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O-Zone: The best scheme is...

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it... Joel from Jacksonville:
I hope people realize Super Bowls are not won in free agency. The studs for the Jags for the most part were not free-agent acquisitions. I just hope the money spent improves us significantly. Go Jags.
John: This is a fair point, and one that history says is usually proven out over time. Honestly, though, I don't know how many people actually realize Super Bowls aren't won in free agency, particularly this time of year. Because of the overhyped, round-the-clock coverage free agency receives, most people – rational, level-headed people included – tend to lose perspective when a team "misses" on a player. I do know people around the Jaguars – particularly General Manager David Caldwell – realize that the draft is a far more effective way to build a championship roster. Caldwell has focused more on free agency the last two offseasons than he would under ideal conditions, but the conditions he inherited weren't ideal. There were holes on the roster that couldn't possibly be filled in three or four drafts, so heavy spending has been necessary to make up for what should have been done in the draft. Once those holes are filled, I expect to see Caldwell use free agency far less than he has in recent offseasons.
Hassan from Dallas, TX:
Would Dave Caldwell trade WR Allen Hurns for DE/LEO Ezequiel Ansah? Would you?
John: He very well might, and I probably would, but it's unlikely he would ever get the opportunity – and I obviously won't. Ansah is a very productive young pass rusher. Teams don't usually go looking to trade those – even for productive young receivers.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
In the history of the Jaguars, Mark Brunell has been the only quarterback that has taken us (not as a wild card) to a playoff?
John: The Jaguars have won two division titles – the 1998 and 1999 AFC Central championships. Brunell was the starting quarterback both seasons.
Zain from Orlando, FL:
Your take, Zone - order these guys on Caldwell's draft board: Jack, Bosa, Ramsey, Tunsil, Buckner.
John: This answer isn't who I think Caldwell would take given the opportunity as much as it is who I would expect is rated the highest. My guesstimate (with an emphasis on the word "guesstimate"): Tunsil, Ramsey, Buckner, Bosa, Jack.
Brian from Charlottesville, FL:
Dan Skuta is the answer at backup LEO? I know he was banged up, but why didn't he get snaps last year considering how deplorable Branch & Mr. Wednesday were? What do you think the teams plans are for the OTTO if Skuta will play more LEO?
John: The team was going to use Skuta more in pass-rushing situations last season until he injured his groin. I don't think using Skuta more as a pass rusher next season means he won't be able to play the Otto.
Patrick from Yulee, FL:
John, we missed on some edge rushers. It wasn't our fault. Olivier Vernon wanted the big lights of New York and Ayers wanted more playing time. What do you think about Quinton Coples? He is only 25 and a former first-rounder and could be a great pick up to help with the edge rush. We have a great culture here and he might just need our culture to do great on the field.
John: I expect the Jaguars are studying or have studied all available options in free agency. At this point, it's probably not realistic to think there is going to be a high-impact edge rusher sign with the team as a free agent.
Rob from Section 122:
My Top 3 guys I'm rooting for the Jags to draft: Ramsey, Jack, Bosa.
John: If one of those players is available when the Jaguars select at No. 5 overall I think they would be happy.
Byron from Harrisburg, PA:
I feel we are at the point of being a really great team this coming year, especially with all the acquisitions added to make this team awesome. Do you feel the Jags at their current state can "stalk" and "pounce" on other teams now and be more relevant in the league as a small-market team? I feel this team now is destined for greatness this year, how about you?
John: I don't know how much stalking or pouncing the Jaguars will do next season, and I don't know how market size will affect anything once the season begins. I do know the Jaguars appear to be better defensively. If they get even marginally better defensively and continue to develop as an offense … I don't know that I'd predict greatness, but I would say they can push for a winning record.
Robert from Orange Park, FL:
What do you think is the Jaguars' biggest need coming into this year's draft?
John: Pass rush. Speed on defense.
Matt from Easton, PA:
So much concern about the pass rush! It's obviously an issue, but with the additions in the secondary and a top talent in the draft I'm not as worried as most people. Better coverage down the field should give the pass rush just a little more time to get home and hopefully will create more sacks. Do you share this opinion at all?
John: I share your opinion a little, and when I say "a little" I mean "a little." There's little question the addition of Prince Amukamara and Tashaun Gipson should help the secondary, which in turn should help the pass rush. There's also little question that the addition of Malik Jackson should help the pass rush – more, in theory, than the addition of the defensive backs. Some people believe a great pass rush helps your secondary and others believe a great secondary can help the pass rush. Caldwell last week said he believes it's both. I'm more of a believer that pass rush helps secondary, but I overall believe better players help everything. On that front, Jackson, Gipson and Amukamara can't hurt.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi John, I read Kevin Beachum is visiting. Versatile offensive lineman, but curious, with their size and weight, do they recover/return to form after ACL/MCL tears to the degree we're seeing these days with running backs and receivers?
John: Yes. An ACL tear actually often is less of a concern for a lineman.
Daniel Since Day One:
So if you're not head-over-heels crazy about who's available at No. 5, wouldn't you trade down 10 to 15 spots for a second rounder? My biggest complaint about Caldwell's drafting is that he's never traded down and taken advantage of picking up an extra high pick. There are always some Pro Bowl-caliber players available in the second round. And imagine what kind of shape we would be in if he hadn't traded up to get Allen Robinson and we only had Marqise Lee from that draft?
John: Would I trade down 10-to-15 spots for a second rounder? No, I'd probably want more than that to trade down quite that far. Look, I understand fans love the idea of trading down, but there are a few issues here that don't often get discussed. One is when you trade out of the Top 5 you're moving away from what the percentages tell you should be a high-impact player; those don't come around all of the time. Second is when you trade down you need to be sure you believe you're going to get a player you like when you pick. Third is you need someone with whom to trade down. None of that is to say trading down is a bad thing, but it's not automatically the best thing.
Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA:
John: Wow, you are serious. I can tell because you not only used CAPITAL LETTERS, but an !
Dane from Jacksonville:
Here's one for Jack at No. 5. The guy can absolutely fly, is a physical tackler and excels in both pass defense and run support. He would significantly upgrade the defense.
John: Hey, one fer Jack! The question concerning Jack will remain the same until the draft – is he special enough and enough of a playmaker to merit taking a position that's not normally an absolute Top 5 position. Many people believe the answer is yes. We'll see.
Scott from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Can you explain the difference and roles of LEO and OTTO and what is the difference from a traditional 4-3 defensive scheme? Is one more effective than the other? Also, where does a 3-4 fit into the picture like they use in Denver?
John: A Leo typically lines up in a traditional defensive end position opposite the tight end and is responsible for creating pressure while the rest of the defensive line focuses more on the run. The Otto lines up in a linebacker position and has pass rush skills but has more run responsibility than the Leo. The 3-4 defense features a nose tackle with two run-oriented defensive ends, two interior linebackers and two pass rushing, "edge" linebackers. That's the simple way to explain it; the reality is teams play so many sub-packages that the true base 4-3 and 3-4 schemes don't fully explain the defensive schemes anymore. As far as which defense is more effective – the Leo/Otto scheme or a more traditional 4-3 … I'm not certain. Which one has the better players?

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