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O-Zone: The pain is real

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Paul from Grimsby, England:
If the intention of the Jaguars' offense is to play fast and at a high tempo, was any consideration given to college coaches for the offensive coordinator job? A lot of colleges now seem to play with high-tempo offenses fairly routinely.
John: There were no college offensive coordinators interviewed. As far as your question, a couple of thoughts. One is that there is a continuing misconception of what Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley was talking about at his season-ending press conference. When he talked that day about wanting to get the offense playing fast, he didn't necessarily mean the time between plays – or playing no-huddle and getting players to the line of scrimmage quickly. What he meant was he wanted to get players playing fast and with confidence once the ball is snapped. He wanted players to be certain of their assignments, and to be certain they were doing the right thing. Those elements allow players to "play fast" and with no confusion, and that should theoretically allow young players to better utilize their talents. That's how Bradley likes his defenses to play, and he would like the offense to play that way as well. Also, although colleges indeed play at up-tempo routinely, the NFL is a dramatically different game than college and the up-tempo offenses that routinely work in college don't work as easily in the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles with Head Coach Chip Kelly are an obvious exception to this. Perhaps Kelly's offense will become a trend, but that hasn't happened yet.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
Who is the quarterbacks coach for the 2015 season? Do we know yet?
John: Not yet. I expect we'll know sometime this week.
Sam from Athens, GA:
While Greg Olson isn't necessarily the big-name type of hire that Adam Gase or other candidates would have been, it seems encouraging that he helped develop Derek Carr into a quality rookie quarterback last year without very much talent around him at all. While the Jags didn't light up the scoreboard last year, it seems to me that Bortles has more natural talent than Carr does, and that he'll have a better supporting cast than Carr did in Oakland. Hopefully, this will lead to some substantial improvement from Bortles in Year Two!
John: Derek Carr is talented, though with most analysts rating Bortles ahead of Carr entering the draft, I suppose that indeed would be an argument for Bortles having more natural ability. And yes, no doubt: one of the reasons the Jaguars liked Olson was his ability with young quarterbacks. We're in danger of dissecting, talking and discussing this topic to death, and that makes sense with a change as significant as offensive coordinator, but the whole key to this is Bortles and the young players on the Jaguars' offense improving. Olson and the re-worked staff have the responsibility of creating the best structure for the players to do that, but as Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said this week: this is a talent-acquisition league; it eventually comes down to how that talent plays.
Eric from Gettysburg, PA:
I keep hearing people back up Olson's track record by saying he didn't have any talent to work with in Oakland. But Oakland's offense didn't look much worse than ours. Aside of three rookie receivers, a second-year running back and lots of players who "have the potential to be really good" is our roster really much better?
John: I don't cover the Raiders, so I don't pretend to know their roster in enough detail to make a fair comparison. They had a rookie quarterback and so did the Jaguars; the Raiders had a lot of experience on offense and the Jaguars had a lot of rookies. I can tell you the Jaguars' belief is that Olson indeed never has had elite level talent with which to work, but I can also tell you that it seems people continue to miss the spirit of this hire. Bradley and Caldwell believe Olson's experience working with young quarterbacks and in a number of different styles will allow him to install an offense that will cater to the strengths of a young offense. It's understandable that fans look only at statistics and the past rankings of a coach when making the hire. That's understandable because fans don't get to talk to other coaches around the NFL and they don't get to sit in the interviews and get a feel for fit and philosophy. The people who make the hires do get to have those conversations and it's why hirings are often surprising and confusing to people without that sort of access.
Jacob from Westchester, NY:
Did Greg Olson and Doug Marrone coach at the Senior Bowl?
John: No. They are expected to begin working with the Jaguars next week.
Jerry from Jacksonville:
That was a real nice article you wrote about Boselli. A little too nice. Shirley, you can't be serious about Hall of Fame. His career was too short for Canton. Did he threaten you? I will say, had he played for at least four more years, he would be in as soon as he became eligible. And, I wouldn't take his threats lightly, either.
John: Gale Sayers played parts of seven seasons and his career essentially spanned five seasons. He is in the Hall of Fame. Terrell Davis played seven seasons and made three Pro Bowls. He is being discussed for Hall of Fame consideration. Tony Boselli played seven seasons, played in five Pro Bowls and was perhaps the best left tackle in the NFL during a golden age at the position. If you're going to talk about Sayers and Davis, you have to talk about Boselli.
Jacob from Westchester, NY:
There are a ton of great players on the free-agent market this year. Do you believe the Jaguars will go after any? What positions would they be aiming for? It's hard for me to say this, but why would a player come to Jacksonville when they can go to a big market for the same money?
John: There are indeed some high-profile players who could be free agents this offseason. I believe the Jaguars will pursue higher-profile free agents than they did the last two offseasons, and I expect free safety, tight end and right tackle to be possible targets. It's important to remember that those decisions will be based on discussions that have yet to take place. Will the Jaguars have to pay more to draw players? Yes, based on their record and lack of success in recent seasons, that's probably true. But I expect the Jaguars to spend a lot of money this offseason.
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I'm obsessed with our offensive line and Luke Joeckel in particular – and the disappointment he has been. I know he is working on getting bigger and stronger, but to the eyes he seems to lack the attitude to dominate his opposition, to defeat them, to beat them into the ground, that great offensive linemen have ... can that be learned?
John: I would certainly agree that Joeckel could play more aggressively, but unlike others I'm not ready to write Joeckel off or even call him a disappointment. Would the Jaguars have liked him to play better last season? Yes. Does he need to play better? Yes. But it's also important to remember that he lost not only 11 games of his rookie season, but pretty much his entire offseason leading to his second year. The offseason is a very important time not only for strength and conditioning, but for preparing for the season, and Joeckel spent that time getting his ankle healthy enough to play and not really preparing to play. This offseason he has no such obstacle, so should improvement be expected? Yes. And yeah, he can learn to be more aggressive. He just has to do it.
Dave from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Could Johnathan Cyprien play outside linebacker? He seems to play better near the line of scrimmage and is a real physical player, plus in space he seems to take some bad angles, which perhaps would not be as much of a problem as a linebacker.
John: Cyprien is going to remain the Jaguars' strong safety. This will be a big year for him. There's no question he needs to play more consistently and be more of a core player than he has been the first two seasons. However that plays out it won't be at linebacker.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
Hey Zone, guess what? My kid has a license now. On the one hand, my premiums are about to hurt me. On the other, I don't have to drive him anywhere anymore, & he can take his little sister where she needs to go. Ain't this a great time to be alive? #DTWD.
John: I have an 18-year-old. Trust me when I say it's the thing on the first hand that keeps on hurting and hurting and hurting.

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