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O-Zone: Rousing success

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Pierre from Jacksonville:
Why are things so quiet on the offensive coordinator front? I'm seeing a lot of reports about other teams interviewing candidates and nothing for the Jaguars. Are they just good at keeping sources quiet or are they asleep at the wheel?
John: The second part of your final question implies Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley dismissed offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch last week then lost track of time and forgot he needed to hire a new coordinator. The silliness of that idea isn't something to which much time needs to be devoted. There are a couple of issues here: first, while there have been some reports of Tampa Bay interviewing a few coordinator candidates, for the most part coordinator news has been quiet around the NFL. That's largely because a lot of teams are waiting for coaches whose head coaching positions are still undecided and whose teams are still in the postseason. Give this a few days; the pace will pick up considerably.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
Do you believe the Jaguars will use the franchise tag on Cecil Shorts III?
John: Absolutely not.
Al from Fruit Cove, FL:
John, I'm a bit confused as to what happens with a new offensive coordinator. You've written that he'll bring in his own playbook, but does that mean these potential offensive coordinators are walking around with their own personal playbooks that they will impose on whatever team hires them? Where would such a playbook come from for a guy like Trestman, who has not been an offensive coordinator in the NFL? Wouldn't it make sense to build a playbook based on the team you're going to coach, as opposed to the team you came from? And if all the players and the returning coaches are used to one set of terminology, wouldn't it be easier for the offensive coordinator to learn what the team already knows, rather than make everyone else learn a new language? Please unconfuse me, Mr. O.
John: For the sake of accuracy, Marc Trestman has been an offensive coordinator with the Browns, 49ers, Raiders and Cardinals – though I understand that's not the main point of your question. A coordinator's playbook is best defined as the textbook of his offensive system, and while a coordinator wouldn't necessarily "build" it based on the team he was coaching, a wise coordinator would certainly emphasize plays, packages and formations based on players he was coaching. As far as rewriting the entire textbook based on what the team had done before, that would simply take too much time. It would be a little like asking a professor to translate a textbook in a month before teaching a class. Players simply must learn the playbook as quickly as they can. It's a task that makes this offseason important and difficult for the Jaguars, though it should be noted that there's a decided difference between difficult and impossible.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
I don't understand the energy folks are putting into the issue of running backs. Other than a few elite backs, they're "a dime a dozen." Where I want to see emphasis is on offensive line improvement! Fix the offensive line and both the running and passing games will improve dramatically I hope the team picks up two quality veterans in free agency and drafts another offensive lineman somewhere in the first four rounds of the 2015 draft.
John: I think the Jaguars will address the offensive line significantly in the offseason – maybe not quite to the degree you want, but not that far off.
Greg from Section 147:
On a kickoff kicked out of the end zone or taken for a touchback, why does the kicking team continue to run past the kick returner?
John: They're getting their "cardio" in.
Gary from Rutherford College:
Tyler Shatley looked good in the half game he played against Dallas. Why is he not playing more and will the team keep him for next year?
John: Shatley didn't play more as a rookie this past season because Jaguars coaches believed Brandon Linder and Zane Beadles were better. Yes, he is expected to be with the team in training camp next season.
Bill from Richmond, VA:
John, how many games do you think we would have won this year if we had Roman or Trestman as offensive coordinator?
John: I have no idea.
Heartless JTAC:
Understating that Justin Blackmon's return to the team before next season is being viewed as a "luxury" by the front office, at what point during the offseason would the NFL inform the Jags of his return? Would it be before the Pro Bowl? The combine? Or before the teams begin to sign unrestricted free agents?
John: Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said he hopes to know Blackmon's status before the April 30 NFL Draft.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
O-Man, I don't get why there is such a focus on defense with Bradley. At No. 3 Amari Cooper is a 99 percent chance to be a Top 5 wide receiver in this league. And we really need more offensive options for Blake Bortles. There are no guarantees that Blackmon is going to make it back so what is the reasoning for taking a defensive end before a wide receiver? This team needs a star No. 1 receiver defenses have to respect.
John: Rest easy, Greg … if you are correct that there is a 99 percent chance Cooper is a Top 5 receiver there's no doubt in my mind that Caldwell will take him given a chance.
Bryan from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I wouldn't be opposed to making Suh the highest-paid defensive player in the league. How about you, O-Man?
John: I wouldn't be opposed to it. He's an impact player who does things most players can't do. I'm not sure what team does have enough players like that. That said, there are some significant questions that need to be answered before you pursue Suh – and I'd still be really surprised if a player of his caliber is available in free agency. It happens, but it's rare.
Chris from Niagara Falls, Canada:
Why doesn't the NFL adopt a lottery-type draft for the first overall pick like other professional sports organizations?
John: The lottery system was put into place in the NBA to reduce the incentive for teams to intentionally lose. So far in the NFL there hasn't been a need for such a measure.
Tom from Virginia Beach, VA:
The draft is not a science as everyone knows. But, is there a common tread to players like JJ Watt, the linebacker from Carolina Krunchly and I am sure others that would make the scouting process more exact? If so, can that intangible be identified?
John: I know one thing … if I see a player with a tread even close to Krunchly's … well, let's just say I'm taking that player.
Steve from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I assume that a new offensive coordinator will mean a new playbook. Even if the players can't work with the coaches can they get the new playbook?
John: Yes. They can get a new playbook immediately.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Concerning players' draft stock, I believe a lot of movement up and down lists has more to do with national media learning what personnel departments actually think of certain players versus their own speculation all year. Geno Smith is a good example of national-media hype versus the opinion of NFL scouts. Your thoughts?
John: The difference in players' perceived stock – i.e., his position in the eyes of the media and fans – and the players' stock in NFL war rooms indeed can be dramatically different. And the so-called rise and fall of players … well, yeah, there's a lot of truth in your theory.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
When do you think the team will hire an offensive coordinator?
John: Soon.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
This is maybe just a paraphrase of your answer: Dual-threat quarterbacks have an advantage; defenses are designed to stop pocket passers. If running quarterbacks become the norm, defenses will adjust and pocket passers will have a field day.
John: That's not a paraphrase of my answer. I don't believe running quarterbacks will become the norm because eventually running quarterbacks must stop running and stand in the pocket and throw. And if you take a look around the NFL, the good pocket passers are already sort of having a field day.
Scott from Here and There:
Bring Bill Walsh back from the grave; it won't matter if the O-line doesn't improve. People always forget how good the 49ers' lines were.
John: The 49ers' lines were good for a long, long time. The Jaguars' offensive line was not great last season. The belief is with an addition or two – and with improvement and maturity from some of the players the Jaguars believe will be core players – the group can improve significantly next season.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
I assume your security code worked?
John: Yes. Like a champ. And the phrase, "Live to fight another day" sprang immediately to mind.

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