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O-Zone: Summing it up

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Tommy from Jacksonville:
David Caldwell thinks the offensive line is fine except for one position (71 sacks), we are set at running back (Gerhart: 323 total yards, 3.2 per carry), our TE Lewis is good and he wants him back (206 yards total) and we should have not won so many games the last two years (7-25 with the 2nd and 3rd pick in the draft). If any other general manager in the league said this they would be crucified … please tell me, O-Man, this is not what he meant?
John: As often is the case when people speak, people hear what they want to hear. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell on Tuesday did say he thinks the Jaguars are in good shape at right guard, center and left tackle, but he did not say that about left guard or right tackle. He never said the Jaguars are set at running back, and while he said the team would like to re-sign Marcedes Lewis, that does not preclude trying to improve the position. Caldwell also did not say the Jaguars "should not have won so many games the last two years," but indeed say the Jaguars might have won more games than he anticipated in his first two years on the job. That's not to say he didn't want to win more games, but it again gives indication about the amount of building that needed to be done when this regime took over.
William from Section 423:
It's 2015, Zone! No way we're going to see a backslide out of you this year... right?
John: Wait. What?
Daniel from Windsor Heights, IA:
I recognize it's often difficult to get people to divulge complete reasoning behind big decisions. Am I correct in interpreting that Fisch was let go because he refused/resisted to trim the playbook for the younger offensive team?
John: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley was indeed purposely vague Tuesday when discussing the dismissal of offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. But yes, there was a significant philosophical difference about how much to put on the plate of quarterback Blake Bortles and the offense. That doesn't seem to be the entire reason for the dismissal, but it certainly was a factor.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Jags need to draft mariota he is better than blaine bortles.
John: I didn't figure it would take long to get these emails. Marcus Mariota is a very, very good college quarterback. We'll see how that translates to the NFL. But I doubt he'll be available at No. 3 when the Jaguars select, anyway.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
We need ducks OC.
John: And the band played on.
Box from Jacksonville:
When Gus talked about the philosophical differences between him and Jedd pertaining to the offense running fast and executing, does that refer to instances where Blake and his team would be going into the very final seconds on the play clock and still trying to change the play and then having to burn a timeout or suffer a delay of game penalty?
John: No. It pertains to having the players sure enough about what they're doing that they play fast from snap to whistle. When players aren't completely confident and certain in what they're doing – or when they're overloaded – that can make it harder to play fast.
White from Macctown:
Hey John, is it really true that Jedd Fisch was really belittling Blake?
John: My understanding is this was not an issue in Fisch's dismissal. It's also my understanding that reports of that were a surprise to many, including Fisch and Bortles.
Tucker from New York, NY:
Is there anyone on our current coaching staff who might be a good candidate for the job? It seems like we should try to maintain an infrastructure around this young offense so they don't have to relearn everything in their second year. Wouldn't a good coach want to bring over his own staff and replace some of ours? I know people want a big name, but I think we're forgetting how crucial it may be to provide some consistency for our young guys.
John: I don't see the Jaguars hiring an offensive coordinator from within.
Philip from Harper's Ferry, WV:
O-Man, I read the criticism of Luke Joeckel, and I myself have criticized his play, but then I remember that last year and all of last offseason he spent a significant amount of time rehabbing a serious injury – time that should have gone into getting bigger and stronger. Let's see what he does next year.
John: Yes, let's.
Scott from Jacksonville:
My opinion is the Jags need to be .500 or within a game of .500 for David Caldwell and Gus Bradley to keep their jobs. Do you think Caldwell could get irresponsible with the cap and spending to keep his job? Overspending is part of free agency and all the talk is the Jags are going to spend heavy in free agency. Will they overspend and mortgage the future to keep their jobs?
John: I doubt they will do this. The reason I doubt this is both seem to understand that spending willy-nilly in free agency is not a cure-all and not necessarily something that helps your team.
Jesse from Jacksonville:
Is this team cursed?
John: No.
James from Jacksonville:
Might we see Mike Smith on the Jags sideline as OC next season? He and Caldwell helped build that Falcons team, right?
John: Caldwell no doubt respects Mike Smith a great deal from their time together in Atlanta. Most anyone who has been around Smith for any period does. It would take some serious out-of-the-box thinking to bring Smith in as an offensive coordinator, though. He's a defensive coach.
Matt from Austin, TX:
Since there will be non-stop talk of a shiny new coordinator, who would GM Oehser hire?
John: I like the idea of Marc Trestman or Dirk Koetter, but those are early names and we're not heavy into this thing yet.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
In your opinion, do you think the Jaguars have an advantage or a disadvantage over the teams that are looking for all-new coaching staff when it comes to hiring a new offense coordinator? On the one hand, they have the advantage of time because they don't have to wait until they hire a new head coach before they hire a new coordinator. But on the other hand, the Jaguars don't offer a lot of job security because if they don't turn it around next year there is a good chance the whole coaching staff will be fired.
John: You have the two hands outlined pretty clearly. I'd say the two hands pretty much balance each other out in this case.
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
O-Man, from Dave's presser he acknowledged he had handicapped the coaches and players more than he should have by not having enough veterans … you can add as unstated "on offense" … Let's say he had added in free agency a starting veteran center and tackle … would we have given up 71 sacks? Would we have had the opportunity to throw the ball downfield more? Would we have had a better running game? Would we have won six or seven games? It seems Jedd Fisch is the sacrificial lamb for Dave Caldwell's mistakes.
John: It would seem that way if you didn't also listen to Gus Bradley, who pretty clearly stated – honestly, I believe – that Fisch's firing wasn't about statistics or production, but rather about a difference in approach. Bradley said on several occasions Tuesday that the move was about a difference of opinion over how much to put on the plate of young players, including quarterback Blake Bortles. Bradley wanted an approach that enabled the players to play fast; Fisch seemed to want more in the playbook – perhaps in an effort to confuse defenses. Now, I'm not saying that Fisch wouldn't have had slightly better results with a couple of veterans, but I am saying that those slightly better results might not have overcome the difference in approach. (And, incidentally, while it's noble of Caldwell to say he could have added veterans there also is the issue of just what veterans he was supposed to add. He added a veteran left guard and tried to add the top center in free agency. Adding veterans is nice, but improving through free agency is a dicey proposition at best. The way to improve your team over the long haul is to draft and develop your own players – and that takes time).
Damien from Jacksonville:
How does the offensive coordinator change the offseason contact rules between Bortles and coaches?
John: It doesn't.
Eric from Orlando and Section 150:
With a new offensive coordinator coming in, is there a chance we change from a zone-blocking scheme to an assignment-based one? I've never been a fan of the zone blocking, and I wonder if our offensive line would do any better with an assignment-based scheme.
John: No. Bradley said on Tuesday he planned to stay with the zone-blocking scheme because that's the style the players the Jaguars have drafted play.
Chris from Section 223:
John: ...

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