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O-Zone: Head start for happiness

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Andrew from Sampson, FL:
You have witnessed the Colts and the Jags (twice) build a team. O'man, please give us your detailed insight into what you gleaned from those experiences. Offense or defense first? Free-agent additions … weaknesses and strengths, etc.
John: I'll preface the answer by noting that I actually arrived in Indianapolis four years into Peyton Manning's career, so I didn't exactly see the entire building process there – but yes, I have been around three "eras" extensively enough to have a good idea for the building process. The reality is there's no Absolute Correct Way to build a franchise. If there were, every team would do it that way. The Jaguars of the mid-to-late 1990s took advantage of the wild-west era of unrestricted free agency, hit big on some draft selections such as Fred Taylor, Tony Boselli and Tony Brackens and eventually spent enough that a pretty good team couldn't stay together. The Colts of Manning's era built around one of the great quarterbacks in NFL history and structured their salary cap around mega-star, mega-dollar contracts such as Dwight Freeney, Manning, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison and so on. They also made sure Manning had weapons, and their priority was making sure the offense was good enough to get into the postseason every season. The notable thing about the Colts aside from Manning is they drafted and developed players and only occasionally supplemented with free agency. As far as the current Jaguars era, General Manager Dave Caldwell clearly took the approach of building the offense – and doing it before the defense – around quarterback Blake Bortles and a slew of talented young skill players and he also has utilized free agency more than is ideal. That was necessary because of the talent level of the roster when he took over. Mostly what I gleaned from all three "builds" is that you need impact, core players to win – and it's really helpful if one of those players plays quarterback.
Craig from Jensen Beach, FL:
Any chance we pursue Greg Hardy on a one-year deal? He would help out our defensive line, give us flexibility in the draft, and could be a low-risk, high-reward signing.
John: I would call the chances very, very, very small. I doubt you'll see any more high-profile signings by the Jaguars before the draft.
TWJAG from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Aaron Colvin: "I made a mistake." But, doesn't the NFL only suspend "a first-time offender" only after multiple failed tests? Shouldn't Aaron say, "I'm sorry for getting caught again?"
John: No. The NFL's policy on performance-enhancing supplements is different than its substance-abuse policy. A player is suspended under the substance-abuse policy after a second positive test. A player testing positive for a performance-enhancing supplement is suspended immediately.
Mike from Navarre, OH:
It is very disappointing to see the news about Colvin. Hopefully, he bounces right back from this with no further issues. This being said, who will fill in for him in his absence? Will this be Nick Marshall's big chance to prove his worth at nickel?
John: As of right now, yes. As of after the draft, we'll see.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Colvin … What an idiot!
John: Nah. He's human. And young. He made a mistake.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
I know it kind of died out 50 years ago with Tom Landry's invention of the 4-3 defense, but with the need to emphasize a pass rush in today's NFL, do you think any team would be open to using a 5-2 defense? Would substituting an extra defensive lineman to aid the pass rush be giving up too much speed on the field? Could there be a situation this season where Dante Fowler Jr., Sen'Derrick Marks, Roy Miller, Malik Jackson and Jared Odrick are all on the field at the same time?
John: I doubt seriously you'll see any team use a true 5-2 as their base defense in the sense of drafting and signing players specifically for that scheme. And you probably won't see Fowler, Marks, Miller, Jackson and Odrick on the field at the time if for no other reason than Miller doesn't play nearly as much as the others in passing situations and you want to get faster, pass-rush-oriented players on the field in those situations. Still, the reality in the NFL is teams rarely use true 4-3 or 3-4 packages anymore throughout any game. And the reality is when you watch most teams it's hard to tell at first glance if they're running a 4-3 or a 3-4. Teams, for instance, often rush two outside linebackers off the edge in a 3-4 scheme. If you consider the fact that those linebackers are often players who could play rush end in a 4-3 scheme then in a very sense teams already are running a 5-2 at times.
Nate from Visalia, CA:
This offseason is the first in my memory where I haven't had to tap into fan rage during a discussion with 49ers or Raiders fans. It's also the first offseason where I can wear a Jaguars hat and people don't ask me what high school I coach for or my kids go to. Seems that whatever is going on out there in Duval is being noticed and viewed with respect and logical thinking. I think Raider fans see both teams as strong up-and-comers, but that could be due to the comparisons made by the media. Whatever. It sure makes my life easier. As for 49ers fans ... they're pretty much calling dibs on our previous corner of the basement and hoping their rebuild is done much like ours has been. It's a good time to be a Jags fan. I'm looking forward to watching the ascension of this team over the next five-to-ten years and when it comes to fannin', feeling pretty damn fortunate to be able to say I've been a fan and follower of this franchise from Day 1. Hats off to you, the suits, the players, and all fans out there. It's been a hell of a ride the last 20-plus years, and I'm looking forward to the next 20 and all the ups and downs that come with it.
John: #DTWD
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi John, I know Aaron Colvin has accepted responsibility and says he learn from his mistake and become a better man … blah, blah, blah! Every repeat offender has said the equivalent thing. The possibility that Colvin gets busted again has to be in the back of Caldwell's mind and could influence his picks in later rounds. Certainly don't think it changes No. 5.
John: You know who else says they've accepted responsibility and have learned from their mistakes? People who … accept responsibility and learn from their mistakes! While a second positive test for performance-enhancing supplements would result in an eight-game suspension, second positive tests for PEDs are unusual. I don't doubt that Caldwell will consider drafting a corner in the later rounds, but I don't think doing so will be an urgent reaction to Colvin's suspension. And I absolutely don't think Colvin's situation will influence the No. 5 selection very much at all.
Jonathan from Middleburg, FL:
Laremy Tunsil definitely No. 1. They have to protect Marcus Mariota at all costs. He is the best and makes the most sense for them.
John: Many, many draft analysts agree – and conventional wisdom does, too. Conventional wisdom also says the Jaguars would like the Titans to take Tunsil at No. 1. The more offensive players go Nos. 1-2, the better for the Jaguars.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Johnny-O, all pundits seem comfortable predicting Laremy Tunsil to the Titans. He is no doubt a talented player, but not a very sexy pick. That's why I don't think it should blow our minds if Jalen Ramsey or Joey Bosa go here. Boom! Pick One, and Jag fans are pulling out their hair. If Tennessee passes on Tunsil, do you think one of the teams drafting before us will select him?
John: Yes.
Mark from Jacksonville:
How do you feel about the Jags passing on edge rushers the first three rounds by getting players such as Myles Jack, Ryan Kelly, and a corner and then picking up a guy like Matt Judon and grooming him to a reserve role behind Fowler? He could end up being a great value pick like Telvin Smith.
John: I have no problem with drafting Jack and Kelly early. They both appear to be long-term starters in the NFL, and if you draft a pair of long-term starters in the first 40 or so selections you've made yourself better. As far as grooming a later-round selection for a reserve role behind Fowler … sure. Why not? Just don't make that move thinking it's going to make a difference next season. It probably won't.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
If the Jaguars turn the corner this year and make the playoffs, how will it change the enjoyment of your job: for better or for worse? If all the fans are happy no one will write the O-Zone anymore …
John: What makes you think people are ever truly happy?

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