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O-Zone: True believer

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Frankie from London, UK:
Mr. O, a quick question for you. In the offseason, do you think there's any potential for Brandon Linder to return to left guard and bring in a quality center to improve the overall line? I still maintain that we didn't do enough on the offensive line in the previous offseason and the consistency of a poor run game overall this season I think proves that somewhat, but what does an Englishman know about football?!
John: I'd say in this case the Englishman knows enough to be in the right ballpark. You're right that the Jaguars need to run better – and that likely will involve addressing the offensive line in the offseason. Moving Linder could be an option because he can clearly play guard, but he has played well at center this season. Moving him therefore might not make sense because it's theoretically easier to find guards than centers in free agency or the draft – and if you have a quality center you might as well leave him there. A lot of that decision could depend on who's making the decisions on the personnel and coaching side. If things stay the same, then I can't imagine Linder moving. If not … we'll see.
Biff from Jacksonville:
If Paxton Lynch outplays Blake Bortles Sunday, it's going to be another gut punch from a team with a young quarterback who is supposed to be the future of the franchise. We need this signature win, Dr. O.
John: Ya think?
Bill from Hammock, FL:
Zone, next week is at least the third time this season we have played a team coming off of a bye week or off of a Thursday game. This has to be an advantage by having additional resting, healing and preparation time. Does the league take any of this into consideration or is it luck of the draw?
John: While fans of every team can and usually do find quirks in the schedule that work against their team, remember: the schedule-makers are scheduling for 32 teams and it's a complex process in which not all teams can be treated equally or fairly. More often than not, quirks of the schedule are just that and therefore …. luck of the draw.
Chris from Columbia, SC:
It blows my mind that people are calling for a new general manager when Gus Bradley goes, which still isn't certain in my opinion. Am I wrong here? Dave Caldwell has hit on free agents at a pretty good rate and the most recent draft classes look like they're filled with players that will be big contributors in the future, even if Blake Bortles, Dante Fowler Jr., or Luke Joeckel never pan out. So if Gus is fired do you think Caldwell will be fired too?
John: I believe David Caldwell should be the Jaguars' general manager next season because I believe the talent level has improved significantly under his watch – and because I believe he has done a good job building the roster while maintaining cap room to continue building the roster. As for what will happen on this and other major fronts, the season isn't over yet. As such, I am quite certain Jaguars Owner Shad Khan still has final decisions to make on many things about the organization moving forward. It's quite possible and even likely that the next five games will factor into those decisions.
Mick from Jacksonville:
Every week I watch the Jags games with my friends and they have coined the term Gus Bradley Force Field. This means every time we get close to winning the Gus Bradley Force Field prevents us from winning. While we all like Gus and have always hoped he would do well, seems like there is some validity to this force-field theory. Your thoughts?
John: I think when teams lose a lot, fans engage in gallows humor. While this gallows humor indeed helps ease the pain of loss after loss after loss it's not always based as much in reality as its practitioners believe. But hey … all's fair at 2-9.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
My wife wanted me to stay home and not go to the game and help with Christmas decorations. I did a quick calculation that tells me (and her) that less than one percent of all NFL fans get to go to an NFL game. That also means one fan gets to go and 1.5 million stay home. You went to Episcopal. Do you agree with my math on how lucky I am?
John: My instructors at Episcopal can affirm I was as bad at and as disinterested in math I was in all subjects, and that I unwisely but most definitely (mis)spent most of my time there hanging in the courtyard and thinking I was better at basketball than reality suggested. Still, as far as your strategy: Less Christmas decorations and more football is a wise choice indeed. While it is well-documented that I am a big fan of Krimma … helping with decorations? That's not me. It's not that I don't want to. It's just that my wife trusts me to not mess up the whole process not one iota.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, in your opinion how has Myles Jack progressed this year? Would he be more effective in a 3-4 alignment?
John: Myles Jack appears to be progressing as many NFL rookies progress, and I think he has the capability of taking a very big jump next season. As far as a 3-4 scheme … he may be effective in the formation, but the scheme likely wouldn't solve the Jaguars' dilemma of how to get Jack, Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith all on the field at the same time. Posluszny and Smith likely would play inside in that formation, and it's uncertain if Jack would be a fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4 as opposed to Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr.
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
The Jaguars this year are 2-6 in one-possession games. If the Jaguars want to take the next step, they must close out/finish games. Lions are 7-4, Cowboys are 6-1, Raiders are 7-1. All the top teams each year can finish the games and don't make that one mistake that costs them. So yes, the Jags can win any game as we keep them all close, but just have to finish them!
John: Yep.
Joshua from Jacksonville:
At what point did celebrations after every single play start?
John: Yeah. Fair point. I'm not a fan, either.
Wayde from La Mirada:
Hi, John. Maybe I'm lost here but everyone is talking about re-signing Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Telvin Smith, Blake Bortles... but don't they still have one more year under contract before we have to worry about re-signing in all reality?
John: Robinson, Lee, Smith, Brandon Linder and Aaron Colvin as members of the 2014 Jaguars draft class indeed have one more year remaining on their rookie contracts, so the Jaguars technically don't have to re-sign those players until after the 2017 season. But the Jaguars under NFL rules can extend the contracts of those players following this season – and in the cases of Robinson, Linder, Smith and Lee I believe the Jaguars likely will move to do so this offseason. I imagine they'll wait on Lee and approach him about extending early next season if he continues to progress as he has done this season. Bortles is a different situation because as a first-round selection he signed a four-year contract with the team having the option for a fifth year. That option must be exercised in the coming offseason. Will the Jaguars exercise that option? That will be a major topic in the offeason and I don't get the idea it's certain yet.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
Franchise quarterbacks are becoming exponentially expensive. What if a team took a new approach and decided they weren't going to pay $80 million-plus for a quarterback – that they were going to distribute that money to pay offensive linemen and defenders more than anyone else in the league will (because they are putting such a large percentage of their cap into the quarterback). Then you just draft talented quarterbacks, keep them four years and get rid of them if they want too much money. Build a team that can win with any decent quarterback. Could it actually work? Probably not, but it is an interesting way to think about going against the norm for the league right now, and trying to take advantage of the market for talented non-premium players.
John: It could work in theory, but you're still better off having a franchise quarterback. The odds of consistently winning and contending on a year-in, year-out basis go up exponentially if you have one – which not coincidentally is why they are becoming exponentially expensive.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The Jags lost two blowout games and the rest of the games they should have won. They are not a bad team and Blake is going to be a star. This team is going to be great – just not this year. Go Jags.
John: God Bless Ya, Don. #DTWD

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