JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...
Al from Gainesville, FL:
Defense wins championships. 'Nuff said.
John: It sure did Sunday, didn't it? And yes, it's true more often than not. I said for the two weeks leading to Super Bowl 50 that while all logic – as well as the eye test – told you Carolina was the better team, Denver had the look of one of those defenses that trumped all else. Seattle was that kind of defense two years ago. There have been others. The Baltimore Ravens in 2000. The Chicago Bears, of course. Denver this season belongs in that group. What we saw the last two weeks – a complete lockdown of Tom Brady and Cam Newton, a Rushmore quarterback and a Most Valuable Player – was all-time stuff. Credit to them.
Jerry from Jacksonville:
"The return of Sen'Derrick Marks and Dante Fowler Jr..." Injuries happen every year, so to think we can just plug in starters through free agency and the draft is false. We also need key contributors on the bench when they are needed. The best days of Jacksonville weren't just about how good the starters were, but also how good the backups were as well.
John: Of course you need quality depth to win in the NFL – and although it takes time, the Jaguars are building toward having it. That's why they will sign and draft players on the defensive front this offseason – as opposed to say, letting Dante Fowler Jr. and Sen'Derrick Marks return, then deciding to skip the draft and unrestricted free agency. At the same, don't underestimate the importance of impact players in the NFL. Elite players are difference-making players, who are so named because … they make a difference. Depth is important, but to reach elite levels you need those types of players. Marks has been an impact player at times and Fowler clearly has impact potential, so yeah – the Jaguars need them to be healthy and play at a high level.
Nate from Dillsburg, PA:
Imagine if we had the passing attack we do now when we had MJD in his prime. That would have been just, plain scary.
John: Well, yeah.
Kenny from Rochester, NY:
Everyone seems to think Eric Weddle is the Jaguars' top target for free safety but why not Tyshaun Gipson from the Browns? I think I remember the Jags being interested when he was a restricted free agent. Is his beard game that strong?
John: The great truth of free agency is the names associated with teams before the opening of free agency are often not the players teams actually sign in free agency. San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle makes sense because he's going to be available – and that's not always the case. If Weddle's not the target, then Gipson – considered one of the top four or five free safeties available – might make sense, too.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Since you covered the Colts, will you please explain why Tony Dungy is a Hall of Famer but Don Coryell, Tom Flores, and Bill Cowher are not? Based on individual accomplishments and contributions to the game, Coryell, Flores, and Cowher are just as – if not more deserving – than Dungy to be included in the Hall of Fame. I'm puzzled by this decision to induct Dungy. Did you ever think he was a future Hall of Famer while covering his teams?
John: I absolutely believed Tony Dungy was a Hall of Famer when I covered his teams, and I thought this in the same way I believe Fred Taylor, Jimmy Smith and Tony Boselli are Hall of Famers having covered them during their careers. There are a handful of guys I've covered that I truly hope/hoped would get in; add in Reggie Wayne, and that's pretty much my list. Still, though I absolutely was happy when Dungy got voted in to the Hall on Saturday – and though I absolutely believed it was deserved – I'm a little surprised he got in so quickly. That's because I do not believe his candidacy was in any way a slam dunk. As for the others you mention, I believe Tom Flores should be in the Hall of Fame, though I'm not quite as convinced about Coryell – and certainly not Cowher. I also don't know that we need to get into a trend where a head coach makes it into the Hall of Fame every season; there is a danger of the Hall getting "coach-heavy," in that respect. But even beyond his role as a trailblazer being the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl, Dungy's case for the Hall was a legitimate one. He took the Buccaneers to four playoff appearances and an NFC Championship Game in six years after taking over a franchise that had been at the bottom of the NFL for more than a decade; he coached the Colts to six consecutive seasons with 12 or more victories and never failed to make the postseason there; and, perhaps most impressively, his teams made the postseason nine consecutive seasons. Only Tom Landry can match that streak.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
I think you should get a round table ... and then change the segment name to Jags of the Square Table.
John: Irony can be pretty ironic.
Darren from Jacksonville:
If a coach who is out of the playoffs wanted to help a team who is still in the playoffs would that be legal?
John: I doubt you'd see a coach from another team fly to another city and assist in practice, but if a coach from a team out of the playoffs wants to speak to a coach of a team in the playoffs and help in some capacity … sure, he can. Even if the league wanted to stop it, it would be awfully difficult to enforce.
Tariq from Jacksonville:
If Fowler were half as productive as Von Miller is, that would be success ya?
John: As a rookie? No doubt.
Kyle from Ohio:
I want to throw a hypothetical at you, because that is all the free agency and the draft are right now. Say Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry were to hit the free-agent market – not that he likely will – I would have to think we would highly pursue him. In this situation, how would you see things playing out if, say, [Ohio State edge rusher Joey] Bosa was off the board, but [Florida State cornerback/safety Jalen] Ramsey was still there? Would we still think Ramsey and have him play free safety and Berry play strong safety? Ramsey play cornerback and Berry free safety? Would we target somebody else entirely?
John: I think under your scenario the Jaguars would select Ramsey and have him play corner with either Johnathan Cyprien or James Sample at strong safety.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Is it too late to hire a new coaching staff? I know it would be unorthodox, but the ends justify the means, ya know...
Charles from Savannah, GA:
John, I recalled hearing that Peyton Manning and the Colts receivers would practice in the offseason. Is this something that Blake is currently doing with the Jaguars receivers?
John: Manning and the Colts' receivers indeed worked during the offseason, though most of their offseason work during my time there was at the facility during organized team activities. Bortles and the Jaguars' receivers have said they are planning to work together this year in the offseason before the official beginning of the offseason program in mid-April. If they do so, it will be away from EverBank Field to comply with NFL rules.
Brad from Mansfield, OH:
Hey O, longtime dedicated reader. While T.J. Yeldon appears to be a very good – if not, possibly great – running back-to-be, what are your thoughts on trying to add another back with a possibly great upside in the draft, say Zeke Elliot? Who do you think is going to target him at this early point in setting up for the draft and what would it take to get in position to take him? I think adding him could be that piece that allows them to really be a consistently potent offense!
John: Considering the Jaguars' needs – and their desire to get faster and more athletic on defense – I would be surprised if the Jaguars go running back early in the draft.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Please trade for Dion Jordan. Should be cheap because of suspension. Do you have that kind of pull around there?
John: I don't, but if I did I probably wouldn't use it for that.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, what is the logic to only have 46 of the 53 active roster players suit up on game days?
John: It mainly comes down to a desire for evenness between the teams. With short-term and week-to-week injuries so common in the NFL and statuses often being determined the day of the game, mandating that seven players be inactive assures that both teams usually will have 46 players active. If teams were not forced to deactivate player you could conceivably have one team with 53 healthy players playing a team with 46 or 47 players. I don't know if that would be the worst thing possible, but that's the reasoning behind the rule.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Do you think the Jacksonville Jaguars will ever play in and win a Super Bowl?
O-Zone: Some day
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...
Al from Gainesville, FL: