JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Frank from Jacksonville:
What does it mean for Coach Bradley to get a one-year contract extension? Does that guarantee him money in 2017 even if he is fired in 2016? If the team does not perform well this coming season, he could still be let go even with the contract extension, right?
John: Friday's news that Gus Bradley and the Jaguars' assistant coaches had received a contract extension surprised/confused many people, and it angered some Jaguars fans who believed Bradley should have been fired after this past season. The reality is Bradley's extension doesn't change the long-term terrain all that much. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan can choose to release or retain Bradley following next season whatever the time remaining on his contract. The only person it really affects is Khan, who would be forced to pay Bradley and the staff for another year if he chooses to go another direction after next season. Theoretically, the extension could make signing free agents in the coming offseason easier because of the perception that the staff is safer, but the NFL is such a year-to-year world these days that few coaching staffs are safe if their seasons don't go well. The people most affected might be the Jaguars' assistants, who get an extra season of security. For those guys, that year is a big deal.
Howard from Loveland, CO:
If you were one of the other four candidates for defensive coordinator and Wash was allowed to sit in and hear your ideas while the reverse was not the case, how could you walk away not feeling that you had been used?
John: How do you know what was said in the meeting?
Sebastian from Austin, Texas:
Hey O: not being sarcastic, truly curious. We fired Bob Babich, hired a new defensive coordinator from within, kept everyone and extended multiple contracts a year. We're keeping the same defensive scheme from the last three years, so all the coaching staff is familiar with it. We were a decent defense in 2014 and regressed last year mainly due to injuries and poor player performance. Is Babich a scapegoat here, did he really have to go?
John: I wouldn't go as far as to call Babich a "scapegoat," but if you've read O-Zones the past few months you know I've been pretty clear on this. I don't know that Babich was a great coordinator, but I darned sure think injuries and player performance had infinitely more to do with the Jaguars' struggles on defense this season than coaching.
James from Austin, Texas:
Do you think it would be feasible to move Johnathan Cyprien to Otto? He's a tackling machine with speed but not very effective in the passing game. I think he has a place in this defense, but I think James Sample will be better suited at strong safety. Ideally, I'd like to see the Jags double down on the secondary in the first two rounds. If they could go Jalen Ramsey at No. 5 and come back and take D. Thompson in the second I think they could field a ridiculous secondary. What do you think?
John: I think a lot what the Jaguars do early in the draft could sway on what happens in free agency, so it's difficult to talk in too much detail about the second or third rounds. That said, I have no problem with the idea of trying to add another outside corner and an elite-level free safety. As for Cyprien, I don't see Otto in his future. The Jaguars haven't given up on him as a starting strong safety, though I expect there's going to be real competition between him and Sample.
Dave from Jacksonville:
"There absolutely is nothing wrong with Wash as defensive coordinator." Hahahaha - that is a ringing endorsement! I'm so fired up now!! Watch out '85 Bears; you're going to have nothing on this 2016 Jaguar stalwart defense!!
John: Your quote was part of an answer Friday regarding Todd Wash as defensive coordinator. It wasn't presented as an endorsement, nor was it a heartfelt, bang-the-table diatribe about the greatness of the man. It was one sentence in one of literally thousands of questions I will answer this year. If you choose to take that one sentence out of that one paragraph and decide how fired up you are about the 2016 season, I can't control that. I believe Wash will do a fine job as defensive coordinator. I believe much of his success will depend on how well players play, so yeah, I believe there's nothing wrong with Wash as defensive coordinator.
Cory from Madison, WI:
Todd Wash could end up being great. However, this interview process was puzzling. Having Wash sit in on interviews would have had to have been a turnoff for potential candidates. I'm sure they were wondering, "How seriously is Gus taking this interview process?" If he thought that Wash would make the most sense, he should have named him DC right away. This makes it look unnecessarily messy.
John: You know what? The process indeed was puzzling, and it was absolutely unorthodox. It was a bit of a roundabout process to arrive at the place where a lot of people figured the process would end, anyway. Even Wash admitted it was a bit uncomfortable to be in the room with other candidates, although he said Friday he was glad the process played out as it did. I haven't talked to the other candidates, but I do imagine they found it unusual, too. Here's the thing about unusual: it isn't always bad. Bradley genuinely was trying to arrive at the best solution moving forward, using a relatively similar process to when he hired Doug Marrone and Greg Olson last offseason. The processes were similar in the sense that Bradley tried to gather information and keep an open mind throughout the process. That worked out OK last offseason and the coaching staff got stronger as a result of the process. I think Wash is a bright assistant who will do well in the job, so here's guessing this process turns out OK, too – however strange it may have looked to observers.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
If the Jags are successful enough to keep Gus around for a fifth season, then go on to be a perennial playoff team over the next few years, do you think other teams will change their approach to hastily firing coaches? It seems the best teams year in and year out are those with continuity at head coach, so it makes sense to keep a head coach even if the team struggles. The worst teams are often the ones changing coaches every year. Maybe it's a chicken-and-egg dilemma, but I'm one to think that continuity is the way to go.
John: If the Jaguars do turn this around under Bradley, I don't think there's any question it will cause at least a small ripple effect. That won't mean a slew of teams losing double-digit games in consecutive seasons clamoring to extend the head coach's contract, but I do believe it would give owners pause before firing a capable head coach after, say, consecutive losing seasons. I absolutely believe continuity is the way to go and I believe Khan is very merited keeping this thing together one more year. That's not to say it's not unorthodox – and maybe even a little bit of a gamble – but there's no questioning Khan's commitment to the cause.
Aaron from Chantilly, VA:
So, if Fowler was coming out in this year's draft and tore his ACL the year prior, what round would he go? Fourth … fifth? I guess we have to be realistic about his play this year; he may never play at a first-round level, but hey … even if plays at a third-round level I'd be happy!!
John: I seriously doubt Fowler would fall that far based on a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Todd Gurley, remember, was drafted in the first round after an ACL tear in his final collegiate season. There's little reason a young player can't recover from a torn ACL and reach his previous level.
Wilfredo from Corpus Christi, TX:
Anger has to go simply because he is a reminder of how stupid the decision-making was prior to the Shad Khan and Dave Caldwell era. I'm sorry to say because it is not the poor guy's fault. But like I said he is a reminder of "GM I can't bring myself to mention his name" every time he comes out on the field. I still can't get over that. A punter in the 3rd round?!?! Unbelievable.
John: I don't think Anger will be back. I don't think that's the reason.
Dale from Jacksonville:
I think the promotion of Wash will be a good thing for the Jags. Look what Todd did for our run defense. If he can get the remainder of the defense to perform that well, we will be a good defense. Hiring Daniel Bullocks could help with our safety situation as well; although I don't know much about him, he should know the position through and through. I think next season will show definite improvement on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, I'll be buying season tickets again.
O-Zone: One 'fer Wash
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Frank from Jacksonville: