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O-Zone: The whole enchilada

MOBILE, Ala. – All Greg Olson all the time? Not quite. But close.

Let's get to it … Nate from Visalia, CA:
Well, I'm not jumping off the walls with excitement. However, I'm not disappointed, either. The Raiders lacked significant talent around Derek Carr, and Greg Olson made it work considering … well, made Carr work. That's good enough for me.
John: You know what? That's a very reasonable, fair – and probably accurate – assessment. I lead this morning's O-Zone with it because I haven't gotten many reasonable or fair emails in the last few days, so I figured, "Hey! Let's celebrate this one!!" Look, Greg Olson as offensive coordinator isn't a jump-off-the-walls-with-excitement hire; Doug Marrone wasn't a jump-off-the-walls hire on Tuesday as assistant head coach-offense/offensive line, either. Jumping-off-the-walls hires do exist and they're neat for fans, but jumping off walls doesn't mean those hires will do anything to help the team. As Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley sees it, these hires are about getting a couple of guys who can work together, put together the remainder of the staff and start building the Jaguars' offense. To hear Bradley tell it, the process of building the Jaguars' offense is going to be about getting into a room, watching tape of last year's games and building an approach around the Jaguars' current roster. Bradley hired a couple of experienced football people. He wants them to be the core of a staff that's going to get this young offense moving in the right direction. If they succeed, there will be plenty of time for jumping off walls.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
John, the Jaguars moved fast in upgrading their offensive line; Marrone is an awesome hire. I have the feeling we are embarking on a great offseason.
John: Marrone feels like a good fit. He has experience. He has a solid reputation in NFL circles. Most coaches feel like good fits and have solid reputations in NFL circles. As is the case with all NFL coaches, time will tell how it plays out. Now, as far as the pressing issues about Marrone right now: how the Jaguars' offensive line looks moving forward and the style it plays … those are going to be interesting questions. Bradley said following the season the plan was to stay with a zone-blocking scheme; that's not Marrone's background and Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said the approach under Marrone and Olsen will be about using the skills of the players on the roster. That may not be a dramatic move away from a zone-blocking scheme along the offensive line, but it's sure not an all-in commitment to stay with it.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
First-round-Leonard Williams … second round-Arie Kouandjio … third round-Best Available Pass-Catching TE....simple really.
John: Cool.
Charles from Savannah, GA:
Why hire a guy that the team fired a couple of years ago? Isn't that like putting sour milk back in the refrigerator and saying it will be fresh tomorrow?
John: It's easy to see how many fans feel that way. I get it. Bbut that's not really the nature of this. First, while I suppose Olson technically was fired by the Jaguars, Mike Mularkey was fired as head coach and Gene Smith was fired as general manager and what followed was pretty close to a total house-cleaning. Linebackers coach Mark Duffner and wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan were retained on that staff, but Bradley essentially brought in a whole new approach. Could he have hired Olson at the time? Sure. Should he have? In retrospect, maybe he believes so. Good coaches get swept out in regime-changing, house-cleaning situations all the time in the NFL. It's absolutely not an indication that a coach isn't good at his job.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Whew!!!! … Now that we got the offensive coordinator on board I'm guessing it'll be a little boring in the "Zone!"
John: I wouldn't count on that.
William from Jacksonville:
Any thoughts about replacing the special teams coach?
John: I can't read minds, but everything Bradley said throughout last season certainly indicated he never seriously considered replacing special teams coach Mike Mallory – and he certainly doesn't plan to do so at this juncture. It became a very popular sentiment among fans this past season that Mallory needed to be replaced. That was understandable because the Jaguars' special teams allowed multiple blocked kicks and punts this past season. But Bradley said he believed he put Mallory in a bad situation by releasing some key special teams players, and by moving others to starting positions and removing them from core-four special teams roles. It's easy to blame coaches when players make mistakes, but you don't want to get rid of good coaches for reasons beyond their control. I keep thinking about the Green Bay Packers, who lost the NFC Championship Game in part because a player on special teams made a mistake on an onside kick doing something he knew he wasn't supposed to do. Is that the special teams coach's fault? Should a change be made? You can coach as well as you want, but it's very difficult to do successfully if the players don't do what they're coached to do.
Ken from Jacksonville:
And with the first pick of the 2016 NFL draft the Jaguars select...
John: Cute.
Max from St. Augustine, FL:
Is there a press conference scheduled to introduce Doug Marrone as the new assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach and Greg Olson as offensive coordinator? I think the fans would love to hear from them. Thanks.
John: That media availability will happen. I expect it to be early next week after the team returns from coaching the Senior Bowl in Mobile Saturday.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
John, you're my hero.
John: I hear this from time to time. I feel sorry for people from time to time, too.
Wilis from Jacksonville:
You mentioned Boselli coaching his sons - are you also grooming lil' ozone to take over as senior writer one day?
John: I mentioned this to him once a while back. His heartfelt, his derisive laugh still echoes in my soul.
Jan from Fairfield, CT:
Raiders fans seem to think Mr. Olson couldn't make a halftime adjustment if his life (or at least his job) depended on it. Isn't that one of the most important qualities a good play caller should have, to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent as you are playing against them and to adjust accordingly?
John: Sure. Halftime adjustments matter. I don't know if Olson is any good at it or not. I know coaches for teams that struggle are often accused of not adjusting well at halftime, and I know a lot of time not having players as good as those on the other team makes it tough to adjust. As for what Raiders fans think of Olson, look … fans dislike their past coordinators and coaches. Spend a little time around the NFL and read a message board or Twitter timeline or two and that point is driven home pretty emphatically.
James from Jacksonville:
This whole "assistant-head-coach" title has me thinking. Doesn't it really mean Gus is being put on notice? I like the heck out of Gus, but he comes across to me as a coordinator rather than head coach. I get the feeling his "losing is OK as long as you compete" philosophy won't cut it this upcoming season. Correct me if I'm wrong...please.
John: You're wrong. Bradley never has said, "Losing is OK as long as you compete." He does believe that competition and striving to improve every day eventually will lead to winning. You're also interpreting the assistant head coach thing incorrectly. I have no idea what the future holds for Bradley and the staff. No one in the NFL knows what the future holds for any staff. But Doug Marrone's title is in no way a commentary on Bradley's status.
Mike from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
How can we decide an OC that gives us the 31st ranked offense is not good enough, needs to be fired, and then decide to replace him with the OC of the 32nd ranked offense? How can that possibly be viewed as an upgrade? Literally hiring any other OC would have been an upgrade. But this one? Really?
John: Not to be argumentative here, but Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said from the day he dismissed Jedd Fisch that this wasn't about statistics. People don't want to hear, read or accept that, but in this case, that's the truth. Bradley wanted an offense that better adapted to the players on the roster and an offensive coordinator who could adapt the offense to the personnel and allow it to play fast. He talked about that a bit during the hiring process and he talked about it after the Olson hire was made official Wednesday. I get that fans will continue to look at this through the prism of league offensive rankings. There's little that can be done to change that, but that was not the prism of this hire. The Jaguars think Olson does a good job getting players better and they think he's the best choice to build and run an offense with the young talent on the roster. That's it. That's the meal.

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