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O-Zone: Improbable cause

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jagster from Gainesville, FL:
Let's be real: assistant head coach is a way to steal a coach from another team to make it sound like a promotion instead of lateral, which wouldn't be allowed.
John: Not really … no; and in fact, not at all. Any coaching movement between NFL teams that doesn't involve a promotion to head coach is considered "lateral," and therefore NFL teams can decline to grant permission to any team wishing to interview an assistant for any position other than head coach. If a team wanted to interview, say, Jaguars running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley for offensive coordinator or any position other than head coach next offseason, the Jaguars in theory could decline permission. That's true whether or not the requesting team attached "assistant head coach" to the proposed title or not. The assistant head coach title more often than not is a nod of respect to a former head coach or to a particularly respected member or the staff deserving acknowledgment or promotion, but it doesn't in any way help a team hire an assistant who otherwise would be unavailable.
Chris from Mandarin:
I believe Blake Bortles can fix his mechanics, though it will require constant maintenance. However, at this point, I don't think his inability to read a defense is fixable. He throws easy interceptions into triple coverage. So do I, John … so do I. That among hundreds of other reasons is why I am not a quarterback.
John: This is a fair concern and I agree Bortles' decision-making is a bigger issue than his accuracy. Can he improve in this area? We'll see.
Limo Bob from Jacksonville:
Is Tom Coughlin in a no-lose position? Only way we can go is up.
John: That may be how outsiders see it – as if 7-9 if 8-8 would be a dramatic improvement and a pretty cool thing next season, and as if whatever the Jaguars do would be improvement so there's not much pressure on Coughlin or Head Coach Doug Marrone. I doubt Coughlin would see 7-9 as very cool and I doubt Marrone would like it all that much, either.
Joshua from St. Johns, FL:
So, TC is back, Keenan is the wide receivers coach ... can Boselli be far behind as the O-Line coach? They've joked about it on 1010XL for a bit, but is there a legitimate reason he wouldn't merit real consideration?
John: One reason is that the Jaguars already have hired an offensive line coach: Pat Flaherty. Another reason is I don't know that Boselli wants to coach in the NFL just yet. I can see it being something he does down the road, though – and at that point, I can see it being something at which he's pretty good.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
O, it appears the staff is mostly assembled. What additional roles do you expect to be filled, and what are your thoughts on the group?
John: The Jaguars still haven't announced tight ends or linebackers coach, but for the most part – yes, the Jaguars' coaching staff is pretty much assembled. It's an interesting group because how it was assembled will be the focus of some scrutiny. The Jaguars retained the offensive and defensive coordinators – Nathaniel Hackett and Todd Wash – from last season; because this team went 3-13 last season, that's a decision that understandably raised some eyebrows. I think both will implement changes next season – and they both showed themselves qualified for their jobs last season – but when you retain coordinators from 3-13 it's going to be a focus. As far as the assistants, the group has a definite Coughlin feel with defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell and Flaherty all having strong ties to Coughlin. That's a topic because those coaches feel to some observers like "Coughlin hires" rather than "Marrone hires." How it feels now matters not a whit compared to how it feels in the fall. How will it feel then? This appears to be a capable staff with a lot of NFL experience. There are no glaring deficiencies. We'll see how it all comes together.
Bob from Sumter, SC:
Do you think Myles Jack is a natural fit at middle linebacker – or is he a natural weak-side linebacker and the team is trying to find a spot for him with Telvin Smith playing at a Pro Bowl level?
John: I think Jack could fit fine either at middle or weak-side linebacker and the team is trying to find a spot for him because both Smith and Paul Posluszny are playing at very high levels.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The history of the Jaguars after Tom Coughlin left has me thinking anything he wants to do is the way to go. I am ordering up that teal juice by the case. The thought of someday the Jaguars winning a championship is all I care about. Only a fool would bet against Coughlin and I was a fool when he left last time and that is not going to happen again. His word is golden to me. If he wants fans to bark at the moon than I am howling! Go Jaguars!
John: #DTWD
Maurice from North Potomac, MD:
I do understand the temptation behind taking a running back at No. 4, but why? I ask because what good is a running back at four behind THIS offensive line? That to me would be like a Todd Gurley situation in St. Louis all over again. Everyone looks at Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas, but forget he has the best line in the league. OF COURSE, we can all say this NOW without knowing what will happen in March, but to me it's a HUGE reach – especially since the run game REALLY improved under Hackett. Go need with a guy we really need such as Jonathan Allen, etc., instead of luxury behind a line that clearly struggled. Drafting a running back behind this offensive line is a HUGE reach and possibly a waste of a pick. I still have faith in T.J. Yeldon behind much better interior guard play. Thoughts?
John: My thought is I often have said that I philosophically am not a big Running-Back-in-the-Top 10 guy in the draft, but what I am more than anything is a Get-an-Elite-Player-Who-May-Be-An-All-Decade-Guy-in-the-Top-5 guy in the draft. When selecting in the top five, you want to get that sort of guy because it's rare to have a whole bunch of those guys on the roster and you usually can figure out a way to let them help you in the long run. So, if a mega-talented running back on an Adrian-Peterson level is there at No. 4 … yeah, OK. Mega-talent is cool. Coaches like it.
Chris from Jacksonville:
If the front office thinks so highly of Doug Marrone, then why do you think they took so long to make a switch? There seems to be more to this story as it would seem more likely that an earlier switch would have been a great opportunity to test the new coach instead of just the last two games. What's your take on this?
John: This is a question I get a lot, and the confusion is understandable. But remember: Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and General Manager David Caldwell in November and early December of last season weren't thinking, "Let's test Doug Marrone to see what he can do as a head coach." Rather, they were thinking, "We're going to turn this around under Gus Bradley and make a run." Now, it's understandable to ridicule, resent or even regret that thinking because the Jaguars never did make that run – but that's why the timing played out as it did. The decision wasn't about Marrone and the future; it was about Bradley and the 2016 season.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I have heard a lot about Tom Coughlin's choices for the coaching staff. Now I'm hearing a lot of questions about what Coughlin might do in free agency and who he might pick in the draft. It is clear that among fans and the media, Tom is the man in Jacksonville right now. It is also clear that any success this team has in Year One will be attributed to him. My question is will Tom be blamed if things don't work out like everyone hopes, or will the blame go to the head coach and general manager as is customary?
John: I guess I'm just very good at predicting blame – probably because I don't spend all that much time trying to figure out Individual blame in what is by definition a team endeavor. But if recent history and experience tells us anything it's that if the Jaguars aren't successful next season there will be more than enough blame to go around – and yes, Coughlin and Marrone will get the brunt.
Mark from Palm Coast, FL:
It is not that improbable to go from 3-13 to playoffs next season. The Cowboys were 4-12 … then divisional playoffs. It can and will happen!
John: Going from 3-13 to the postseason is by any definition "improbable." That's because it likely would take a six-to-seven game turnaround. But is it impossible? Of course not, so yeah … #playoffsin2017 #DTWD

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