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O-Zone: Functioning offense

Posted Feb 3, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Justin from Orange Park, FL:
So, O-Zone, the No. 1 defense in the NFL beat the No. 1 offense – and it wasn’t close. What happened to the Broncos and their “vaunted” offense?
John: When asked to pick the game last week, I picked the Seahawks to win because I thought Seattle would be able to pressure Peyton Manning with four or five pass rushers. I thought in that way the game might be similar to the Giants’ victories over the Patriots following the 2007 and 2011 seasons. I didn’t remotely expect the game to be so one-sided, but if a defense can pressure a quarterback without blitzing it’s difficult for any quarterback and offense.
Anna from Alexandria, VA:
So, which would you rather have now, O-Zone – a great quarterback or a great defense?
John: Over a 15-year period give me the great quarterback. He’ll give you many, many opportunities to get into the postseason and get to the Super Bowl. Over a one-year or one-game period – if the defense can rush the passer and if it’s complemented by a functional offense – the great defense can get the edge.
Tom from Gruetli Laager, TN:
When I was 19, I watched Darryl Stingley suffer an injury very similar to the one that put me in the hospital bed from which I viewed that Raiders-Patriots preseason game. Since then, every time I'm watching a game of the sport I love and see a player on a cart with his neck in a brace I regret every time I've cheered a vicious hit. Ancient gladiators fought to the death. That's not entertainment. How 'bout one fer humanity?
John: You got it.
Sonny from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I hope I do not sound dumb for asking this, but with all of the eliminate-the-extra-point talk, why are there not kickers who do it all? I mean extra points, punts, kickoffs, etc. Is it technique? Just seems like it would make them more valuable. Although I feel the kicker is a very important player also.
John: There are kickers who do extra points, field goals and kickoffs, but none in the NFL who also handle punts. There hasn’t been a kicker/punter at the professional level for a long time. It’s a very different leg motion, and finding someone who is among the best 32 in the world at both is very difficult.
Steef from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
What happened to last years' new rule against the running back using his head as a weapon against defensive players? It was supposed to ruin the game. I never saw it called once.#gladiators.
John: It was called a few times. As with many feared rule changes, its impact was minimal and the ado surrounding it was of the much-about-nothing-nature.
Justin from Jacksonville:
In who's reality is Andre Reed a better receiver than Tim Brown?
John: I didn’t have a huge problem with Reed going in over Brown. Reed was very, very good. I question whether Reed should be in over Marvin Harrison and I question whether Aeneas Williams should be in over either. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I guess.
Alex from Jacksonville:
John, every year after the Hall of Fame inductees are announced, many have their opinions on who was snubbed but what's the deal with Charles Haley not being inducted? After a career with 100-plus sacks and being arguably the best defensive player on five championship teams in the 80's and 90's. What gives?
John: I never have quite grasped why Haley doesn’t get more consideration for the Hall of Fame, either. He never was perceived as the dominant pass rusher of his era, and he played in an era when Reggie White played, too. That may have hurt the perception a bit. But he was a key figure on very, very good championship teams – and some great ones – and without him, those teams probably don’t win as many Super Bowls. I don’t know that he ought to be a lock, but it wouldn’t be a fiasco if he was in, either.
Jonathan from Orange Park, FL:
Good morning, Johnny O! In response to Brian from Ponte Vedra, FL in regards to free agency. He probably wasn't here rooting for the Jags when they get sucked into free agency during Coughlin's tenure here. They started signing big-name free agents that almost left this organization into a very deep hole. If it wasn't for Houston Texas, we wouldn't be able to even sign our own and on top of that we had to let go some of our players such as Tony Boselli to Houston. I bet everyone knows what I'm talking about besides Brian. Free agency is not the best way to form your foundation.
John: No doubt. The Jaguars’ approach in the 1990s was a bit of an outlier and shouldn’t be used as a reason to never pursue a free agency, but it certainly showed the dangers of trying to build the foundation that way. It was a cautionary tale many teams have heeded. But I wouldn’t worry much about this topic if I’m a Jaguars fan. David Caldwell has shown no signs of overdoing free agency.
Charles from Bangalore, IN:
You have mentioned several times if we draft a quarterback in the first round he needs to start right away. As it looks like Henne most likely will stay, I would have thought there would be some mentoring, at least in the first four games of the season. I think Henne earned the backup position with the Jags moving forward, but we should probably give him props for being a bit more than that. He is in that dependable journeyman quarterback group where he can start when needed and while his performance might not be stellar, he will get you through the game with a chance to win. So if we take a quarterback first, and Henne is still here, would you still start the rookie day one, and why? Thanks.
John: My reasoning regarding the potential first-round quarterback isn’t that he “needs” to start right away – only that he probably would because Top 10 quarterbacks typically wind up starting immediately. There usually just isn’t much reason to not start them. As far as Henne, yes, he is a good fit if the Jaguars would go the route of waiting an early-drafted quarterback to sit for a while. He has shown is capable of a bit more than that, but that’s a role he can fill.
Christian from Orlando, FL:
Isn't Goodell kind of saving football by bringing about rules to ensure families continue to let their children play this intense and grueling sport? And isn't it still exciting to see a safety bounce off a receiver and watch a 15-yard completion turn into a game-changing touchdown, all because the safety couldn't level him in the air? Sorry, I'm just venting.
John: Yes, that’s what Goodell and the rulesmakers are trying to do. Now, is every step they are taking perfect? Does every rule have the desired effect with a seamless transition? No. That’s not the way life works. And as I’ve said often, I think the move to a safer game will have some ebbs and flows before a balance is found. It’s possible that even when that balance is found some won’t like it. Actually, it’s almost certain some won’t like it. But they’ll keep working toward it and the guess here is they’ll find something that’s palpable and still a pretty decent product.
Cleon from Palatka, FL:
Here is a No for Henne and MJD. Neither one of these players will make us better in the long run. Time to draft a quarterbackand running back in this draft and turn it over to them.
John: One not fer Henne or MJD.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Talking about a topic ad nauseam won’t help, but even with all your knowledge I humbly think I can shine some light on something for you. The Alualu Issue. This man was drafted in the first round 2010 ahead of a bit of a local celebrity. Alualu was destined to feel the wrath of the local "fans." Does it matter that the local celebrity is out of the league and a punch line on late-night shows? No, it does not. Alualu has started in more games, been a beneficial factor on a defense with needs and been a great citizen. However he doesn't have a pose or write under his eyes. He went to school in (gasp) California and is from Hawaii. Many people in Florida don't consider them states. They can all find Gainesville, though.
John: Now, now, now … that just wasn’t nice.
Cody from Jacksonville:
How many folks are OK with the Jaguars drafting defense in the first few rounds now instead of a quarterback?
John: A few more people, perhaps, but however dominant your defense you still better be able to function on offense – and toward that end, you still need a quarterback.

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