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O-Zone: Where are the strong?

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Rob from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

How much do you think RG3's and perhaps Tim Tebow's failures have affected general managers' willingness to draft running quarterbacks in the last few years? I feel like for a bit it was OK to go after the next Michael Vick, Steve McNair or Cam Newton – and then RG3 came along and general wisdom went back to not trusting mobile quarterbacks. Now, something tells me everyone will be willing to try it again. Here is hoping we don't end up with the next RG3 while trying to duplicate what the Deseans are doing.

This seems to me a topic that will get more and more discussed as we move forward, and the early success and injury-based decline of Robert Griffin III sort of defines this issue. Still, I don't know that any specific running quarterback affected general managers' thinking as much as the general trend of running quarterbacks either failing, having careers shortened by injuries or being far less effective after injuries. That remains a concern with mobility-dependent quarterbacks, and it likely always will remain a concern; mobility tends to fade comparatively quickly, leaving the once-mobile quarterback trying to win from the pocket. That can be career-altering and franchise-altering. What will shape the league moving forward is how teams balance this long-term concern with the obvious, ongoing evidence that mobile – even "run-dependent" – quarterbacks can be ultra-effective. The league is changing. Will teams be more open to potentially shorter quarterback careers with shorter windows of opportunity? That may well be the case, and this generation of quarterbacks indeed appears to be forcing the issue.

Bill from Worcester, MA

In your opinion what's the best draft strategy for the Jags? I see a lot of holes. Asking for a friend.

Linemen, linemen, linemen.

Donnie from Jacksonville

We have benched our $88 million quarterback, and put in a "mobile" quarterback because our offensive line can't block. Why haven't we gotten a new offensive line coach? It has been our problem for many years. Without a proper offensive line, it makes the job of quarterback that much more difficult.

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone fired offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and replaced him with George Warhop last offseason.

Eder from St. Augustine, FL

O-Man, why not bench right guard Andrew Norwell?

Because he's better than the backup. That's why all players start.

Paul from Luanda, Angola

No matter who plays quarterback in 2020, they need a new offensive line. The front office has tried to build around a left tackle for 19 years; Eugene Monroe, Luke Joeckel and Cam Robinson all have washed out. Would you draft a left tackle and a center and move Robinson inside and Brandon Linder to right guard? Or draft a left guard/right guard to replace Andrew Norwell and A.J. Cann?

Much would depend on who's available where in the draft. I might consider moving Robinson to guard, but I would hesitate to move Linder from center unless I found one I loved in the draft.

Robert from Chicago, IL

Looking back on Nick Foles' much-derided press conference where he talked about building culture, could it be he was giving us insight into the true state of this team? Fans didn't like hearing it, because I think we all thought we had the talent to "win now" to some degree. Do you think Foles was essentially telling us, the talent isn't even close, and building culture is all we can do for right now?


Bryan from Tampa, FL

John, I know it's early to talk offseason moves, but let's be frank: it's certainly more interesting at this point than our remaining three games. Cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, Linder, Norwell … do you anticipate any of these guys coming back next year? None of them are at an age where you would expect serious decline in performance, yet none of them are exactly playing up to their contracts. I think Norwell is gone, but Linder and Bouye are back. Dareus needs to restructure but out of the four, he seems the most important to the roster if they are trying to contend next year.

I would be surprised if any of the foursome aside from Linder are back.

Chris from St. Augustine, FL

You often defend the front-office choice to not pick Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes because most analysts weren't predicting their success. Well, if all you have to do as a general manager is do what all the "analysts" says are right, then why not hire me? I am can do that. Is it not their job to be smarter than the rest of the league and predict which players will outperform? I think it's fair to say they have not excelled at player evaluation and it is reasonable to question there talent in this area.

I don't defend things. People ask questions and I try to answer as best I can and explain why the Jaguars do the things they do. I also never said it was OK to pass on players because analysts didn't predict their success, though I did point out that many within the league had doubts about the three players you mention. But whatever. Maybe it's all semantics. The Jaguars have lost five consecutive games by 17 or more points and they haven't been competitive in the second half since October. It's fair to question everything.

David from McAlester, OK

So, how did the Patriots build their dynasty? Head Coach Bill Belichick, Brady, the "culture of winning" or the front office? And what about the Peyton Manning Colts? Surely one piece is the most important. Surely the NFL can build other dynasties???

The New England Patriots built their dynasty with a quarterback, Tom Brady. The Indianapolis Colts built theirs with a quarterback, Manning. There are other elements and you must do other things well, but all NFL dynasties start there. The lone exception is the Joe Gibbs Washington Redskins, who won three Super Bowls with three different non-Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Other than that, it's the quarterback. That's first. And don't call me Shirley. Even when discussing dynasties and quarterbacks.

Bryce from Waterloo, IA

One of the main offseason priorities needs to be paying Yan. Once Calais is gone, he will be the leader of this defense. He never gives up on his teammates and the Jags can't let another star leave town. Fill some holes on D, starting with drafting Isaiah Simmons. When the Jags were good on 2017 they had strong LB play from all 3 starters. Put some stud LBs behind Yan and watch him dominate for years.

I agree the Jaguars must figure out a way to keep Yannick Ngakoue. I don't know if that means keeping him as a defensive end or more of a linebacker/pass-rusher role, but he's valuable enough as a pass rusher that they need to keep him. There are enough unknowns about this franchise right now that it's hard to predict what will happen on this front, but it seems that's a must.

Richard from Jacksonville

What is even more depressing about this defense is that four of five of the Jaguars' most recent first-round picks were used on it.

Very fair.

Bill from Jacksonville

John, self-evaluation is arguably the most important kind of evaluation. With that being said, how did the front office and coaching staff look at this roster in the offseason and determine they had a team poised to make a deep playoff run? Aside from some injuries at tight end position, the offense has been healthy, and Foles and Co. have been terrible. So, what exactly were Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell looking at, John?

They were looking at a team that when healthy was good enough to hover around .500, and when you can hover around .500 you can get hot and get into the playoffs. Remember: before defensive tackle Marcell Dareus got hurt, this was a team that was at least passable stopping the run and they were 4-4 with a decent chance to finish .500. Dareus went down and everything else crumbled. That doesn't mean the Jaguars were good when he was playing. It means they were good enough to still be hanging around. Is the fact that the absence of one player had such a dramatic impact a damning comment on the team's depth? Yeah, probably. The depth concerned Marrone in the preseason and he said as much. He was right on that front.

Cabeth from Jacksonville

Does Jaguars owner Shad Khan attend each Jaguars football game?


Biff from Jacksonville

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