Let's get to it . . . Nate from York, PA:
Do you think we should sign an older veteran quarterback short-term just to kind of tutor Gabbert?
John: I'm not a big veteran-tutoring-the-young-quarterback guy. If it happens, it's a bonus, but it's very much a luxury and not a necessity. The Jaguars should hire an offensive coordinator with a dynamic offense that plays to Gabbert's strengths, and they should hire a quarterbacks coach who is not only on the same page as the coordinator, but who can drill home fundamentals on a daily basis. They should hire a wide receivers coach who can get the most out of that position. If, after all of that, there is a veteran quarterback on the roster who can help with Gabbert's development, fine. But the first three are the elements that matter.
Steve from Gatlinburg, TN:
While we don't know the interview questions, I would think that an almost guaranteed question would be, "How would you intend to develop our quarterback?" Do you think that one has a high probability of being asked? Thanks for the extra effort you have put in to keep us fans up to speed.
John: Of course it was, and that essentially has been made public. Shahid Khan was very clearly on several occasions last week that major topics during the head coaching interviews was how Gabbert would be developed and whether the person believed in Gabbert.
Tom from Katy, TX:
How is Gabbert supposed to improve during the off-season in the area most needed - handling pressure and keeping his eyes down field - while having no contact practices?
John: Contact and live action isn't necessarily the only way to improve those areas. My sense is that Gabbert will improve in those areas as his confidence in what is going on around him improves. The more understanding all offensive players get regarding the offensive system – and the more time they have to work together – the more comfortable and confident Gabbert should get.
Frank from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Smoke starting to build that Cowher is in the mix for the head coach job. Not totally opposed, I guess, but wouldn't he be a big ego guy that Shad indicated he didn't want? Also, should I put the dreams of Tony Dungy on the side line of EverBank coaching the Jags out of my head? Man, I'd love to get that guy. Any chance?
John: I wouldn't worry about either one, and I especially wouldn't worry about that smoke you think you see.
Julie from Wahiawa, HI:
So the Falcons gave up a lot of picks to get a wide receiver and then don't even score a touchdown. No question here, just a funny observation.
John: Not to Falcons fans, it isn't. Seriously, what happened to the Falcons wasn't the fault of Julio Jones, but it does speak to the danger of relying on a rookie wide receiver to completely change the dynamic of your offense. It's tough no matter the position to come in and have a major, franchise-changing impact as a rookie and it's rare for it to happen at the receiver position.
Michael from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Let's be realistic. Although Khan is of remarkable character, which certainly aids success, his sense of business is what has prevalently allowed him to invest in the Jags. As an investment, how much time can a man of his intellect and experience give this franchise to be successful? Wouldn't Wall Street be screaming "SELL," especially with a buyer like Los Angeles?
John: If I understand your question correctly, you're making this point: Khan dreamed of owning an NFL team nearly his entire life, got to a station in life where he is financially about to fulfill that dream, then purchased a team and all the while publicly stated his desire to keep the team in Jacksonville – all so he can quickly sell the team for a profit. As I've said before, I make no claim to know Khan on a personal level, but nothing in his actions suggest he bought the Jaguars with the idea of selling the Jaguars. You're taught in Journalism 101 to be wary of ever saying "never," but this is a case in which you're probably safe saying it.
Lee from Jacksonville:
Got my invitation Friday to the "Ready to Rise" fan rally on January 17. Does that date fall in line with a possible introduction to our new head coach?
John: It could, but I don't think that's necessarily the objective.
Nicholas from SOB Salerno, Afghanistan:
If a receiver catches the ball in the air near the sideline and the defender is out of bounds and makes contact with the receiver before the receiver completes the catch, is the receiver also considered out of bounds and therefore an incomplete pass?
John: No. If the receiver comes down in bounds, it is a catch. If not, it's incomplete.
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
And a Sunday O-Zone, too? OK, now you're just showin' off.
Ron from Jacksonville:
Matt Stafford's rookie stats look an awful lot like Blaine Gabbert's. Do you think the Lions made the wrong choice by not canning him and drafting another QB the following season? He did completely blow that game Saturday by not throwing for 400 yards and five touchdowns.
John: Matt Stafford may be the best comparison for those who believe Gabbert has a very real chance to develop into a franchise quarterback. He struggled as a rookie and has had trouble with injuries. Yet, the Lions never remotely lost confidence in him. The Jaguars haven't lost confidence in Gabbert, either, despite many fans feeling differently.
Chuckles from zfcmqltcfMhZnJqdYyO:
What a joy to find such clear thinking. Thanks for posting.
John: This was a spam email that makes it into the O-Zone inbox from time to time, but you know what? When you're right, you're right.
James from West Liberty, KY:
Wake Up, Nap Boy! You really should rethink renaming the O-Zone to the Zzz-Zone. My question Zzz man . . . I mean O-Man, is what do you think is more of a possibility: The Jags drafting a wide receiver in the first round, the Jags signing a big-name, legitimate wide receiver (and I know that really depends on if certain guys are tagged or re-signed), or both?
John: I'd say signing a legitimate No. 1 receiver, mainly because we don't know yet who will available at No.7.
Jesse from Jacksonville:
Where do you draw the line with coaches and their perceived success in regard to our coaching candidates? Are the coaches themselves worthy of a head coaching position because of something they did or is it more having good talent already at their disposal as coordinators? For example, is Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski a good coach because Cam Newton and the Carolina offense have done well or is that more to do with the abilities of Cam Newton? Is our defense improved because of Mel Tucker or is more to do with hitting on good players in free agency? Also, I think a lot of us have lost sight of the purpose of a head coach. I initially thought the job entailed setting a tone in practices and the locker room, assembling a good staff, and managing games but I keep hearing we should get an offensive-minded head coach. Why should that matter? Is that not the role of an offensive coordinator?
John: Your question is admittedly a long one, but it brings up a lot of the major issues a general manager and an owner must navigate when making such a decision. Because there are so many elements involved in a football team, it's often hard to determine if a coordinator or even a head coach is the reason for success or failure. The reality is one person is NEVER responsible for success or failure in the NFL, and that reality makes the process of finding the right people difficult. That's why the process eventually must come down not to picking the coordinator with the highest-ranked offense or defense or the most well-known, popular name, but to Khan and Smith doing the proper diligence, having the right conversations and eventually finding the person they trust most to lead. There's no set formula. If there was, there wouldn't be so many failures.
William from Palm Coast, FL:
Some time ago I suggested that Tim Tebow would play in a Super Bowl before the Jags would make it to the playoffs. You didn't respond to me, of course, and I'm sure you scoffed at me in private. I'd like to repeat the prediction however, just to refresh your memory.
John: I don't see your scenario playing out, impressive as Tebow was on Sunday. As for your email, I don't remember it, but I have been known to fill many private moments with a good scoff.
Sam from Jacksonville:
Dear John, I am a desperate man; I have been banned from the Ozone. But I have come to make a deal with your holiness. Godliness, if you will. If you un-ban me from the Ozone I will be your best friend that you have always wanted. I will be your tamer of trees. I'll tell you that you look like you've lost weight. I'll be the person to say "I love you" when your wife and children have left you. I will be a model of FULL CONSISTENCY. I'll do anything. Whatdoyasay?
John: I am so uncomfortable right now, but thanks, even after the holidays, I'm only up a pound or two.
Of flattery and desperation
Let's get to it . . . Nate from York, PA: