Let's get to it . . .
Alan from Mandarin, FL:
I am again confused and turn to you, O-man. Greg Olson is our new quarterbacks Coach, fine and dandy. But does naming him Assistant Head Coach place him above his nominal boss, the offensive coordinator? And does his being so-named diminish Mel's similar appointment? Enlighten me, please.
John: Titles and roles on a coaching staff can indeed be a confusing issue, but staffs aren't always set up in straightforward pyramid fashion – i.e., head coach, with coordinators at the next "level" and a layer of assistants underneath. While the title of assistant head coach gives a person some administrative duties it doesn't mean the assistant head coach can walk into a coordinator's office, slap the coordinator around and start shredding the game plan while dancing a jig. In Indianapolis, when Tony Dungy was the head coach, Tom Moore was the offensive coordinator and Jim Caldwell was the quarterbacks/assistant head coach. It didn't mean Caldwell was over Moore in offensive meetings. It meant the Colts recognized Caldwell as a potential head coach – he was indeed the Coach in Waiting at the time – and if Dungy was out of the building for some reason, Caldwell might run a practice or a meeting. Still, Moore at the time was unquestionably the top decision-maker when it came to offense. As far as Tucker, having Olson also be an assistant head coach doesn't diminish it. Having two assistant head coaches isn't all that unusual. Really, the assistant head coach thing isn't an overriding issue. A well-functioning staff isn't all that worried about who's over whom, anyway.
A.J. from Duval, FL:
Do you know if Mr. Khan will be adjusting our uniforms or will make an attempt to bring our all black uniforms back?
John: I've gotten a lot of questions on the uniforms. I know it's an important issue for the fans. It's an important issue for Mr. Khan and the Jaguars, too, and a change almost certainly is coming. The question is when. I'm told that it's being heavily explored with Nike and if it can't be done this season there definitely will be something in 2013. As far as specific colors go, that's down the road.
Stephen from Gatlinburg, TN:
With regards to spending to the cap, isn't it about purchasing the best bang for the buck? I don't think we would have called the defensive free agents the Jaguars signed this past year "high profile," but the ones we got addressed issues in several different aspects of the defense – and the price was right.
John: Yes, free agency is about that, but more than anything, it's about targeting players who best fit your team. The best example from this past off-season is Paul Posluszny. When he signed, it prompted little buzz in the national media, and in fact, there were those nationally who thought it a risky move. At the time, there was much more talk about other free agents. Yet, Posluszny – as well as other moves made by the Jaguars during 2011 free agency – fit what the team needed at the time. There was also strong sentiment among fans, remember, to sign cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who was the high-profile superstar free agent. Because the Jaguars didn't go that route, what they did do was largely overlooked nationally. I would expect the same sort of scenarios for the Jaguars in March.
Evan from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Does the head coach have a major impact in player development or is that mainly delegated to the assistant coaches and coordinators?
John: He has a major impact in the sense that he hires the assistants, and therefore decides which people will be working most closely with the players in the development process. How much a head coach directly impacts each individual player often depends on the circumstances, but the head coach influences everything because he chooses the overall direction of the franchise.
Andrew from Section 433:
This is my first time asking a question since you've taken over. How would you describe your first season as Jaguars.com senior writer?
John: By thinking of adjectives, then putting them into a sentence.
Sam from Jacksonville:
Would the recent arrest of Dre Kirkpatrick take him off of Gene's draft board?
John: It's hard to answer specifically, because it's so early in the process, but when it comes to character and how off-field instances affect draft status it's usually not as cut-and-dried as you might think. When it comes to prospects, general managers and scouting departments build a profile based on information from many, many sources. An incident such as Kirkpatrick's arrest certainly becomes part of that profile and it becomes a question that must be answered and addressed, but one incident does not for most teams and general managers necessarily become the definition of that player.
Mark from Beaufort, SC:
There are some big-time wide receiver free agents out this year. Who would be the best fit for the Jaguars?
