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O-Zone: Nattering along

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jamie from Oil Rig in Gulf of Mexico:
Johnny-O, do you think this offensive line (with an upgrade to right tackle) will be enough to help this offense, quarterback and team be better? Or do you see another position on the offensive line besides right tackle needing an upgrade before we start seeing REAL improvement? And, please explain to me why you don't think the Jags should draft offensive line with the No. 3 overall pick when it is such a glaring need.
John: I do think the offensive line will improve next year. That's because I have seen enough to believe that the offensive line was not "71 sacks bad" and that the group can improve with experience as the entire offense gains more cohesion. That doesn't automatically mean the sacks total will plummet from 71 sacks to 15 next season. It also doesn't mean five Jaguars offensive linemen will be in the Pro Bowl. But it does mean the group can improve and help the team win. It also means many of the sacks could have been avoided had receivers been open, had running backs picked up the blitz better and had quarterback Blake Bortles been better at knowing when to get rid of the ball. Sacks are a team statistic, and there were many reasons for 71 sacks. All of that said, the group must improve and there will be additions made. But the reason you don't necessarily draft offensive line No. 3 overall is three-fold. One, when you're drafting that high you want to make sure you feel your selection has a chance to be a franchise -level, difference-making player; it doesn't always work out that way, but that's the objective. Two, you want the player to be the best player on the board – and that might not be the case with an offensive lineman. Three, you don't draft to fill immediate needs; you draft to build a long-term foundation of the best young players you can find.
Keith from Jacksonville:
John don't you think the Jags should get TE Jermaine Gresham, LB Rey Maualuga, RB Mark Ingram and FS Devin McCourty? Our TE Lewis is declining Gresham young vet and fit our system. And or Florida St Nick oleary. Then LB Rey we another vet at LB that's promising. RB hard between tackles every down help out D rob. And FS Mc Courty that can go side line to side line cover the ball and let Cyprien become him and be at line of scrimmage and cover? Just please ask!!??
John: Yes, yes! Sign them all! Sign everyone! Print the list out and sign the guys at the top! Then, keep signing! Go big or go home! Yess!!!!!!!!
Keith from Jacksonville:
John I don't you think WR Randall Colb Demarius Thomas TE Jermaine Gresham RB AP or Mark Ingram LB Rey #58 from bengals FS Devin McCourty//// Now depending how they want to draft but need vet WR probably have to address RB position. They have to address offense in two or three areas! But WR Amari Cooper they have to if his there. Then depending what guys get drafted then 2nd is really where they start! Don't over look Mike Davis #20 SC good every down durable just young I get that. They would have to address CB because I assume Alan Ball there not keeping. That's just Gratz..McCray..Colvin..W Blackmon..and Harrison's. Might have to let go one of the Harrison's W Blackmon get a step slower but has vet presence. So we need another solid cover tackle corner CB Quadre Diggs Texas??
John: Shad Khan … hire this man!!!!
Greg from Mims, FL:
Happy New Year, O-Man! I have noticed that several teams have signed players to 'futures' contracts in recent days, but I am not sure what that means for salary caps and roster slots. Please enlighten us.
John: Players signed to futures contracts are on the 90-man offseason roster, but typically don't have any effect on the salary cap. Only the top 51 cap numbers count on the cap in the offseason.
Scott from Points North in Atlanta:
Do you think Amari Cooper is a better player than Leonard Williams? Just wondering about taking the best player available...
John: They're close. I like Williams, but that's unscientific, un-researched January analysis that could change as the draft draws closer.
Cathy from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
In your opinion, how likely is it that Marcedes Lewis will return with the Jaguars next season?
John: Pretty.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
How do you think it will go down with the following players? (cut, resigned, extension, etc) Marcedes. Hayes. Shorts. Ball. Poz. Sanders. If you were running the show, what would you do with these players?
John: I believe the Jaguars will retain tight end Marcedes Lewis and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny. I don't believe they will re-sign wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, cornerback Alan Ball or linebacker Geno Hayes and I believe wide receiver Ace Sanders will be in training camp next season. I would do pretty much all of the aforementioned, but I would try to re-sign Shorts.
Ron from Asheville, NC:
Why not have the new offensive coordinator learn the terminology instead of making everyone else have to start completely new again? He can still install all his plays but incorporate the plays that worked along with the terminology to make the transition in Year One as smooth as possible.
John: Because to do it the way you suggest would cause a real mess. To do it the way you suggest would mean the offensive coordinator arriving and spending goodness knows how long going through the old playbook, figuring up what plays match up with one another and renaming everything. That's assuming that the new coordinator even likes all that much about the old offense. No, the coordinator brings the playbook and the coaches and players run it. That's how it is.
Michael from Jacksonville:
What would you say is the Jags' biggest need going into the draft? And do you see them trading out of the No. 3 spot to acquire more picks or staying put?
John: Here's hoping the Jaguars don't draft for need – at least not immediate need. That's not the best way to draft. I believe the Jaguars will target a pass rusher/dominant defensive lineman early in the draft, and I'd guess they will stay there and select Leonard Williams from Southern California. But I also guess the draft is four months away, so … yeah …
Mike from West Des Moines, IA:
Do you think if the Jaguars' coaches did not coach the Senior Bowl last year, we would not have drafted Aaron Colvin? I remember him being talked about as a possible first-round pick, then he tore his ACL the week of the Senior Bowl. I remember reading, possibly from a senior writer, that Gus and the coaches really liked what they saw from Colvin before his injury. I also remember that Gus was keeping an eye out for cornerbacks that fit his mold for his defense, and Colvin not quite being tall/big enough, but his talent was too enticing. Caldwell deserves credit, but I don't know if he takes that risk without having the coaches see him up close.
John: No, I don't think the Jaguars would have drafted Aaron Colvin if they hadn't coached the Senior Bowl.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
I'm surprised Jedd got canned; is the team worried about Blake's mindset, maybe him feeling responsible for the firing?
John: I think that's the least of the organization's concerns.
John from Jacksonville:
I'm not understanding the logic of drafting a running back in our next draft. We have several good running backs to choose from once the offensive line is tuned up after another offseason. I don't think this is a priority at all. What am I missing?
John: Not much. I believe the Jaguars could take a running back some time during the first two days of the draft is there is a back available who's just too good to pass up, but I don't believe it's a pressing need yet.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
So who will be the offensive coordinator for the Jaguar staff for the Senior Bowl?
John: We'll see. I'd guess Jerry Sullivan. He has been an NFL coordinator and it seems reasonable to believe he will be on the staff whatever happens with the permanent coordinator position.
Mark from Connecticut:
What positions do you think will be the main targets in free agency? What about the draft as well?
John: I believe the Jaguars will target free safety, tight end, outside linebacker and right tackle in free agency – and probably interior offensive line. I believe they will draft the best defensive lineman available in the first round, and I hope to goodness they draft best-player available after that.
Charlie from Jacksonville:
I fail to understand why you are moved to include Jerell's manic, inane natterings. He's just a hyperactive nincompoop with a keyboard, and we have ready access to a plethora of those already.
John: I like Jerell's natterings – that's why.

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