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O-Zone: Tears of bliss

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bill from Jacksonville

John, you said recently there’s a misconception that the Jaguars and Head Coach Doug Marrone want to have a conservative-ball control offense built on the running game. Yet you wrote in July, “[Marrone] wasn't joking about this, and he wasn't smiling. ‘Zero,’ Marrone replied when asked how many times he wants Blake Bortles to attempt a pass each game. ‘I’d like to run the ball every play. I want to go back to the old way. I want to change the game.’’’ So how’s this a misconception, John? Thanks! Go Jags!

OK, perhaps “misconception” was a bit strong. The Jaguars under Marrone clearly aren’t going to do a complete three-point turn from a run-based mindset to the run and shoot – and Marrone does want to dictate by running. At the same time, to think Marrone is completely against throwing efficiently and playing up-tempo is going too far the other way. Remember: Marrone coached with the New Orleans Saints with Head Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees. He understands the benefit of such an approach. Remember, too:  What Marrone wants is to win – and what he wants from the offense is big plays and efficiency. He believed the last two years running first and playing play-action was the best way to achieve that (the Los Angeles Rams, incidentally, play the same way; they just do it really well). The approach worked for the Jaguars in 2017 (remember the sixth-ranked offense and the AFC South title?) and didn’t work in 2019. But if the Jaguars’ offensive personnel can aggressively throw effectively, Marrone would have no problem playing that way. What the Jaguars’ offense will look like in 2019 remains to be seen. Marrone during his media availability to announce the 2019 coaching staff made the point that the offense moving forward will be based on personnel. Can the Jaguars find a quarterback that will flourish in a more up-tempo, aggressive scheme? Can they improve at tight end? Can they find receivers – or can the ones they have develop? The answers to those questions will determine how much the offense will change moving forward.

Charlie from Jacksonville

Hey John, regarding Sam from Orlando's endorsement of Jenegative Jerelly, I am reminded of one of my favorite sayings: However great the fool, there is always a greater fool to admire him.

Fair.

Dan from Jacksonville

What about Jacoby Brissett – seems the Colts would be open to discussions?

Indianapolis General Manager Chris Ballard said following the Colts’ season-ending loss to Kansas City last week that a trade offer for backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett would have to “blow me away.” The Colts also could be reluctant to trade a quarterback to a division rival.

Chris from Nashville, TN

Over/under: Jags offense ranked 20th in the league next year, defense ranked 10th. Don't worry, I'll quote you on this next season.

They’ll be ranked better than that in both categories.

Andy from Roswell, GA

Put me in the camp that wants less instant replay, not more. The last thing I want to do is watch super slow-motion replays for five minutes while we decide if – in super slow motion – the defender impeded the receiver enough to warrant a pass-interference call. Or if the ball grazed the right thumb ... no, left ... no, right ... no, arm. If you can't figure it out in 30 seconds, call stands and let's go.

The reality with replay and officiating is you simply can’t perfect it, nor can you please everyone. If the game takes too long, people will call for less replay. If a call is missed, they will call for more replay.

David from Chuluota

O - I agree with that guy that said we should have drafted Patrick Mahomes and I’ll go a step further and say we should draft only the All-Pro players. Why we don’t draft only the best player is beyond me!

Shad Khan … hire this man!

Marc from Oceanside, CA

I agree that it might prove difficult and disruptive to make everything reviewable. What would be your opinion on having a referee (or even several) located in the booth watching from above and on monitors? This (these) refs would have power just like those on the field and could immediately communicate that a flag should be thrown or intervene when something is “obviously” an error as called or not called on the field. They could let the refs do their jobs mostly, but intervene when it is obvious – just like it might be to every fan watching on TV or in the stadium. I think this would add an extra layer of protection from those glaring errors that might be missed at field level or in real time but wouldn’t add all the extra stoppages of allowing more challenges.

The issue remains the human element. This idea makes sense, as does the idea being currently floated that will allow pass interference to be reviewed in the final two minutes of a game. And no doubt both systems would have prevented the mistake at the end of Rams-Saints. But both proposals would depend on the idea that officials only review “obvious” pass interference penalties. What’s obvious? Where do you draw the line? Many officials would be judicious in stopping the game. But there undoubtedly would come a time when an official stopped a game and reversed a pass interference that was “unobvious” – at least to someone. On that occasion some people would agree. Some people would disagree. And replay would have solved very little – if anything. So, yes … I do believe the league will react and implement something to allow pass interference to be reviewed. I also believe that at some point soon there will be debate over just what is obvious – and an accompanying controversy that is just as emotional for some team as Sunday’s controversy was to the Saints. There is never going to be a perfect replay system, or a perfect officiating process – though I suppose there’s nothing wrong with continuing to strive for them.

Rob from St. Augustine, FL

With the Los Angeles Rams choosing to wear their throwbacks in this year’s game, can you explain the rules regarding uniforms and the Super Bowl?

The designated home team gets to pick its uniform combination of choice for the Super Bowl. In this case, that meant the Rams choosing their yellow-and-blue, Heaven-Can-Wait uniforms. The designated road team then selects its combination based on the home team’s decision.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Am I the only one who thinks signing a high-priced veteran quarterback is a bad idea for this team? We are cap-loaded, have several major upcoming contracts (Yannick Ngakoue, Jalen Ramsey), and an abundance of holes on offense. The best-and-only solution is drafting a quarterback. Nick Foles or Joe Flacco for 20 million a year? Stop this insanity!

!!!!!

Sean from Jacksonville

I don't like asking this question... at all. But, do you think trying to emulate the Patriots atmosphere/system/culture would work with the Jaguars? Sure, a direct copy wouldn't work out well amongst all the coaches and assistants unless they all buy in, but building it slowly using the Patriots model surely couldn't hurt.

How do you copy a quarterback? Are we more advanced on cloning than I realize?

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, if you were going to compare our quarterbacks from best to worst in franchise history, what would that look like to you? I'd have a hard time putting just about anyone other than Mark Brunell higher than Bortles given that Bortles got us so close to the Super Bowl – and did so with arguably an awful offense around him.

An argument could be made for David Garrard. I heard the Garrard argument a lot when I wrote last season that I considered Bortles second behind Brunell. And you know what? Those arguments were convincing and correct.

Jake from Virginia

Linebackers question: Myles Jack obviously didn't achieve the breakout season many predicted, but was it bad enough to want to move him outside? Along the same lines, no doubt a down year for Telvin, but I'd keep him around. Do you think there needs to be/will be changes at the position?

I think change is a possibility at linebacker for the Jaguars this offseason, with a very real possibility of moving on from Telvin Smith. Where would Jack play in that scenario? I would lean a bit toward weak-side linebacker, but that might depend on who the Jaguars could draft or sign.

Dave from Duuval

Dear O-Zone, Do they give you free Reese’s Products at the Senior Bowl as a media member? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is my favorite candy bar! I like to freeze mine.

I did receive a giant package of Reese’s Cups from the Senior Bowl. It was basically the size of my laptop. The serving sizes were broken down into 16ths. I laughed confidently upon seeing it and wondered who would eat such a thing. I’m told my shame weeping later that night could be heard throughout the eerie streets of downtown Mobile.

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