O-Zone: It ain't easy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mike from Atlanta, GA:
What does Sunday's Super Bowl win do for the Patriots' legacy? Five Super Bowls and they were in seven Super Bowls – that's an accomplishment. I think you have to put them at or near the top in all conversations about the greatest teams, greatest coaches and greatest quarterbacks. That said, I still have to fault the Falcons for blowing what should have been an insurmountable lead.
John: Sunday's Super Bowl victory essentially cements the Patriots' legacy as the greatest single-head coach, single-quarterback dynasty of the Super Bowl era. The 49ers of the Bill Walsh/George Seifert/Joe Montana/Steve Young era also won five Super Bowls and that group indeed was dominant for a long time. But that 49ers team "only" made five Super Bowls and they did it with two coaches and two quarterbacks. Belichick/Brady have done it over a 16-year period, and perhaps what's most remarkable is even during the seasons in which they didn't win they always seemed like the team to beat or one of the three or four best teams. Their place in history is secure and with one more Super Bowl title they would have to be considered the best dynasty in NFL history. As far as the Falcons' blowing the lead Sunday … yeah, there were two or three plays that they blew and they mishandled two or three fourth-quarter situations. But the game was more about the Patriots winning than the Falcons losing. When a team takes a huge lead in the first two or two-and-a-half quarters in a game there are more often than not multiple opportunities and scenarios for the trailing team to get back in the game. It's up to the trailing team to be poised and good enough to take advantage of the opportunities. The Patriots are the most poised team in the NFL and have been for years. Hence, their status among the all-time franchises.
Jerry from Hero, FL:
John, I just saw an interview Brent Martineau did with Terry Bradshaw about Blake Bortles. I grew up just outside of Pittsburgh. When Bradshaw got drafted by the Steelers, he was anything but a sure thing when he started playing. There were definitely questions about his ability and he didn't immediately replace the incumbent Terry Hanratty. If my memory serves me correctly, which it seldom does, there were even people who thought Joe Gilliam was a better choice. Bradshaw thinks Bortles can do well with the right people around him – both players and coaches – and uses himself as the example of someone who didn't start off on the best foot. Maybe the best comparison I've heard. What are your thoughts on this?
John: Who is Brent Martineau?
Roy from Chagrin Falls, OH:
Zone, if the Jaguars still need to improve the pass rush by draft time – and if they view Myles Garrett to be the elite player and top talent as projected by many analysts – what would likely be the cost to move up from No. 4 to No. 1 to get him? I'm still worried about the pass rush being a weak spot next year.
John: My guess is it might take a future first-round selection or a combination of a second- and third-round selection in some combination of years to move up from No. 4 to No. 1. I doubt that happens.
Jarret from Crosby, ND:
"Boselli not getting in the Hall had nothing to do with market size…" Come on, John. It has a little to do with market size. Boselli was the starting left tackle on the NFL's 1990s All Decade team (and the only starter still not in the Hall, by the way). Left tackle is the most important and difficult position on the offensive line. Therefore, Boselli was the best offensive lineman of the 90s. There's a little more to it than simply being a case of only having five slots available. You wouldn't snub the best lineman of the decade and one of the best all-time based on that alone.
John: Of course not. Boselli's major road block has been longevity. That's why the selection of Terrell Davis this past weekend will help Boselli's case. Davis got in because he turned in four dominant seasons and was a key to two Super Bowl championships. The voters struggled with his longevity, but the Super Bowl success and playoff success eventually tilted the floor in his favor. The voters have struggled with Boselli's length of career as well, but now that Davis is in, the guess here is that Boselli's status as one of the best linemen of the 1990s – and one of the best of all-time – tilts the floor in his favor relatively soon.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
You've made your thoughts clear on Boselli's Hall-of-Fame snub. What I'd like to hear is your thoughts on the HOF nomination and voting process. Do you think it works? No offense to you media types, but I tend to think that the voting committee needs more players and coaches, not just media members. What do you think?
John: I think the Hall process is very imperfect and by its very nature leads to deserving players not making the Hall. But I also think any process would be imperfect because any process involves the human element. I'm not offended when people think the voting committee needs more players and coaches, and I wouldn't be averse to having a few more ex-coaches and ex-players on the committee. In fact, I believe adding five-to-10 former executives and former coaches could help the process. The issue on that front, of course, would be bias. A former coach or executive likely would naturally favor a player of his over another. While such bias perhaps exists to some degree in the current process, my sense is most voters take it out of the equation as much as possible. Overall, I do think the process works and I think it's the best possible process. I know how seriously voters take the process. I've seen the research, thought and discussion they put into the process each year. They do their absolute best to select every deserving player – and for the most part, the committee does a very difficult task extremely well.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
When do you think we will get a statement from Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash about scheme? I feel like it probably won't be too different, but if it doesn't involve a nose tackle – and if last season was any indication – I expect to see more pre-snap movement and disguised blitzes as they showed up more. Are there any things you expect or hope to see?
John: I'm not sure when we'll get a "statement" from Wash or anyone about the defensive scheme, though I suspect we'll get a decent idea about the direction of the defense over the next couple of months – i.e., between now and the draft. Part of the reason this topic has been relatively quiet is the Jaguars finalized the 2017 coaching staff just last week, and the coaches need time to meet and determine direction. I, too, get the idea that the defensive scheme will be pretty similar to last season's scheme, with the big remaining mysteries being whether or not to go lighter at end at times to get Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue on the field at the same time – and how to better utilize linebacker Myles Jack. I do wonder if a way to get Jack on the field is to put him at middle linebacker and play Paul Posluszny at strong-side linebacker. Would there be a possibility of standing up Fowler Jr. more? Will the secondary players be allowed to play a bit more aggressively? Those are some things I wouldn't mind seeing. And I also wouldn't mind seeing the first time Wash talks to Fowler, Tashaun Gipson and Jalen Ramsey when the offseason program begins. I imagine the meeting will go fine, but I'd still like to see it.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
I am struggling to find hope, O. The Super Bowl is over so now, so it's time to look forward to the draft. It doesn't even matter if Dave Caldwell would pick a quarterback high: Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer are gone like the wind. As you and me both know, Blake is not the answer. Free agency will be very limited. And … well, I guess we have to hope Dave doesn't pass on another late-round Dak Prescott. Cheers to another offseason.
John: Quarterback indeed is the Jaguars' key issue entering the offseason – and, really, "key" doesn't remotely describe it. The Jaguars' hopes for the immediate future hinge either on Bortles developing or on finding a legitimate upgrade in the draft or free agency. That's a daunting task. The Jaguars' hope for the long-term future hinge on either Bortles developing or on finding a legitimate upgrade in the draft or free agency. That's a daunting task. Heck, let's face it: it's all daunting. Finding a front-line, winning quarterback is the hardest thing to do in the NFL. Franchises and careers hinge on it. It ain't supposed to be easy.

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