John: Acknowledging it's still early, most of you know the usual suspects: Wes Welker (age 30, four 1,000-yard seasons), New England; Reggie Wayne (33, seven), Indianapolis; Marques Colston (28, five), New Orleans; DeSean Jackson (25, two), Philadelphia; Dwayne Bowe (27, three), Kansas City; Vincent Jackson (29, three), San Diego; Steve Johnson (25, two), Buffalo; Robert Meacham (27, none), New Orleans; Mario Manningham (25, none), New York Giants; Harry Douglas (27, none), Atlanta. The Patriots almost certainly will re-sign Welker and I see Wayne as the sort of player the Jaguars might pursue with a shorter (three-yearish) contract and slightly lower offer than you might make for a No. 1 receiver in his prime. That gives you the following list of No. 1, "big-name" guys: Colston, DeSean Jackson, Bowe, Vincent Jackson and Johnson. It sounds as if the Chargers are willing to give Vincent Jackson a long-term deal, so my early guess – and bear in mind it's a guess – is the Jaguars will pursue some combination of DeSean Jackson, Bowe, Colston and Johnson. Put my feet the fire and I'd guess Colston and Johnson would be good guesses, but again the operative word is "guess."
Ryan from Jacksonville:
What should we as fans expect from the coming season? Should we expect to see immediate results from the new coaching staff and whatever new acquisitions we get in the offseason, or should we expect this to take some time before we see real results?
John: I think you'll see a more disciplined team, one less prone to mistakes. I also would be very surprised if you don't see a group of wide receivers – be it new players at the position or returning ones – that runs better routes and is more productive than last year's group. I expect you'll see a quarterback showing signs of improvement in terms of completion percentage and pocket presence. As far as immediate impact from new players, I'm usually skeptical about early-season, dramatic impact from skill-position players such as wide receivers because there usually is an adaptation period. But in this case, it would seem the new faces would have a very easy time being a significant improvement over last season's performance.
Mike from Kissimmee, FL:
I promised myself I would not ask you any draft questions, but I am sorry I cannot hold on anymore! Let's say we are at the fifth pick of the draft. Blackmon is still on the board. Is it possible to see the Jaguars trade two spots to pick him up? In my opinion having a young talented receiver like Blackmon growing with Gabbert would be nothing but beneficial to the Jaguars.
John: Anything is possible on Draft Day. The answer to your question could depend on free agency, but the biggest problem with trying to answer the question now is there is a lot to sort through before determining just what wide receivers will be projected on Draft Day. Blackmon looks very good now, but there are weeks – and even months – of evaluation to be done. I try not to project where a player might be chosen based on the heady, headline-driven post-Bowl euphoria. If he indeed is a consensus dead-solid, can't-miss player come April, then I'd feel better about giving up selections to move up to get him.
Dave from Jacksonville (Section 412):
What is the status of Alualu? It was never made clear what his leg injury was. Is surgery scheduled?
John: Alualu has played through an issue in his right knee throughout much of his first two NFL seasons. It has been reported that Alualu has been dealing with cartilage damage. While there have been varying reports about when he sustained the injury, Alualu said after the season there was no specific incident he could recall. I talked to Alualu shortly after the season, before he was scheduled to leave for Hawaii for about a week and a half. He said at that time he did not plan to undergo surgery and that his plan was to strengthen the knee. He said he and the Jaguars would evaluate that process later this off-season.
Robert from Point Grey, FL:
What is the role of "The Big Bos," Tony Boselli with the team? He has no official title with the team I can find, but there he is right beside Shahid Khan at the first big public event. Talk to us about the 320-pound elephant in the middle of the room if you can.
John: Boselli in addition to in my opinion being the best player in franchise history plays a key role with the franchise as Commissioner of Team Teal. Beyond that, he's one of those things that's reliable, generally pleasant to be around and, in fact, always seems to be there – sort of like a golden retriever, except you don't fasten your golden retriever's name to the side of your house in giant, white letters.
Let's get to it . . .
Alan from Mandarin, FL: