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O-Zone: No place like home

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Michael from Atlanta, GA:
Why does no offensive coordinator or offensive line coach want to go to Jacksonville? What are we doing wrong? If Bill Callahan is so great, why Washington?
John: Your question assumes the Jaguars have offered the offensive coordinator or offensive line position to someone. I'm not sure that's a correct assumption and in fact, I'm pretty sure it's an incorrect one. I have no idea why Bill Callahan joined Washington. I know the Jaguars made an inquiry that didn't get far, but I also don't know that there's a big difference between Callahan and say, Doug Marrone. I also get the idea the Jaguars were far more serious about, say, Marrone and/or Greg Olson, than they were about the initial names mentioned for the position. That's sort of a long-winded way of talking about the question. The shorter way is to reemphasize a point I've made several times in the last few days: the Jaguars aren't doing anything wrong, and this process is not unusual or concerning. Head Coach Gus Bradley is looking for the right fix and the right mix for the coordinator position. I get the idea the process is a lot closer to being done than it was a week ago, and I also get the feeling this gets done in the next week.
Michael from Jacksonville:
What do you mean you are not hiring? I was going to apply for a summer internship at jaguars.com! What am I supposed to do now?
John: Do you have X-Box?
Romel from Manila:
Do you think Blake Bortles benefited more by playing most of the season rather than being a backup until he was deemed ready? Or vice versa?
John: I sure don't think playing hurt his development. That's because I think he has the personality to not worry about what went wrong and to learn from mistakes. He showed that all year when he maintained confidence and poise despite a lot of struggles individually – and as an offense. Do I think a quarterback can develop into a big-time player if he doesn't play as a rookie? Yeah. But do I think Bortles is better now than he would have been had he not played? Yeah, almost certainly.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
Just wanted to give a shout out to Greg Jones and thank him for his years of service to this team. He is truly the definition of "team before self." Your story of him putting his personal ambitions aside to be a better asset to the running game as a blocker is what being a Jaguar should be all about. Good luck to you, Mr. Jones.
John: #DTWD
Josh from Savannah, GA:
John, a moment to thank Greg Jones for everything he meant to the team and fans. He was a staple for us in regard to what being a real man meant. A man who paved the way for literally thousands of Fred and Mojo's hard earned yards. A man whom you, O-Zone, would headlock with ease. Thank you GJ, those guns will never be forgotten.
John: You're right. Jones wanted no part of me. #DTWD
Shane from Corpus Christi, TX:
Since Jones said he was interested in being an offensive coach, what are the odds he could get his shot in J-ville ? I believe he could do a good job.
John: Someday, perhaps. Probably not yet.
Steve from Denver, CO:
O, do you think the Rooney Rule is a waste of time?
John: A waste of time? No. No way. The spirit of the Rooney Rule was to ensure minorities were involved in the interview process for every head coaching and general manager position. The logic was that although the minority coach might not get a particular job – and might not even be a serious consideration in some cases – by being in interviews the coach's profile would raise within the league, eventually possibly leading to another opportunity elsewhere. It may seem antiquated to some now, but it mattered very much for a long time. I also don't get the feeling there's much push to get rid of the rule.
Brandon from Rexburg:
The more I hear about this year's crop of quarterbacks the happier I feel about the Jaguars drafting of Blake Bortles. In my opinion there is no doubt he would have been the number No. 1 quarterback this year. I give a lot of credit to Caldwell and the scouts for doing their homework. Your thoughts?
John: I think it never occurred to me that Caldwell and the scouts hadn't done their homework.
Alan from Jacksonville:
Hey, John: In your answer to David this week, you observed how the quarterbacks in the playoffs are able to slide around within the pocket to avoid the pass rush. I don't want to put words in your mouth (I'm sure you have plenty of that as it is), but to my untrained eyes, it seems Blake Bortles wasn't too good at this last year. He seemed to leave the pocket altogether, which worked in a lot of situations. In the future, should we hope to see Blake stay within the pocket and just buy time instead of using his legs as much? Also, this would assume that the offensive line would continue to get better and allow Blake to stay in the pocket. Thanks for all you do! #DTWD.
John: No reason to put words my mouth: I wrote quite a bit late in the season that this was an area Bortles needed to improve – and he and just about everyone else involved in the Jaguars' offense addressed it, too. Many interpreted this as people trying to make excuses for the offensive line, but it was just pointing out an obvious area Bortles needed to improve. He wasn't awful at this, and in fact he has good pocket presence in a lot of ways. At the same time, there were times he could have helped the tackles by stepping up a step or two into the pocket and throwing. The reality is the entire Jaguars offense lacked experience and maturity this season. That led to a lot going wrong and a lot of areas needing to improve. As each player gets better incrementally that should lead to significantly fewer breakdowns in communication and fewer small mistakes. Those small mistakes added up to a lot of offensive inefficiency this past season, and reducing them should help significantly.
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
Mariota did not look like a No. 1 or 2 overall pick to me in the CFP Championship Game. Lack of accuracy from the pocket and very few times did he seem to go through a progression like he'd need to do in the NFL. Seems like a bit of a project.
John: Yes. Then again, the same is true of most rookie NFL quarterbacks.
Richard from Lincoln, RI:
Living here and also a FORMER Pats fan, tell me that Andrew Luck can beat these guys ... PLEASE.
John: He can. He won't – not Sunday, at least. But he can.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
This is the second year in a row Seattle has started strong, faded mid-season, and finished very strong. In the middle of this season people were questioning if they would make the playoffs, and now they look nearly unbeatable. Is this a coaching strategy of Pete Carroll's or just a coincidence? I'm not sure how you would coach a team to do such a thing, but it seems unlikely that it is simply a coincidence.
John: I'm not sure I agree with the premise. The Seahawks went 11-1 to start last season, then lost two games late in the season after the NFC West – and their playoff seeding – was pretty much decided. The Seahawks were pretty much the dominant NFC team most of the season. They indeed struggled early and in the middle of this season, but a lot of that was injuries. Once they became healthy late in the season, they are playing like the motivated team they pretty much have been the last three years.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Of all the players affected by Jedd Fisch's departure, I would say Allen Hurns might have been the one affected most due to his knowledge of Fisch's playbook before he even arrived in Jacksonville. With him now on equal footing with the rest of the receiving corps, what kind of role will Hurns have going forward? Is his skill set strong enough to allow him to take over for Shorts (assuming Shorts won't be back next year)?
John: I would say there's little question Hurns was helped by knowing Fisch's offense when he arrived in Jacksonville. I would say there's also little question that he has shown himself to be good enough to play in the NFL no matter the system.
James from Jacksonville:
In the Super Bowl era, has any team ever played in a Super Bowl at their home stadium?
John: No. And no team played a Super Bowl in its home stadium before the Super Bowl era, either.

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