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O-Zone: 'Merica!!

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Caleb from Fort Wayne, IN:
When do you see the Jags re-signing Allen Hurns or Allen Robinson? I didn't know if they're going to wait and make them play it out or if they're going to try to lock them up.
John: Although both Jaguars wide receivers will be in their third NFL seasons next season, the rules differ regarding Hurns and Robinson. Because Hurns was not drafted, his contract can be renegotiated now – after his second season. Because Robinson was a second-round selection, the Jaguars cannot renegotiate his contract until after his third season. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars did something with Hurns this offseason, and I would think they would address Robinson pretty soon after the rules allow.
Richard from Lincoln, RI:
I think we are on the verge of seeing Tom Brady and Peyton Manning on their way out. Do you think this is the perfect time for guys like Blake Bortles to really step up and make people notice?
John: Sure.
Adam from St, Johns, FL:
We know you believe they deserve another year. Fine, but why won't you say why? Why won't you tell us something you see in the staff that makes you believe they'll succeed? I think the fans need some proof and all we hear, is about culture. All of these things they're building are great, but good God, something has to change. The offseason can't be the only time they're successful. I mean, for the fans that care about the team, we were here before the shiny new things. We care!
John: You want proof? The reality is there is no proof at this point – only belief. That's true of any head coach who has yet to win. But I indeed have said I'm fine with this staff being retained. Why? I guess more than anything I don't have a really strong feeling that change is the right thing. Has this staff overachieved? No, I can't say that. At the same time, I'm not sure there's much evidence it has failed, either. Yes, the Jaguars are 12-36 with this regime, but I don't know that the best coaches in NFL history could have squeezed more from the first two seasons. Frankly, I'm not sure many coaches could have gotten more from this team than 5-11 this past season, either; the pass-rush problems weren't coaching and the pass rush was where this team was really deficient. Yes, I talk about culture a lot with Bradley, but mainly I have seen no evidence that this team is fragmented – or that the organization doesn't believe in the direction under him. I also haven't seen much evidence that a different coach would make a marked difference. For those reasons, I don't see much evidence that a change was needed.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
I like the Pro Bowl. It still has more television viewers than the World Series and provides a look at what some of these guys are like in the offseason. I'd probably replace it with something like the combine – just to test players' measurables again, give them something to fight over every year, and really just settle the question about "who's faster" and "who's stronger" and "who could beat who in a potato sack race" What do you think?
John: The Pro Bowl actually doesn't outdraw the World Series these days. The 2015 Pro Bowl rating was 5.5 and the lowest recent World Series rating has been 6.1. Still, your point is well-taken – that given its inherent flaws, a remarkable number of people do watch the Pro Bowl. I guess my feelings on the Pro Bowl haven't changed since I was a kid: I rarely watch more than a few plays, so I don't really worry too much about whether the game's entertaining or not.
JT from Jacksonville:
O, is Roger Goodell still determined to have a franchise in London by 2022? That was the original goal, set in 2007 when the International Series began. I don't believe the logistics of travel can be overcome, but assuming London gets a team – and assuming it won't be the Jaguars – what will be the reaction of Jags top brass, especially Shad Khan? How would it affect the extension of home games the Jags would play in London? Shad has invested more in branding the Jags as London's team than any other owner. If another team becomes London's actual home team, it seems that would be a slap in the face to the organization that has done the most to expand the NFL's popularity overseas.
John: This is an issue to watch, and I can't say I have a really good feel for the end game. There's no question the Jaguars are very focused on protecting their position in London – and that continuing to have a home game in London is very important to the local-revenue equation. That has been evident for a while, and Khan and President Mark Lamping made it clear again at the State of the Franchise Friday. It's a priority for the franchise, and it's very hard to see a permanent team in London as a positive on that front. I agree that while it does appear Goodell would like a permanent team there, the reality of it is very difficult – and not only because of travel. I personally like London very much, but would free agents want to sign there? Would their families want to live that far from home? That would be tough to overcome, too. As far as the Jaguars' reaction to a permanent franchise … there's no question they wouldn't like it, but I guess 2022 is a bit too far away for them to get too anxious about it yet.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
If the NFL further experiments with non-New York draft sites, do you expect Jacksonville will host the event within the next five years? Could a successful hosting result in a regular spot in a hosting rotation? Is the NFL draft an event the Jaguars will strongly pursue once the new facilities open?
John: I don't know the time frame, but Khan and Lamping on Friday both mentioned this is as a possibility when discussing uses for the 5,500-seat amphitheater that will be built at the South end of EverBank Field. I would imagine some other construction might have to occur in the area in the way of restaurants and stores, etc., but if that area grows into what Khan and the Jaguars envision … yes, that would be a cool site for the draft.
Mike from Navarre, OH:
What do ya say, O-man, Broncos or Panthers?
John: Every eye test says the Panthers will win, but there's something that keeps reminding me that the Broncos' defense might be one of those elite defenses that wills its team a Super Bowl. So for now … Broncos.
Gary from High Springs, FL:
Do you think the Tennessee Titans are licking their chops to not only draft Bosa in the first but also Sheldon Rankins in the second? If Dave Caldwell sees that as a possibility, do you think he may trade up in the bottom of the first round to prevent that?
John: He will if he likes Sheldon Rankins enough to give up an extra draft pick to get him.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
You show a tiredness for questions involving Khan replacing Bradley. Could it be that all of those questions are fans showing a lack of confidence in the coach? After all, he has shown little in three years to give credence to him being "the man." He talks the talk and is great at public relations, but has no experience as a head coach and continues to make in-game judgement errors. I'm sure there are fans who are all in and hope he does turns things (including himself) around and the team starts to win. Until the team becomes a consistent winner, fans have all the right in the world to question his validity.
John: I must be missing something … when have I written that fans don't have a right to question Gus Bradley? Now, on Saturday I indeed did respond to a question about whether or not Bradley might resign if the Jaguars started 0-5 or 0-6 next season by saying, "Oh, come on … can we just stop this?" That wasn't about being tired of questions about Bradley possibly being fired; it just seems we've reached the point of overthinking/overanalyzing this. I don't think Khan's going to fire a coach midseason and I don't think Bradley would resign midseason. I don't think the Jaguars are going to start 0-5 or 0-6 either, because I think the team is going to continue to improve and win their way out of that scenario. And yes, yes, yes!!! Fans can question anything they want! They can be angry all they want! They can criticize, email me, cry, shout in the streets!!! It is OK to not like things, because you know …. 'Merica!!!!!!!!!

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