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O-Zone: No time like the present

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Dave from Oviedo, FL

O - On 4/23/14, I summitted a question and you laughed at me and made me feel small. My question: "In the age of Maylock, Kiper and McShay, is it really necessary for teams to employ 10 or so full-time scouts? I submit, if you drafted the best available players from Maylock's list, you could do no better." Your reply: "I laughed out loud at this, but I will say that while I've never heard of that Maylock guy, he must have a heck of an eye for talent." Even though I misspelled Mike Mayock, he did eventually become the GM for the then-Los Angeles Raiders … and now other NFL analysts like Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks are being mentioned for our GM job. Couldn't these guys be a one-man show, simply relying on their "NFL Sources" to create their board? I'm just trying to figure out a way to lower the price of beer.

I'm sorry you felt small. Or not. More "not," actually. My guess is I was making a joke about "Maylock" more than I was dismissing the idea that Mike Mayock – or any number of NFL Draft analysts – couldn't be an NFL general manager. Or maybe I was just wrong. It happens. Either way … no: No one can do the general-manager job "on their own" with simply a network of sources. You still need a scouting staff to gather information on players personally get information to the team. Otherwise, you're drifting too close to the days of yore when teams selected players out of Street & Smith's. That's not to say some areas of scouting don't feature some overkill, but you still need people doing the legwork and analysis.

Steve from Nocatee, FL

Mr. "O," can you tell us how many compensatory picks we'll get in April? The NFL's magic formula is too difficult for me to figure out. Thank you and have a happy holiday.

The NFL awards compensatory draft selections based on unrestricted free agency gains and losses from the previous offseason, with teams that lose more than they gain in one offseason getting compensatory selections in the NFL Draft the following offseason. The Jaguars signed middle linebacker Joe Schobert as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason and didn't lose any unrestricted free agents of enough significance to realistically expect to get any compensatory selections next offseason. The only way to get compensatory selections is to not participate heavily in free agency and to lose free agents. The Jaguars lost players last offseason, but the high-profile losses came via trades (defensive end Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, cornerback A.J. Bouye and quarterback Nick Foles and the release of running back Leonard Fournette as opposed to free-agency losses.

Ryan from Reality

John, you are absolutely brilliant. "Why not just build a good team and let other teams in your division build to beat you?" That's just superb. Why haven't the Jaguars' brass thought of this? Can you share your insights with the incoming GM? Because clearly the last one didn't understand that he was supposed to build a good team. Or didn't understand how to.

(Insider tip: Read question and answer, understand context and give situation some thought before criticizing.)

Kevin from Jacksonville

John, wasn't it widely thought that Tom Coughlin built his Jaguars team in the early years to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers? If you build your team to beat a team of that caliber, doesn't it inherently make you a better team? If it's true about Tom's approach, then it worked for a while even though it may not be the best approach.

Yes, Coughlin did build the Jaguars to beat the Steelers. And it worked. They beat the Steelers and took control of the AFC Central. And then the Steelers dropped off a bit and the Tennessee Titans got good, then the Jaguars couldn't beat the Titans in 1999 and they never made or won the Super Bowl. Also, what happens when you build to win the division and you get to the playoffs then lose to a team out of the division? Do we think the Kansas City Chiefs right now worry about beating specific teams? They worry about being great and letting other teams try to beat them. My point in answering this question as I did recently was that I never grasped the idea of building a team strictly to "beat teams in your division" – even though this is something you hear a lot in NFL circles. It always made more sense to me to simply build a team good enough that other teams worry about figuring out ways to beat you. I don't know that that makes me brilliant, but I know a lot of teams talk about building to win a division as opposed to just building to be really good.

David from Ada, OK

To quote that great eighties hit movie, "War Games," our best chance to win "is not to play the game."

I saw War Games the afternoon I graduated high school. I'm old.

Cliff from Callahan, FL

I don't understand why people don't understand that "best" chance to win doesn't mean "good" chance to win. It's like saying "she's the least bitter of my ex-wives…"

This is the best analogy I've heard on this. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone is in the unfortunate position of not having a front-line quarterback. When that's the case, coaches often play the quarterbacks they do have hoping for a few front-line performances. Marrone somewhere from the group of Gardner Minshew II, Mike Glennon and Jake Luton must try each week to find the quarterback who gives the team the best chance to win. So, that's the phrase he uses. You're absolutely correct that him using that phrasing doesn't mean there's a player in that group that gives the Jaguars a good chance to win.

Douglas from Toronto, Canada

Do you think maybe this week the team will take a completely different approach and instead go with the "quarterback who gives us the least chance to lose?"

Marrone has been trying that find that. Evidence suggests there may not be one of those on the Jaguars' roster, either.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

Regarding the current quarterbacks, I don't think its real hard to figure out what Marrone was thinking. Minshew is the best of the group but when he was injured, he's not the best quarterback. At the time, he had to start either Luton or Glennon. Well, why not start Luton and see what you have? He started with some promise. Then he had a meltdown; OK can't continue to have that. Glennon is a veteran, Minshew is still injured. Start Glennon. Glennon is OK, but not great. A game gets out of hand, Minshew is no longer injured, so bring him back in because he's probably a little bit better than Glennon (a little bit). Its not really rocket science here. We've got 3 QBs, none of them are the future of the franchise so it really doesn't matter who starts...

Pretty much.

John from Jacksonville

How much complaining will there be when Minshew lights it up and the Jags win out?

Why would people think this would happen? There's no evidence to suggest it will. But if it does, why would people complain?

Mike from Atlanta, GA

But what will happen when defenses play Cover 2 zone against Minshew? I guarantee that absolutely nobody will run man coverage against him for the rest of the season.

Stay tuned.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey, John. Can you see some kind of letdown from the players in terms of coaches/coaching or is it just the result of injuries and inexperience and maybe some lack of talent? What do you think?

I suppose you're referring to the Jaguars' 31-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans Sunday. I suppose this because that game was the first game since before the Week 8 bye in which the Jaguars had remotely looked uncompetitive – and really, the Jaguars were competitive against Tennessee until a 36-yard touchdown run by Titans running back Derrick Henry near the end of the first half. So really: no, I don't see evidence of a letdown. This team has played hard pretty much the entire season. It has maximized its ability. It lacks stoutness on the defensive interior and it lacks enough experience playmakers on defense – and to a slightly lesser degree, perhaps, on offense. It also lacks a quarterback. When you lack all of those things, there are going to be occasions on the NFL that you wear down and effort doesn't keep games close. That's what happened Sunday. I wouldn't call it a letdown. I'd call it not being good enough. There's a difference.

Tom from Jacksonville

If you put a franchise QB on this team would we ruin him? Maybe we need to get better around him first.

Get the quarterback when you can.