O-Zone: Officially speaking

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Michael from Tupelo, MS:
Chip Kelly … not sure how that would end up, but would be fun to watch. A lot of egos in that building.
John: This question is about Chip Kelly, the former Philadelphia Eagles/San Francisco 49ers/Oregon head coach who reportedly interviewed for the Jaguars' offensive-coordinator position on Monday. This was a high-profile interview because Kelly has had a lot of success at times in the NFL – and some high-profile struggles at other times. I would certainly be intrigued by the possibility of watching a Kelly offense with the Jaguars – and I think there would be a lot of positives to the hire. Remember, while Kelly's offense struggled in San Francisco, it was highly effective all three seasons in Philadelphia. His offenses also always have been effective running the ball – and the Jaguars need to improve their running game. As far egos … sure, Kelly has one – and he believes strongly in his offensive approach. But if he is hired, he would be the offensive coordinator and not the head coach. I don't pretend to know Kelly, but I can't believe he doesn't understand the difference in the two positions.
E Nuff from Banner Elk, NC:
DUDE!!
John: Dude.
Michael from Middleburg, FL:
NFL Network says Chip Kelly may come to Jags. If so, I have zero confidence in anything Tom Coughlin does from here on out. Kelly has already ruined and been run off from two teams.
John: Doug Marrone is the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Whatever does or doesn't happen with Chip Kelly and the Jaguars in the coming days, I don't expect that to change.
Andrew from Honeytown:
NFL policy allows teams who replace their head coach to start organized team activities 14 days earlier than those who don't. With Doug Marrone being assistant head coach for the past two seasons, does that still allow the Jags to get an early start to OTAs?
John: Yes. The Jaguars can start their offseason program April 3 whereas teams with returning head coaches can start on April 17.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Mike Mularkey assembled something of a dream team of experienced veteran coaches when he was here. They must have all stunk after all.
John: Contrary to the belief that it's always coaching in the NFL – and also contrary to the belief that it's never coaching in the NFL – coaching in fact is part of a multi-part equation in the NFL. You need good, organized, sound coaching and you need players believing in the direction of the franchise. That's a base – and it's hard to win if you don't have those things. But having those things doesn't guarantee success because nothing "guarantees" anything in the NFL – not even great coaching. (But don't tell anyone, because it's always coaching in the NFL).
Tim from St. Pete, FL:
Your comment about a big, game-breaking running back got me thinking. Ezekiel Elliot did pretty well for a No. 4 pick. Do you think we go running in Round One?
John: I'm usually not a running-back-in-the-first-round guy. One reason is that the position is so dependent on a player's surroundings for success, and another reason is you usually can get production from running backs in later rounds. But there are exceptions to all "draft rules" and there are exceptions to the aforementioned Running Back Theory. The exception usually centers on a player having other-worldly, once-in-a-generational talent. If that's the case, then running back at No. 4 … OK. Maybe.
Chance from Windsor, Ontario, Canada:
I would say 50 percent of the mock drafts that I've looked at have the Jags taking Jonathan Allen. Explain if you'd be happy if we got him considering the play of Malik Jackson, Tyson Alualu, Abry Jones, Sheldon Day – and even Sen'Derrick Marks if he is back? Do you think he'll be available at No. 4? What's our biggest need? I love Allen as a player, but can't the team become better with a position we need more?
John: Defensive tackle is hardly the Jaguars' biggest area of need. But at No. 4 overall you want a franchise-defining, elite-level talent if he's there. If Allen is that, OK. That's because the Jaguars don't have enough franchise-defining, elite-level talents. Still, this would be surprising. Jackson is one of the elite talents on the roster and if there's a player at another position that's close to a defensive tackle at that spot I'd expect the Jaguars to go another way.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
New coaches are exciting and Tom knows something about football, but can we just fast forward to when Blake Bortles is finally gone and we have a serviceable quarterback? I'm not sure what the worst record for a starting quarterback is, but I'm sure Bortles is pretty close to achieving it. Unfortunately, I have never missed a game of Bortles so I can tell you things will never change with him under center. Maybe an extra couple wins, but if you want to compete with Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Big Ben, Alex Smith, Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson we need a major upgrade.
John: This is an understandable reaction because we just finished watching a divisional playoff weekend that featured a bunch of quarterbacks playing at really high levels – and because we're not far removed from a season in which Bortles did not play at a high level. The most fascinating, important question facing the Jaguars now that Coughlin is running football operations and now that we know Marrone is the head coach is what approach the Jaguars will take at quarterback. That's a pressing question for the long-term and the short-term. We're too early in the process to know the answer, but it's a question that's going to get asked a lot in the coming weeks. And when I say, "A lot," I mean a lot.
Jesse from Layton:
In your answer to Marc from Oceanway, I believe you missed on Drew Brees. While it is hard to say the Chargers exactly "Gave up on him," he did struggle early in his career and they brought in another quarterback and decided to go with the new guy instead of Brees and let Brees' contract expire. In essence, it is the same thing. Young quarterback, the team brings in someone new, struggling quarterback goes elsewhere and gets a ring and a jacket.
John: I answered a question on quarterbacks who have been let go by teams before having success with other teams. In answering it, I included Jim Plunkett but did not include the likes of Drew Brees, Steve Young, Brett Favre, etc. I was answering the question with the idea that the quarterback in question would need to have failed to the point that most in the NFL doubted he could go on to great success. Young probably is a good example of this. Brees and Favre? Not so much. But even if you include a few of those aforementioned players, the list of quarterbacks who go on to be franchise quarterbacks after a team has given them up on them is comparatively short. Not that it's impossible. But it's rare.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Jags ceiling is very low because of the quarterback position. Watching the playoffs and these quarterbacks really put into perspective how far the Jags really are from winning a championship.
John: The Jaguars were 3-13 with a struggling quarterback last season. As such, it was pretty apparent to anyone watching that the Jaguars were quite a ways from winning a championship … but yeah, Blake Bortles needs to accelerate his development quickly. It's really difficult to make the playoffs and win there if you're not getting a really high level of play from the quarterback position.
Zeleznoc from Jacksonville:
It has been interesting watching the playoff games and specifically some of the great running backs. I did observe that most of the teams that ran the ball well had fullbacks who blocked and led the way. Do you think the lack of a fullback may have reduced effectiveness of Jags runners? Do you anticipate new regime possibly adding fullback?
John: The need for a fullback depends on scheme. Teams have run effectively in recent seasons with a fullback and without. Some teams have used a slam-bam fullback with "fullback" in the job title very effectively and other teams have utilized an H-back type player who has other roles and is technically called something else. We'll have a lot better idea about the future of the fullback position in the Jaguars' offense once we know the identity of the Jaguars' offensive coordinator.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I'm so confused. I thought Nathaniel Hackett was being retained. Why do I keep hearing the Jags' offensive-coordinator position is open and being interviewed for?
John: Hackett remains on the Jaguars' staff – but while other news outlets reported early last week that he was being retain as offensive coordinator, the team never announced that. That's a reason this website's policy is to not report news until it is official – because until something's official it's often not … you know … official.

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