JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Ron from Jacksonville:
Tony Boselli not being a Hall-of-Fame finalist again … that's criminal.
John: I couldn't agree more. Former Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli was a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year for the first time, but he was not one of the finalists announced Thursday night. And yeah, you're right … it is just, plain wrong. I kid Boselli a lot within the framework of this column, but one thing I never joke about is how good he was as a player – and Boselli was perhaps the best left tackle in the golden era of left tackles in the NFL. The primary case against him is career longevity, but similar longevity didn't keep Gale Sayers or Dwight Stephenson out of the Hall of Fame. It shouldn't keep Boselli out, either. Being a semifinalist was a good step for Boselli's Hall chances. It will get him in the conversation – and that matters. I believe that step eventually will lead to Boselli being enshrined in Canton. But for him not to be one of 15 finalists this year … ridiculous.
Anne from Orange Park, FL:
A-Rob made the Pro Bowl … yesssssssssss! One fer A-Rob?
John: Absolutely, one fer A-Rob. Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson, a Pro Bowl alternate when the rosters were announced in December, made the game on Thursday when Calvin Johnson opted not to play because of injuries. Robinson had a strong case to be one of the eight receivers initially named to the game, so this was absolutely deserved. He worked for it and earned it, so good for him.
Tim from St. Pete, FL:
If it is so difficult to find a free safety with good field-coverage skills, why not go to a larger cornerback? Are the skill sets needed for our free safety that much different? Didn't Woodson make the shift? I think he was pretty good.
John: Ya gotta wanna tackle and ya gotta be good at it.
Jon from Chapel Hill, NC:
With all of the recent firings of coaches after one, two and three years, how are the contracts usually set up? Are there offsets for accepting a job elsewhere as in college? I know there is no salary cap for coaches, but what sort of "pain" does the club incur for firing a coach and staff before their contracts are up?
John: The pain is real. For an owner to fire an entire coaching staff, he must be prepared to pay a large portion of that salary. Part of that salary is offset if coaches are hired by other NFL teams, but it's usually not all – and it's usually a pretty expensive proposition for the owner.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I don't think Paul Posluszny's impact on the defense can be understated. He is definitely the general of that unit, doesn't miss tackles, always is where he is supposed to be, etc. However, do you think it's time for him to become a two-down linebacker? He's never been great in pass coverage, and he hasn't gotten better with age. Do you think the Jags may look at drafting a late-round mike linebacker that can be on the field in obvious passing situations and could be groomed to replace Poz when the time comes?
John: Yes, I think that's possible.
Ed from Jacksonville:
Hey O, is the rumor true that the Jaguars are going to include tickets to the 2017 Senior Bowl in this coming years' Teal Deals?
John: No truer than the rumor my new Jaguars underwear have Reese's Senior Bowl logos on them.
J-Dub from Gainesville, FL:
Why are they called free and strong safeties? I know you have to be strong to be a strong safety, but what makes a free safety free?
John: A strong safety typically lines up on the "strong" side of the formation, meaning he plays the tight end and has more responsibility against the run. A free safety typically lines up off the line of scrimmage and is "freer" to roam, make plays and follow the ball.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, as rookie players learn, so do rookie general managers and rookie coaches. The 2013 draft was not great as of last look, but the 2014 draft and so on were good ones. I think Dave Caldwell would privately admit he would have handled the Daryl Smith, Brandon Marshall and Justin Durant situations differently with 20/20 hindsight. I think Gus will impart his defensive acumen more this year. Teams that have a little patience seem to do better than those who do reactionary firings. Mr. Khan didn't become successful by knee-jerking his way in the world of business. Go Jags.
John: I agree that general manager and coaches can improve with experience, but I don't know how much different Caldwell would have handled those situations. While Daryl Smith in retrospect was a mistake, he had missed 14 games the season before Caldwell arrived – and players that injured at that age often are on the decline. Also, the Jaguars' rebuilding plan calls for young players to develop and it's difficult for young players to develop if players are playing ahead of them. And while Marshall obviously has gone on to excel with the Broncos, Durant was released well before Caldwell arrived as general manager.
Trae from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Hey, O-Man: I am seeing unconfirmed reports that Mel Tucker will be hired as the University of Georgia's next defensive coordinator. Tucker, obviously, has ties to the Jaguars. He had a bad run in Chicago. Do you think Tucker's time in Chicago was due more to lack of talent on the roster or his inability as a coordinator and how would you feel about Tucker being hired as your team's defensive coordinator?
John: Tucker reportedly indeed will be hired as Georgia's defensive coordinator. I'd have be fine with Tucker as defensive coordinator here. I covered Tucker as defensive coordinator here in Jacksonville. The first year, 2011, the defense was very good and the second year – Mike Mularkey's year – it was not as good. Daryl Smith was healthy the entire first season and he was not healthy the entire second season. I'm not familiar enough with the Bears' talent during his time there to pass judgement, but I do know coordinators' success typically rise and fall with how well their players play. People who love the coordinator carousel recoil at that concept, but it's generally the case.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
LOVIE SMITH FOR DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR!!! GET IT DONE!!! But seriously... with that unexpected firing, do you believe he would be a good fit with the Jaguars' personnel and Bradley's scheme?
John: He would be fine.
Joe from Fleming Island, FL:
I have heard several people, including Boselli, state that how Luke Joeckel played the last game was unfortunate because he has improved much of the year. If we were going to lose, perhaps him playing really poorly will provide additional motivation during the offseason. We often hear players after a poor performance wanting to get on the field as soon as possible after a bad game to demonstrate the poor playing was not "really" who they are. Thought?
John: The Jaguars hope that's the case, because while Joeckel was better than many fans believe this season, he still could improve. A lot. How much of a difference will that extra motivation make? Who knows, but I suppose every little bit helps.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Johnny-O, when you sack the quarterback and collapse the pocket, the quarterback is more likely to make mistakes. Blake Bortles led the league in times sacked (51) and was under constant pressure, so doesn't it make sense he should have a higher percentage of interceptions? The two areas Bortles needs to improve the most are reducing interceptions and increasing his completion percentage. When the offensive line starts playing better, these shortcomings will go away. Thoughts?
John: There's no question pressure often leads to interceptions, but I can't honestly say that a huge percentage of Bortles' interceptions were a direct result of pressure. Improving the protection couldn't hurt in that area, but Bortles overall needs to become more efficient. I'd be surprised if that doesn't begin happening next season in his third NFL season and second in Greg Olsen's system.
David from Ada, OK:
I love fans who complain about fans who complain not realizing by doing that very thing that they are also fans who complain, thus being the object of their own ridicule. It's like pinning the kick me sign on your own back. Isn't it ironic ... don't you think?
John: That's the thing about irony. At times – almost all of the time, in fact – it's ironic.
Chris from Jacksonville:
I think that all of J.J. Watt's dance moves from last Sunday should be cut up and put into a motivational video and run on a continuous loop throughout the entire offseason in the Jaguars locker room! And for extra fun, zoom in the permanent smile emblazoned on his face too!
John: Nah. I mean the idea is fine, but I walk through the locker room occasionally – (they sometimes keep sammiches back there) – and I don't particularly want to have to see that.
O-Zone: Mmm... sammich
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Ron from Jacksonville: