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O-Zone: Keep pushing

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mike from Navarre, OH:
How about some way-too-early predictions? What kind of production do you foresee from The Allens in 2016? Will they blow their 2015 numbers out of the water, or will there be a speed bump in their progress?
John: This isn't an either-or scenario. The Jaguars' offense put up eye-catching, historic passing numbers in 2015. While those numbers were fun to track, it would behoove the offense if Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns didn't take a dramatic jump statistically next season. "What?!!!!!!," you say. "That's right!!!!," I say. The Jaguars' offense could benefit from greater balance – i.e., better running offense; more production from Julius Thomas, Marqise Lee and Rashad Greene. If they get that balance, it's possible the Allens and Bortles could put up similar or even reduced numbers and have better seasons – and that the team as a whole could be significantly improved.
Terry from Chester:
All this free-safety talk … we had a Pro Bowl free safety on the roster once - Reggie Nelson - but he never played at Pro bowl level in Jacksonville. Your thoughts?
John: I suppose my thoughts are that Nelson is a good player for the Cincinnati Bengals and that he wasn't as good while with the Jaguars.
Cliff from Jacksonville:
Well, as long as ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said it...
John: Mel Kiper Jr. is a good draft analyst. He's cool. I like him.
Emile from Tallahassee, FL:
When was the last time the Jags entered an offseason with stability at quarterback, receiver and offensive coordinator?
John: I suppose they had years with stability at the three spots in the 2000s. The last time they entered an offseason with this level of stability and ability at all three positions… the 1990s.
Colton from Duval County:
Would it be crazy to think that the reason behind David Caldwell giving Doug Marrone the assistant head coach title was to have his "Plan B" in the building should Gus ever be released?
John: It wouldn't be crazy, but it would be incorrect. It is very common for ex-head coaches to be given the title of assistant head coach or associate head coach when they take jobs as position coaches. It was not given to Marrone as a way of paving the way for him to become head coach.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
I'm probably speaking for a lot of Jags fan when I say this … cannot wait until Bryan Anger is not re-signed. Do we draft a new punter or look on the open market?
John: I don't know that you actually speak for all that many Jaguars fans on this topic – but maybe you do. Look, I doubt Anger is back with the Jaguars next season and I get that he will forever be remembered here as being drafted too early, but he certainly has done nothing to make fans anxious to see him not re-signed. I doubt the Jaguars will draft a punter this offseason. A more likely scenario is that they sign a veteran or rookie as a free agent.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Will there be any changes to the starting quarterback? Chad I think could be great next year and will danta flower Jr. Start next season?
John: I get emails like this sometimes.
Baguar from Bagsonville:
O, who would you rather have in your backfield, Freddy T or Adrian Peterson (both healthy and in their prime)?
John: Wow. I guess I would say it wouldn't matter, because both are absolutely elite-level, all-time talents. I'd probably have to take Peterson because he has been so productive and so durable for so long, but it would be close.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
John, I have Denver, New England, Arizona and Seattle winning this weekend. Manning looked more like his old self than an aging, declining player in the regular-season finale. I want to pick Kansas City; I think the Chiefs' pass rush could give Tom Brady and that O-Line some issues, but I have a rule about picking against Tom Terrific in Foxborough. Cam is good, but those Seahawks look like they are a determined and talented bunch. Who you got?
John: I got who you got, though I'm nervous about the Seattle pick.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, I never understood the strategy of not picking an interior offensive lineman or a safety in the first round. Why is a great guard or center not as valuable as a left tackle or a safety as valuable as a cornerback?
John: It long has been held that left tackle/cornerback are harder to find than guard/safety, and therefore if you want a good one, you need to get them in the first round. It also has been long held that left tackle and cornerback are cornerstone positions and that free safety and guard are not – that you can get by with "serviceable" at those spots if you are good at other spots. Those perceptions may be changing, particularly when it comes to the free-safety position.
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
While Jim Bob Cooter is an extraordinary name for any topic he is sadly an offensive coordinator, not a defensive coordinator.
John: Don't think for a minute the man couldn't do whatever he darned well pleases.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
Dave Caldwell suggested Gus's contract situation is "fluid" and one interpretation is he might get an extension before the season. Is another possibility that Gus might be moved to defensive coordinator and a new head coach hired such as, say, Tom Coughlin for example? I don't recall what exactly was said in announcing Gus would be back next season but did that leave open the possibility of some fluidity such as Dave suggested? Probably not a realistic interpretation of Dave's comments but I am trying to understand just what he meant.
John: Shad Khan said during the final week of the season that Gus Bradley will return as the Jaguars' head coach in 2016. I have no idea if he will receive an extension before the season or not, but until Khan says Bradley won't be the head coach in 2016 – which would be absolutely shocking – it's safe to assume there won't be a change in the position.
Jesse from Hilton Head, SC:
I haven't heard much more on the Jaylon Smith injury other than he required surgery and is going to be out for most of not all of next year. If that is the case and doctors predict him to have a full recovery, I personally would not be opposed to selecting him with our fifth pick and letting him sit a year. He is a potential All-Pro middle linebacker and I'm not sure Puz has more than one more good year in him until we need a replacement. Might as well be a Jaylon, your thoughts?
John: I don't believe the Jaguars will draft a player at No. 5 overall with the preconceived notion of having him sit out the 2016 season.
Chad from Sinking Spring, PA:
Watching Jonas Gray the last two games I really like how he runs. He has the power and speed to make big plays. I think if our offensive line stays very similar next year he would be a better fit than Toby Gerhart or even Denard Robinson. He hits the hole fast and with power. I think he and T.J. Yeldon would be a perfect one-two punch.
John: I wouldn't rule that out as a possibility.
Alexander from Duval:
Can you please explain to people that J.J. Watt would routinely line up against Jeremy Parnell NOT Luke Joeckel. I'm tired of hearing over and over again about Watt beating him over and over again two weeks ago. Watt beat Sam Young. Mercilus beat Joeckel.
John: Yes, Watt routinely lines up over the right tackle, which means he usually will line up over Parnell and Luke Joeckel. But Watt also moves around the line a lot before the snap and while Mercilus indeed beat Joeckel in the now-infamous 2015 regular-season finale, Watt got over there and beat him, too.
David from YStad, Sweden:
Hey, John! Do you see any scenario where the Jags would go after Robert Griffin III to back up Bortles? Seems their skill sets are quite similar.
John: No, I don't see that scenario. First, I imagine RGIII wants to try to go somewhere where he has a chance to start. Second, Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell is partial to quarterbacks who can win from the pocket first and run second. RGIII perhaps can become that sort of quarterback, but he's not there yet.
Geoff from Jacksonville:
Now that we're in the offseason, how about publishing an O-Zone with e-mails that really make you laugh. It'd help the readers get an insight into what makes John tick.
John: I think people have all of the insight into what makes me tick that they want.
Parker from New York:
How does this work?
John: Just keep pushing 'til you hear something snap. That's what I always do.

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