JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Steve from Jacksonville:
I, for one, am excited about next season. And this team will not be 0-4. The Jaguars lost five games last season by seven or fewer points. If they had had any defense last season, they probably would have won at least three or maybe all five of them for a record of 8-8 to 10-6. I mean, if your offense scores 42 points, you are supposed to win! Get a little help on defense and you will just win, baby! Care to pontificate?
John: I don't know if this is pontificatin' or not, but I do know I can't honestly say the Jaguars were for sure quite tha-a-a-a-a-t close to 10-6 this past season. Five victories is a lot, and the offense had its share of flaws in terms of consistency. Still, your point that the Jaguars can get better fairly quickly next season is well-taken. A better pass rush could have improved the record last season by a game or two, and if you combine that with an uptick in the running game and fewer turnovers from Blake Bortles … well, let's just say with some incremental, attainable improvements in several areas this team could improve quite a bit.
Richard from Jacksonville:
Gus, Gus he's our man! If he can't do it Mobile is the plan!
Sunil from Jacksonville:
Hey, O-Zone! I am so proud to have Shad Khan as the owner of our NFL franchise. I really believe the future of the business side is bright. I think the demand for club seats will now go up at the same time they are reducing club seats by about 3,000. I think we will be entering a time when we finally don't see significant patches of empty club seats! The amphitheater and practice fields are going to be two of the coolest things in the city. The only thing left to make the stadium more comfortable would be the sun shades the team had shown in a drawing a few years ago. This really could make a huge impact on making the game-day experience even better. Any idea if this may be on the horizon? #DTWD
John: The sun shades haven't been mentioned in a while; I imagine that's because there has been a flurry of other projects going on around EverBank Field. I'd be surprised if at some point something doesn't get done in terms of shading the stands in some way. Actually, if Shad Khan wants it done I'd be shocked if it doesn't happen. His visions have a way of becoming reality.
Roger from White House, FL:
Do you believe Mike Tomlin makes the Hall of Fame when he retires? I see him as a Joe Gibbs; you can pretty much count on the playoffs with his teams.
John: I would say Mike Tomlin at this point has a very good chance at the Hall of Fame, averaging more than 10 victories a year and making six postseason appearances – and winning a Super Bowl. But let's not put him in Gibbs' class yet. Gibbs' first stint with the Redskins from 1981-1992 qualifies as one of the great head coaching runs in NFL history. He won the Super Bowl with three different quarterbacks during that era, none of which made the Hall of Fame; George Seifert and Bill Parcells are the only others to win Super Bowls with two different quarterbacks, and Seifert did it with two Hall of Famers. Gibbs also coached one of the dominant teams in NFL history, the '91 Redskins. In addition to that, he finished his career 17-7 in the postseason – a .708 winning percentage that's the best among coaches to have coached 20 or more playoff games. So, is Tomlin really good? Yes. Is he Gibbs? No.
Christian from Titusville, FL:
Hi John, I'm glad we have a competent backup quarterback in Chad Henne, but how many more years do you think he has to be effective – and when do you think the Jags will draft someone to fill his shoes? If they found a prototype later in the draft, I would assume they would be designated to the practice squad until Chad leaves or retires.
John: Henne is 30, which is not remotely old for a backup quarterback. A bigger issue is whether he will return next season. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March.
Chad from Sinking Spring, PA:
I've read all of these posts recently questioning why Gus was retained and given an extension. I'm not too sure what games these guys have been watching, but if you can't notice that the Jags are far more improved from what they were just a few years ago with Mularkey coaching and Gene Smith picking players from every small school you can think of – and signing guys who thought their time here was a vacation – you're crazy. I would be very discouraged if Shad goes a different way after next season. What we have at Coach, GM and Owner is the perfect trio and I don't think it could have worked out any better for this team.
John: I agree that retaining Bradley was the right thing, and it was done in the right way. But let's keep the extension/retention in perspective: when Khan extended Bradley, he didn't set the course for the next five years. That's because he didn't extend Bradley for nearly that long. He extended Bradley for a year, which means Khan can quite easily make a change after next season if he sees fit. Khan gave a regime that he believes in and wants to work a bit more time to prove him right – and provided the coaching staff with a year of financial security. If the Jaguars win next season – and Khan clearly believes that means a winning season – then the leadership trio will remain together. If not, it likely won't.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, Wade Phillips said he looks for good players that can play hard-hitting football and tailors the schemes he uses to them. We seem to be wed to the Leo/Otto D and try to fit players into those notches. In looking at his success doesn't it make sense for Gus and Todd to incorporate a bit of that philosophy?
John: The idea that the Jaguars are "wed" to the Leo/Otto D probably is a bit overstated. Yes, they like the idea of a strong-side end with two tackles on the line on early downs to stop the run. They also like the idea of multiple Leos in passing situations. But if the right personnel presents itself they can certainly adapt to personnel and down and distances – hence, the idea of moving Dante Fowler Jr. around next season and perhaps having another player play the Leo. Remember, too, that the effectiveness of your adjustments may depend on the quality of player. It's one thing to say the Jaguars should have adjusted scheme more dramatically this past season; it's another thing to say that the results would have been different had they done so.
Andy from Mandarin, FL:
It's incorrect to believe that since Khan has invested $76 million in improvements this somehow locks the Jags to Jacksonville. It would be as if you had a total net worth of $100,000 and invested $1,900 for temporary short-term profits – easy to walk away from if truly significant long-term profits were on the horizon. Do the math.
John: If you read the O-Zone often you'll find I don't talk about the amount of money Khan has invested in the stadium too, too often. It's not that it's insignificant, because $76 million absolutely isn't insignificant; rather, it's that Khan's financial investments aren't the only thing – or even the strongest – thing tying him to Jacksonville. Khan very simply wants the Jaguars to work here. He has committed to making the Jaguars work here. Everything he has done or said since buying the team indicates as much. There are no guarantees in life, but if the Jaguars ever don't work in Jacksonville it won't be because Shad Khan had a categorical plan to move.
Chris from San Marco:
Regarding the Shipyards, a lot of things are dead in the water. That's the problem...too many three eyed fish and waste discarded. That area of town is an environmental catastrophe that the city basically wants to hide. I don't see Khan making much progress in the next five years on the Shipyards myself for that reason.
John: We shall see.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
As you point out, AGE of the stadium and QUALITY of the stadium can be two different things. As long as the quality stays high due to renovations and upgrades we will be fine. Ask Green Bay or Chicago if they want a new stadium. Because until they do, we will never have the oldest – third-oldest, maybe; hopefully, like Lambeau and Soldier Field, The Bank will stay part of the Jaguars tradition and history.
O-Zone: One fer the 'Bank
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Steve from Jacksonville: