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O-Zone: Wonderful problem

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jerell from Columbia, SC:
So, after one good game everyone believes the quarterback is on the roster for 2017? Please don't fall for it. That's exactly what happened in 2015 and got the Jags in this mess in 2016.
John: There unquestionably has been renewed enthusiasm around Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles this week. It's not head-over-heels stuff, but it is hope. That's to be expected – because he looked very good Saturday against Tennessee, and because a player's most recent performance is the most fresh in our memory. The reality, though, is Bortles likely is the Jaguars' starting quarterback to start next season. That has almost nothing to do with how he played against Tennessee and everything to do with it being difficult to find better options in the offseason. It's easy to say, "Ditch Bortles and find someone else." It's more difficult to find a better option at a price that makes it reasonable to pursue him. It's not written in stone that Bortles starts next season's opener, but the odds? They're pretty good.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
Hi, John. I would like to take a page from your book and guarantee that the Jaguars do not lose to the Colts in 2016. Do you agree?
John: Good call.
Kyle from Oshkosh, WI:
Is there any way you see us keeping Doug Marrone as the offensive line coach and bringing in a new head coach?
John: You learn quickly when covering the NFL to never say "never," because weird things happen when teams hire coaches and put together staffs. But if the Jaguars' next head coach is not Doug Marrone, it seems likely that the new head coach likely will install a new offensive staff. It would be unlikely that Marrone is retained in that scenario. Also, don't rule out Marrone being a head coach somewhere next season. If it's not in Jacksonville, it's hardly unreasonable that it would be somewhere else.
Igor from Jacksonville:
I completely agree with you about us not regretting the Jalen Ramsey pick at No. 5 – and even before the draft, I hoped that the Cowboys would select Ezekiel Elliott so that we would have the chance to get Ramsey. I screamed for joy when Ramsey was available for selection. But this draft has no Ramsey ... Jalen Ramsey was talked about being the No. 1 overall pick last draft. Now, if it was a Myles Garrett versus a running back I get your point.
John: My thoughts about not selecting a running back in the Top 5 or 10 have nothing to do with Myles Garrett and they don't really have all that much to do with Ezekiel Elliott – or Dalvin Cook, or Leonard Fournette, or any particular running back for that matter. They have everything to do with running back generally not being a position of value when selecting so early; it's simply not usually enough of an impact position. Consider Dallas this season. The Cowboys ranked eighth in the NFL in rushing last season and second in the NFL this season, so while Elliott indeed has had an impact, it's probably not the difference between 3-12 and 13-2. Cowboys quarterbacks threw 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions last season compared to 24 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. It's probably safe to conclude better quarterback play had more to do with Dallas' success this season than better running back play. That's not a knock on Elliott as a player, but it does speak in part to why many believe running back isn't a position you take early in the draft.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I hear Blake and the other players refer to Coach Bradley as "Gus" or Coach Hackett as "Nathaniel" in interviews. … I can't ever imagine Tom Brady referring to Coach Belichick as "Bill." It feels like the relationship has been too buddy-buddy around here and there isn't enough respect or accountability. When those days end, I think the losing has a good chance to end, too.
John: This doesn't bother me either way. I don't consider it a thing.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
Despite the miserable year we all agree has occurred, the Jaguars have a chance to get to .500 in the division – as well as to not only sweep the Colts, but to also make it three in a row. Those are reasons enough to make this game fun! Do you agree?
John: Sure.
Chris from Houston, TX:
With both Poz and Smith seemingly entrenched at middle and weak-side linebacker respectively, and Cyprien likely leaving through free agency, any chance that we see Jack transition to strong safety full time? As evidenced by him chasing down Lamar Miller from behind earlier in the season, Jack appears plenty fast and he was great in coverage in college. Seems to make a lot of sense to me.
John: I don't know if it's accurate to say Johnathan Cyprien is "likely" to leave in free agency. He hasn't been spectacular this season, but he has played better in a more defined, in-the-box role – and it wouldn't be a ridiculous move to re-sign him. He's not great in coverage, but that doesn't make him unique among NFL strong safeties. What will happen on that front? I have no idea, and no one else does until more is known about the head-coaching situation. That's even more true of Myles Jack's future role. We can speculate all we want, and the idea of him or Telvin Smith playing safety isn't absurd. And there's no question Myles Jack will be on the field in more of a full-time role next season somehow, some way. In what capacity? In what role? We'll start getting a better feel for that once the new head coach is hired, though not before.
Tim from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Marqise Lee throws a 20-yard touchdown pass and it's a national footnote. Dez Bryant throws a 10-yard touchdown and it is lauded as the greatest thing since sliced bread. A winning record isn't everything; it's the only thing.
John: Are we surprised that a 13-2 team gets more notice than a 3-12 team? Is this news?
Galen from Colorado Springs, CO:
I've been seeing a lot about trying to get Jimmy Garoppolo for a first- and fourth-round selection, and I think that is downright stupid. There's another team in our division that just splurged $72 million on a backup who played a couple of decent games in relief of a superstar. He is already an expensive benchwarmer. I don't think we should be so eager to run away from Blake Bortles.
John: I would be very, very surprised if the Jaguars trade for Garropolo. I would be less surprised if the Jaguars hired Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as head coach, but that's the only way I see it happening.
J.T. from Jacksonville:
"Terrible city for an NFL Franchise." Pretty sure a throat punch would come Trent Dilfer's way if I ever see him. Plus, he called Blake Bortles the worst quarterback in the NFL. Dilfer was absolutely terrible as a quarterback and only got a Super Bowl because he had the best defense maybe in league history.
John: I like Dilfer as an ESPN analyst, and though I liked him more before his shouting on Dilfer's Dimes reached deafening levels, we live in an age in which Louder is Better in sports television and radio, so I understand and tolerate the yelling. And while Dilfer wasn't a great quarterback, that has nothing to do with his ability as an analyst – and while it's also true that he was harsh regarding Bortles, his analysis in this case hardly was without merit. As far as Dilfer saying Jacksonville is a terrible city for an NFL franchise … again, he's entitled to his opinion. Just because it's incorrect, ill-informed, irrelevant and not really all that interesting doesn't mean there's anything wrong with him voicing it.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Jalen Ramsey just isn't all that great at playing the ball while it's in the air. He may be late getting his head turned around sometimes, but not so late that he doesn't have time to break up the pass. Or, he might flail a bit at the ball instead of snatching it out of the air. Maybe he's just playing the receiver more than the ball, which is probably what he is supposed to be doing. If the last two weeks are any indication, I don't think it's going to be a "problem" we have to worry about.
John: Jalen Ramsey has made more impact, memorable plays this season than I ever have seen a rookie cornerback make, and he has done so with remarkably few harmful "rookie moments." He has made more impact plays in each of the last two games than many, many good cornerbacks make in an entire season. It's fine if people want to pick apart the fact that he has dropped a few interceptions, but Ramsey is a high-level rookie who is on his way to being a player any team in the NFL would want on its roster. Oh, for the rest of the Jaguars' roster to be so flawed.

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