wednesday, and if you were on Twitter it was hard to not read those things. The cruddy thing is that things like that are probably always going to get said. The cool thing is just because people say those things doesn't mean those things will happen.
Neil from Gloucester, UK:
Sir John of Ozone. Still learning the game but here's a question, but would it work assessing cornerbacks in the draft or free agency who would make ideal free safeties as opposed to drafting players who played free safety in college. Or free agency for that matter. If it wouldn't work, why?
John: It can work, and sometimes it does work. It's not incredibly common because the body type and the skill set in terms of quickness and speed for the positions is different enough that players usually enter the NFL playing the position for which they're suited.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
I know this is crazy, but would Tom Coughlin ever come back to the Jags and take the open DC position?
John: I can't imagine a scenario in which that happens for a couple of reasons. One is that Coughlin is head coach and has been for more than two decades. He sets the tone and the vision and makes decisions when it comes to coaching a team. That's who is he is, and that leadership is what makes him great. A defensive coordinator is not in a position from which to set that sort of tone. Also, Coughlin's background is as an offensive coach.
John from Jacksonville:
I have to admit I was expecting our offense to utilize the no-huddle somewhat, especially later in the season, with that pace usually a strength for Bortles. Do you think Olson favors that style of offense and might use it more next season or is he more of the traditional style? Better yet - is the decision more dependent on the defense being effective?
John: I've never gotten the impression Olson is philosophically opposed to running no-huddle. Remember, Olson this past season was installing a new offense with three second-year receivers, a free-agent tight end, a rookie running back and a second-year quarterback. The first order of business was making sure players knew the plays, where to line up, signals, etc. A second order of business was to start functioning as a group and to let these players gain some level of comfort in the scheme. As time goes on, and as Bortles gets more comfortable running the offense from the line of scrimmage, then more hurry-up, line-of-scrimmage, fast-paced stuff makes sense. Crawl first, walk second.

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