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O-Zone: Perfect candidate

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Patrick from Mandarin:
So, we finally have some news on the offensive-coordinator front? Greg Roman, Marc Trestman or Kirby Wilson? Thoughts?
John: I think it's not surprising that the Jaguars have asked for permission to interview Roman and Wilson – or that they reportedly will interview Trestman. Roman, the offensive coordinator in San Francisco the past four seasons, has long-standing ties with Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and was rumored to be a head coaching candidate with the Jaguars in 2013 before Gus Bradley was hired. The Bills reportedly have requested permission to interview Roman about their vacant head-coaching position and he reportedly has interviewed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive coordinator position. He has worked with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in recent seasons, and the 49ers have more of a power-running oriented scheme than the Jaguars, but the 49ers were a very effective running team and the Jaguars absolutely need to improve that area. Wilson – the running backs coach with the Vikings this past season – has served as an NFL running backs coach 17 of the past 18 seasons with the Patriots (1997-1999), Redskins (2000), Buccaneers (2002-2003), Cardinals (2004-2006), Steelers (2007-2013) and Vikings (2014). Although he never has worked with Bradley he worked with Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll in New England and with Southern California in 2001. He has no NFL play-calling experience, though Bradley said last week that wasn't a prerequisite for the position. And we've gone over Trestman in this space quite a bit the last few days, but here's a significant thing to remember: these are the first names of what could be a long process. NFL teams can't interview assistant candidates whose teams are still in the playoffs, and with eight NFL teams still in the playoffs, there's a fairly high percentage chance that there are candidates in Bradley's mind that he can't yet make official.
Brian from Palatka, FL:
O-Zone, the Jaguars are looking for an offensive coordinator and we have to read updates everywhere but this website. What gives?
John: As the team website, there are certain cases when we do not report news until it becomes official. These cases are most often in the offseason in situations such as coaching changes and some free agent signings when news outlets report agreements and interview that are not yet official. This is a fairly common policy at team websites, and we here at always appreciate the reader's understanding in these circumstances.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
"I'd like to think Bradley has a pretty good idea the direction he wants to go." We all would, but the recent firing brings up questions. What exactly is talked about in an interview for an offensive coordinator job in the NFL? I would think that philosophy/how you intend on developing players in the playbook is among them. Just seems like Jedd is the scapegoat while Dave and Gus try to buy more time.
John: I can't control how things seem to you. I can tell you that what happened was a philosophical difference. As far as the difference in philosophy not coming up in the interview process, I'm sure this topic was brought up. I'm sure it was discussed. Bradley and Fisch knew each other from Seattle, and it's quite likely they had many discussions on many critical topics. There's also the reality of what happens in an interview compared to how things play out in real time in pressurized circumstance and often those two are completely different things. That's true in real life and it's darned sure true in professional sports.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
So after one year how would you rank the 2014 Jaguars draft class?
John: Potentially very, very good.
Luke from Jacksonville:
Is your office embedded with the coaches or do all the non-field personnel work in a different location other than EverBank? I ask because I'm curious about how much personal interaction you have with the coaching staff on a day-to-day basis.
John: All day-to-day Jaguars personnel work out of EverBank Field. My office is actually a small cubicle adjacent to the stylish, spacious office of Public Relations Ace Tad Dickman, widely considered a rising star among up-and-coming young NFL executives. Our workspace is across the hallway from Jaguars coaches, and I have plenty of interaction with them on a day-to-day basis. Unless, of course, they see me first.
Nelson from Los Angeles, CA:
Randy Gregory or Leonard Williams? Is there anyone else to seriously consider at No. 3?
John: That's what the next three months are about.
William from Section 423:
... Roman for OC?
John: His resume suggests he is very qualified. And if he can convince Bradley that he can get the Jaguars' running game moving more consistently – a la, the 49ers and Frank Gore in recent seasons – I have to think that would be received very well.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
You and every other person involved with the organization keep saying that if this player and that position improves during the offseason as expected, then this will be a good team. Isn't it equally true that IF they don't, this will continue to be a bad team?
John: Yes, Tom. As I have written often the Jaguars are building by drafting and developing. For that to work, you must draft well and players must develop well. Your question makes it sound as if you want a guarantee the Jaguars will be good next season. That's impossible. No NFL team knows it's going to be good. There's no greater chance of getting good by going and signing unrestricted free agents than there is of getting good by drafting and developing. One might take a bit longer, but signing free agents is no guarantee. In fact, generally speaking it is not considered a good way to build a roster. As far as guarantees, I can't give you those. It's professional sports; not scripted television.
Oscar from Jacksonville:
John, take a break!!! Walk down to the pools and take a swim!! Cool Off!!!
John: OK. Done.
Dwayne from Orlando, FL:
O-Zone, I don't sense a lot of enthusiasm from you over the offensive coordinator – or you sure aren't answering a lot of questions. What gives?
John: The offensive coordinator is unquestionably an important hire. But you're right that I don't get as worked up about the coordinator as many people do. The reality is all of the people being interviewed appear very capable. I liked a lot about how the Bears ran their offense in recent seasons. From a distance, it appeared Trestman tried to utilize the Bears' strengths and for a time Jay Cutler flourished. This season … not so much. I loved watching San Francisco when Roman was the coordinator and thought for a couple of years he used his personnel – with Frank Gore and a dangerous running quarterback in Colin Kaepernick – very smartly and very well. I also watched Jedd Fisch for a while in 2013 be pretty creative and get some production out of Chad Henne and a patched-together offense. This past season, with a ton of rookies all around the offense, Fisch didn't appear nearly as "innovative" – and the emailers who had expressed concern less than a year before about possibly losing this rising young coach to a head coaching job didn't contact me as much anymore. My point isn't that coordinators are meaningless. Not so. It's just really difficult to know who in advance will have success. So much of dependent on players and how they develop and mature. I like the idea of Trestman and what he can do with a quarterback, so if I had to pick, I'd think Trestman was a good hire. But just as I don't think firing Fisch will cure all that ails the Jaguars' offense neither do I think hiring Trestman is a cure-all. A lot of moving parts must work together – and these players gotta get more mature and a lot better.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
With the start of the New Year I skipped a few days of the O-Zone, but thanks ahead for posting this question.
John: What makes you think I'd … wait. What?
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Would you consider Brandon Linder a steal?
John: I never know quite how to define "steal," probably because different people think of this differently. I think Brandon Linder has a chance to be a Pro Bowl-level player for a long time. That's not something I automatically expect from a third-round selection, so yeah, I guess he's a steal. That doesn't concern me as much as him being a good player. That's important and it looks like he's going to be that. The Jaguars don't have enough of those yet, so … yeah … good draft selection.
Biff from Jacksonville:
I don't know if Greg Roman is the right fit in Jacksonville, or if he would decline a head coaching job for the offensive coordinator position, but I'd never get tired of "Another touchdown from the Roman Empire." Maybe that is how the Jags should hire: can they plug that name into a cool slogan.
John: Shad Khan … hire this man!!

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