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O-Zone: Take a hint

JACKSONVILLE - Let's get to it. David from Durban, South Africa:
Everyone keeps talking about the Jaguars drafting another Leo when they have Chris Clemons, Ryan Davis and Andre Branch returning. I am concerned about the nose-guard spot with Roy Miller and only Abry Jones as backup. Danny Shelton is looking tempting, especially if we get to trade down with a team hungry for Marcus Mariota. Your thoughts?
John: My first thought is I'm not convinced there's going to be the mad rush to trade up for Mariota as many expect, but that's a debate for another day – i.e., the next two-and-a-half months. The Jaguars' nose guard spot is one of the team's stronger areas, with Miller expected to return from a knee injury for the start of training camp and Jones significantly better than the "only" in your question implies. No one knows what the Jaguars will do on draft day. If they do trade down, then Shelton is a fine selection, though I'm not a huge fan of trading out of a premium selection unless you get really, really, REALLY significant return. As far as what to do with the selection if the Jaguars stay at No. 3, we have a long way to go, but … Leo, Otto, wide receiver … whatever. Just get a player who makes a difference.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Shad Khan recently stated he would like to continue the London series. I can't fault him for this because the games have accomplished what they were set out to do, but what metrics do you believe would have to be met before deciding to return the games to Jacksonville?
John: I don't know that there's a metric that has to be met. Khan believes the games in London are good for the franchise in Jacksonville and in building the team's international brand. As long as that's the case, I think he'll want to keep playing a game a year in London.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
If Alualu had been a mid-round pick do you think he would be receiving as much hate as he currently does? Wishing he hasn't developed knee issues due to injury.
John: There's little question Tyson Alualu would be perceived dramatically differently had he been selected in the second round or even later in the first round. As the No. 10 overall selection in 2010, there were expectations of big sack numbers – and the knee injury he sustained as a rookie certainly didn't help him. The reality is while Alualu never has been a big sack guy he has been remarkably tough and reliable, never missing a game in five NFL seasons. He also has been very good as a five-technique defensive end since moving there from tackle before the 2013 season. Many fans may never grasp that, but that's OK. People don't always have to understand what's really going on, and there's no way to force them to do so.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
I just love, "They're doing all they can to win." Sure does look like it. We're sitting here saying they've improved when in fact we're drafting No. 3 again. We're talking about an exciting offseason again. I don't see how you can say that they'll be improved. I have no confidence in that. All we do is talk about London. Maybe they'll be good when they move there. I'll be at every game, but this act is so tired. We'll be fighting for 8-8 this season. I don't get how that is a real goal. Are we not trying to win the division? I don't get it.
John: Sure, the Jaguars are fighting to win the division. That's a goal, and winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal. There are cases when teams turn themselves around quickly, but those cases are rare. The Jaguars are trying to build a foundation that will allow them to be competitive on a sustainable basis. More often than not, that takes time. More often than not, it's not done by huge offseason spending in willy-nilly fashion. It's done by drafting and developing. That's what the Jaguars are doing. It hasn't happened quickly. It wasn't expected to. That doesn't make it easy or less frustrating, but that's how it is.
Ron from Asheville, NC:
There are some premiere pass rushers on the market currently, and yes, I know things will change. The Jags have plenty of money, and should take advantage of getting a rare commodity in a top-flight pass rusher. The draft is no sure thing, and pass rushers have a high bust rate in the first round. Isn't there an old adage you can never have enough good pass rushers?
John: That is an old adage, and I absolutely wouldn't rule out the Jaguars signing a pass rusher in free agency. That might shock some people, but I'm guessing there will be some surprises when free agency opens. The problem, as you mentioned, is some of the big names won't be free when free agency begins. As far as busts go, yes, the rate for first-round pass rushers is high, but you know what? Busts are hardly limited to pass rushers, and they happen in free agency as often as they do in the first round of the draft.
Ryan from Ohio:
Mr. Zone, just a quick thought about rooting for your home team. It was 1995 and I was 10 years old. I found out the Browns were to be moved to Baltimore. It may have been one of the darkest days of my life. I remember crying like a baby. But through all of this pain I remember turning to the Jaguars and I never looked back. Here's to the people who root for out of state teams.
John: Cheers.
Ray from Vernon:
I bought a book called "Keep your eye off the ball" for my son, who is an assistant high school football coach. In doing so I realized I probably should have read it myself because as a typical fan I follow the ball. My point is when you watch the tape, after Bowanko hikes the ball, he is a beast. Give him time, I think he will be a really good if not great center. Your thoughts O man?
John: I think a lot of people around the Jaguars believe that if Bowanko is given time he has a chance to be a really good center.
Chris from Philadelphia, PA:
Do you think Randy Gregory could play the Otto? He weighs less and appears more athletic than Bruce Irvin.
John: I think if Gregory played for the Jaguars he would have a chance to be a really good Leo, and I think that would be why the Jaguars drafted Gregory. If indeed they draft Gregory.
Jack from Los Angeles, CA:
When I think of my favorite free agents, I think of the following names. I love what Charles Clay, Randall Cobb, Devin McCourty, Byron Bulaga, and Byron Maxwell has to offer. Obviously it would be difficult to sign these guys but what are your thoughts on these guys specifically? Also, how are you liking the offseason O-Man? Another rough year - I'm ready to move on...
John: I think if those players all hit free agency the Jaguars would probably pursue more than one. I think if the Jaguars signed more than one of those players it would correctly be perceived as a really good unrestricted free agent class.
Janarus from Jacksonville:
Do teams approach free agency like the draft in the sense of targeting BAP or need? Thanks for answering!
John: Teams pursue free agents to fill positions of need.
Jack from Jacksonville:
A Seattle Seahawks reporter came out this week and said there is no chance they resign Byron Maxwell. Do you think the Jaguars could go after him? He fits into the Jaguars scheme and Gus Bradley coached him in 2013. I think he could be a great fit and with 65.5 million to spend we could get him in.
John: It would surprise me a little if the Jaguars go after Byron Maxwell, but it wouldn't stun me. The Jaguars feel good about Dwayne Gratz, Demetrius McCray and Aaron Colvin, but if they believe Maxwell is a significant upgrade … well, upgrading is what having cap room is all about, right?
Nick from Copenhagen, Denmark:
Often teams make big jumps because second-and third-year players make big jumps. Who do you see taking the next step on the Jags and why? Thanks
John: I think Telvin Smith, Brandon Linder, Luke Bowanko and Aaron Colvin have a really good chance to take a step because they played really well at times as rookies and just need consistency. I also think players such as Luke Joeckel, Johnathan Cyprien, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson fall into the same category because they also will be a year older and have a lot of ability.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
If Dave Caldwell does not open up the wallet in free agency and give the Jaguars and their fans some much needed help, he should be fired.
John: I'm not sure how many ways the Jaguars have to say, "We're going to be more active in free agency" before people realize they're going to be more active in free agency.

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