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O-Zone: Wise men say...

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Gary from Wesley Chapel, FL:
Why did Gus hire the offensive line coach before hiring the offensive coordinator? That seems backwards to me. Was that a stipulation that whoever became offensive coordinator would have to accept, or was it just a case of making the public announcement in that order because that is when they each were able to get to Jacksonville and sign the paperwork?
John: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley's objective during the last few weeks has been to hire good coaches who will fit into the staff and what the Jaguars are building. He doubtlessly discussed the idea of Doug Marrone as offensive line coach with Greg Olson and the idea of Olson as offensive coordinator with Marrone. He wouldn't have made the hires if he wasn't confident they would fit well together and if he didn't get the idea they felt the same way.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
Good grief. Of course Bradley and (Jaguars General Manager David) Caldwell know that statistics matter in terms of wins and losses and the key factors that tend to determine those. But when evaluating one's track record and future prospect for success, many times the qualitative traits are more pertinent than the quantitative ones.
John: Your view is perceptive and it deals in logic, facts and reality. Unfortunately, this is January and therefore the beginning of the NFL silly season, and those things aren't welcome right now.
Jamaal from DUVVALLL!!:
Zone! Who do you think would be a good Jag at the Senior Bowl? Who fits the system or scheme? I want names not just an obvious answer.
John: Defensive tackle Carl Davis of Iowa was impressive for the North team, though he is more of a run-stuffer than a three-technique defensive tackle. Tight end Clive Walford of Miami also was impressive for the South team and could fit into the Jaguars' offensive scheme, particularly if they continue to use zone-blocking techniques as extensively as they did the past two seasons.
Kenny from Rochester, NY:
Mr. O, I don't understand why people are questioning the Jaguars going young so much. Think the same people were bashing them when Jerry Porter and Torry Holt weren't the same players they were when they were younger?
John: People are questioning the Jaguars going so young because they went 4-12 in 2013 and 3-13 this past season. When you have those records, people are going to question things you do. As far as people remembering past mistakes and learning from them … well, let's just say people's memories are selective.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
How would Olson's offensive philosophy be described or categorized? Dirk Koetter was known for his screen-play designs, while Mike Mularkey/Bob Bratkowski emphasized pre-snap movement and disguising formations. Also, did Oakland use a zone-blocking scheme last season? Thanks.
John: Olson as much as anything has been known to adapt to the talent of his personnel. He doesn't really arrive in Jacksonville with a defined "label," though he is known for working well with young quarterbacks. So the best answer is that the specifics of the offensive philosophy probably will be determined in the next few months as he, Marrone and Bradley tear apart last season and put together the details of the Jaguars' offensive approach with an eye on gearing it to the Jaguars' personnel. The Raiders used more of a gap- and power-blocking scheme the past two seasons. With Doug Marrone also not known for zone-blocking, what style the Jaguars use next season absolutely is a storyline to watch.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
Being a retired high school coach, I probably have a different view on the Olson hiring than most of your readers. Through the years there have been two types of coaches, at least philosophically: those who have a very rigid line and expect all players to adjust to his scheme, and coaches who take their philosophy and adapt it to the strengths and talents of their personnel. Both have had success. I may be wrong, and you would know better, but I suspect the difference between Fisch and Olson is that very thing.
John: Coaching changes are very rarely made for one single reason, but it seems there was an element of this. I won't say Fisch never adapted to the players, but Bradley clearly believed a different approach was needed and that the Jaguars needed to do something to help the young offense play faster. He also has been pretty clear that adaptability was a big factor in the decision to hire Olson … so yeah, your theory is in the ballpark.
John from Jacksonville:
I've got an idea for the fans who think they know better without having all of the facts and the vision for the upcoming season. Let's wait and see how well the updated coaching staff does in the 2015 season and then comment on the results. Speculating at this point on coaches that were recently hired may result in eating crow (or the whole burrito) in about 12 months.
John: Yeah, but ain't speculating part of the fun?
Cory from Frankfort, NY:
What do you think of Randy Gregory at the Otto position? He played the linebacker spot a decent amount in college – even had a couple picks – plus he's pretty big, which is a requirement if I'm not mistaken. And you must have pass-rush ability. I think he would be great there because I'm assuming they're looking for someone with about Dekoda Watson's build. Gregory might be smaller today, but I think you have said on multiple occasions that from Year 1-2 players begin to get their NFL bodies by hitting the gym … your thoughts?
John: I think Randy Gregory is a possibility for the Jaguars. But I think if they draft Gregory he would probably play the Leo position.
Curious George from Jacksonville:
I am curious as to what your opinion is on Mike Wallace if the rumor he will be released by the Dolphins comes to fruition. The Jags haven't had a legitimate deep threat in ages; Wallace is relatively still young and in his prime. All indications are that the Packers will try hard to resign Cobb. So, would Wallace be someone that Jags would go after, and would he make the kind of big impact in an Olson offense the Jags so desperately need?
John: Mike Wallace is a good player who has been on record about being dissatisfied in the Dolphins' offense. Despite that dissatisfaction, he has managed to be pretty productive, which certainly would make him intriguing if he were to be released. As to what sort of impact he would make, that's impossible to know. Free-agent wide receivers rarely have the impact people expect. There are exceptions, but it's rare.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
Three more wins and everyone here would be singing the praises of the Jaguars. A six-win season would have had us right on track with a new quarterback, developing players, great stadium, developing and good-looking Senior Writer, blah, blah, blah. And … there were three winnable games that we just didn't get and it makes a huge difference. Imagine the change in tone those three wins would have made...
John: There's truth in that, but it's also true that there were games the Jaguars won this season that they could have lost. Look, the Jaguars were better this season than last season. They didn't win as many games as last season, and they weren't good enough, but they were better. Still, the past two seasons haven't gone dramatically different than Caldwell or a lot of other people who understood the Jaguars' situation expected. People running this organization expect improvement next year in terms of victories. Caldwell is one of those people. But even if that happens, I don't expect many people to talk about the good-looking senior writer.
David from Jacksonville:
O-Man, what's up with the playbook? Will Greg Olson bring in his, or will the staff be putting together a new playbook designed for our players?
John: Olson certainly has his base philosophies, but to listen to Bradley tell it last week, the exact details of the offensive approach and playbook next season is going to come together in the coming weeks and months based on the personnel.
Kyle from Orange Park, FL:
'Zone, what's the status of Luke Butkus? Is he still on the Jags' coaching staff?
John: Yes. Butkus was the interim offensive line coach this past season as George Yarno was absent fighting cancer; I would expect him to be the assistant offensive line coach under Doug Marrone this season.
David from Jacksonville:
Man, these people don't have a clue as to what the rules are. Everyone knows each team uses their own set of footballs on offense and they use a different ball to kick. Duhh!
John: People who know you must feel fortunate to know someone with your knowledge base. If they don't realize how fortunate they are, I'm sure you let them know.

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