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O-Zone: Name game

MOBILE, Ala. – Senior Bowl, baby.

Let's get to it … Steve from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I've been a big Gus Bradley supporter, but this defensive-coordinator interview process was as absurd as it gets. It is obvious we only interviewed candidates desperate for the promotion, but who had no realistic chance to be hired. If I was one of them I would have told Gus (as soon as I walked in the room), "I appreciate you asking me for ideas on how you and Todd [Wash] can fix your sorry defense; I don't appreciate you asking me to prepare for what I thought would be a serious interview. Bye." This process was an embarrassment to our city, the Jaguars, and Shad Khan. How does Gus recover if he needs to interview another assistant?
John: I seriously doubt you or any other assistant interviewing for a job would have said that, but sure … go with that. As for the candidates having some horrified, indignant reaction upon walking into the room, knowing Bradley I think it's safe to say that wasn't the reaction – and that the candidates almost certainly were well aware of the process going in. Also, I must say the last line is a touch amusing to me: an embarrassment to the city, the Jaguars and Khan? C'mon Steve … a little perspective, perhaps. It's a … wait for it … an interview for a defensive coordinator!
Thomas from Jacksonville:
I'm very excited about a new defensive coordinator let me tell you how excited the Jaguars will not get one damn dime from me this year not a jersey not a ticket I'll still be a fan but you ain't gettin no $$$
John: That's fair.
Wayne from Jacksonville:
YEA to Shad and David Caldwell in the belief of Gus. We certainly are going in the right direction. No quarterback wants to learn a new system every year. We've got the pieces in place. Now, let's get them working.
John: Yeah, but try telling that to Thomas.
Sebastian from Austin, TX:
John, being a Jags fan since the start and being young at the time, I've only cheered for one NFL team; to me, that's how it should be, but that's just me. You've said you're no longer biased toward any team (aside from the Jags), because you've been "covering" football for so long and that made you lose the fan attitude toward the game; then again, you have the best insight of what fans think and feel from reading your inbox every day. My question is, do you prefer watching football as a reporter or would you like to go back and watch football as a fan? Do you think there's even that big of a difference?
John: I honestly can't say one is better than the other. I suppose part of me misses feeling passionately about a team. As miserable as running down the hall of 5973 Greenwillow Lane South hitting the wall and crying when the Redskins lost 35-34 to Dallas in December 1979 may have been, the euphoria of Riggo's 43-yard run against Miami in January 1983 made up for it. The nerves, anxiety, highs, lows and thrills watching that team – not to mention watching the SuperSonics win the title in in '79, watching Carolina beat Georgetown in '82 and watching the A's sweep the Giants in '89 – are the sports memories that shaped me. Those were my teams, and they provided moments I'll never forget. I can't honestly say I look at sports that way now, and I can't say I'd watch the NFL that passionately even if I wasn't covering it. So, yeah: maybe I preferred watching it as a fan, and maybe I'll enjoy it that way again someday. As for now, I enjoy covering the team in the capacity that I do. So, don't cry for 'Ol Johnny O, folks … this ain't a bad gig.
Shannon from Brunswick, GA:
I'm hearing rumblings about the Todd Wash hiring. This hire does not bother me. Coaches need players. There was no pass rush this past year, so when Sen'Derrick Marks and Dante Fowler Jr. come back, that should help. Also, I'm sure the Jags will either draft or sign more help in the pass-rushing department. Plain and simple, it's not all on the coach. Mr. Wash may look like a genius if we get some pass rush next year. What do you think?
John: I think Wash would be the first to tell you that the more pass rush the Jaguars get the smarter he's going to look.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Many national pundits are stating that Jalen Ramsey of FSU is the No. 1 prospect in the draft. Do you see the Jaguars moving up a spot or two to take him if Tennessee goes with offensive tackle and Cleveland takes a quarterback? What would that cost the Jaguars in terms of future draft picks?
John: It would probably cost a future second-round selection at the least. I don't see the Jaguars trying to trade up because they're still in a position to use a second-round selection in the coming seasons, but that's my thought now, three months out. A lot of it depends on what they do in free agency and who goes in front of them in the draft. Will a player be so enticing that General Manager David Caldwell gives up a pick down the road to get higher into the Top 5. I doubt it, but we'll see.
Bob from Columbia, SC:
Do players want to play for the Jaguars?
John: Of course.
Don from Austin, TX:
Listening to Todd Wash's comments [Friday], they were a little surprising. He promised more toughness and discipline. For a defense that was in its third year, this was not very complimentary of the work being done. It sounded disjointed and sounded as if players didn't know where they were to be or their role in that defense. He talked about black and white and no gray area. If he is correct, it is easy to see why we had defensive issues. Do you agree with his assessment?
John: Wash on Friday more than anything was outlining his coaching philosophy. This is what introductory press conferences are all about. There were times last season the defense missed assignments and there were communication issues. Those were discussed when they occurred during the season. Those led to missed tackles at times, and it led at times to players being out of position. That sort of thing isn't exclusive to the Jaguars, but it was an issue at times, and it absolutely appears to be something upon which Wash is focusing.
Sunil from Jacksonville:
I find it curious members of the local media keep saying the team will win when the "players play better." Of course that is true. But does that mean that the coaches don't have any role in developing the players? Or game planning? Or mending the plan to fit the players' talents? I mean at what point do we say it's the coach's fault?
John: People can say what they want when they want. The NFL is a players' league. Coaching matters to a point. Players matter more. Yes, the coaches have responsibility to develop talent, but if a player can't pressure the quarterback he can't always be schemed into doing it.
Wayne from West Palm Beach, FL:
Well, we brought back Wash – any chance we bring back Scoobie?
John: What?
Steve from Denver, CO:
O: Logistics question. If we had a home game this time next year (unusual, but possible) would Jacksonville-area hotels have rooms "held" for visiting teams? Do visitors all stay at the same hotel near the stadium?
John: Jacksonville-area hotels probably wouldn't have hotels reserved for visiting teams this far in advance, but the league plans out scenarios for the conference championship games as far out as is reasonable.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Do you see the Jags having any contentious contract situations this year with players currently under contract demanding more money like Maurice Jones-Drew in 2012?
John: No.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
I don't find Wash sitting in on the interviews odd at all. I sat in on interviews when looking for my boss's replacement and was eventually hired into the role. Had someone else been hired I would have benefitted nonetheless by getting exposure to the process from the other side of the table as well as being able to provide input for the selection of my boss.
John: Yeah, but because it's unusual in the NFL it's automatically "wrong." Look, Todd Wash is a good coach. He likely was going to become a coordinator sooner rather than later. Maybe he should have already been the coordinator? Who's to say? This defense needs to improve and it needs better players to do that. Wash is a good choice to guide the process.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Shame on you for trying to embarrass Adam like that. Clearly that "aloud" was a typo because he correctly used "allowed" in the next sentence. Grow up.
John: Thanks for the help, Kellen.

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