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Gotta be able to play

Posted Jan 9, 2013

Let's get to it . . .

Amata from the Marshall Islands:
Caldwell equals . . ? Oman you know the guy, what should we expect?
John: David Caldwell was named the Jaguars’ general manager Tuesday night, so your question is an obvious one: what can fans expect? They can expect someone who’s organized, who’s forward-thinking in terms of combining analytics, statistics and scouting, someone who has worked hard for nearly two decades to attain this opportunity, someone with a postseason pedigree and someone who has been around championship and contending teams much of his career. You can also expect someone who is respected in NFL circles and who has the experience and knowledge to turn the Jaguars into a winner. I have every confidence that Caldwell will make intelligent decisions that make sense and that he will pick players capable of turning the Jaguars into contenders. Now, he’d better find a quarterback.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
What are your thoughts on drafting a guard at No. 2? In most scenarios, that would be far too early, but what if he was the BAP? Would you draft him?
John: I probably wouldn’t, mainly because I subscribe to the school of thought that you only get so many chances at a premium, Top 5 selection and that when you’re there, you need to upgrade the premium positions – i.e., quarterback, left tackle, cornerback, defensive end and defensive tackle. Many personnel types believe that the impact/difference-making ability of even the best guard or, say, safety or middle linebacker, doesn’t merit using a Top 5 selection. Now, Caldwell could believe dramatically differently, but most people in the NFL would generally be resistant to taking a guard so early.
Joey from Middleburg, FL:
How often do established NFL GMs move on to other organizations (without being fired first)? All of the candidates being mentioned for our GM were guys looking to move up. Do you have any idea if any existing GMs expressed an interest in the Jaguars' opening?
John: Unlikely. General managers are under contract. Taking another general manager position would be a lateral move, so the Jaguars and that person couldn’t speak about the position. The candidate in your scenario must quit or be fired before talking to the Jaguars. Otherwise, it would be tampering.
Clif from Gaithersburg, MD:
You said the Seahawks do things in a "first-class way." Do we not do things in a first class way?
John: Yes, the Jaguars do. How does saying the Seahawks do imply otherwise?
Shawn from Honolulu, HI:
Aloha, O-man – it is hard to judge the coaching staff when your roster lacks so much talent that media sources believe college teams could beat you. Mularkey has a lot of really good assistants collected. However, there is no Parcells, Cowher, or Dungy who could win with this roster. Keep the coaches and fix the problem.
John: That’s absolutely an option, and while some observers have speculated that Mike Mularkey and the coaches won’t return next season, if their exits were a done deal the deal would have been done already. We don’t know what Caldwell will do, and until we do, all statuses are on hold. I agree that there are good assistants on this staff, and I would be surprised if some aren’t retained whatever Caldwell’s views on Mularkey.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
Do you think the national title game will affect the draft stock of some of Notre Dame players, in particular T'eo?
John: In some cases, the game may affect the stock somewhat, though in reality not a great deal. In the short-term, you certainly will hear reports about how T’eo’s stock fell, but in the long run one game – even a high-profile game such as that played Monday – only hurts or helps a player’s status so much. By the time the draft rolls around, teams will have studied the entirety of Teo’s career, his pre-draft work and everything else about him and assigned a value. Monday’s game will be a part of it, but if one game is an overriding factor in how any team grades a player that team probably hasn’t done its job.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
I'm fine with a quarterback competition, but Henne deserves to practice with the first team (assuming we acquire no one else at quarterback) for the vast majority of the offseason and preseason. You can’t tell me gaining consistency and chemistry with the first-string offense for the entire season wouldn't have helped Henne succeed down the stretch. Did you see the difference between Oakland and his next game? We were told how Gabbert lacked an offseason and suffered from it last year; this season shouldn't the same be said of Henne?
John: Sure, it would have helped Henne to have worked with the first team. And it would help him this offseason. It would benefit Gabbert, too. At this point, I don’t think anyone has the first clue who will practice with the first team at quarterback this offseason. I expect those first clues to start trickling soon.
Tony from Jacksonville:
It hit me this past weekend how a quarterback makes a difference to a franchise. Washington, Seattle, Denver - years of mediocrity, then, WHAM, playoffs. Every team has to have a franchise quarterback to be successful. Gabbert needs another year to prove whether he's that guy. Look at Drew Brees. In his third season, he had a 57 percent completion rate and threw 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 67. The following year: 65 percent completion percentage, 27 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 104. Different guys mature at different speeds. Gabbert has had anything but a typical start to his career and a weak supporting cast. Give him another year to develop.
John: There is a chance your scenario plays out. We’ve written a lot in recent weeks about the Tebow possibility, and the Henne possibility, perhaps unfairly not thinking much about the Gabbert possibility. Caldwell is unlikely to be sold on Gabbert as the future of the franchise. Not a knock on Gabbert, but he hasn’t shown it yet on the field. Still, if Caldwell doesn’t believe there’s a franchise guy in the draft or in free agency – and if he doesn’t believe Tebow is the option – then perhaps the move is to draft and build the defense, retool the offensive line, letting either Gabbert or Henne compete for the job or giving Gabbert a chance to show he’s the long-term answer next season. In that plan, if Gabbert doesn’t work out you address quarterback the following offseason. That’s not written in stone, because until the general manager determines it, nothing is written in anything resembling stone, but it’s not an absurd scenario.
Phil from Belleville, NJ:
I see a lot of first-round talk, but what about the second round? We have the first pick in that round. That’s almost like two first-round picks with the talent out there. Which guy do you see falling to us in that round? Maybe that tight end from Stanford or even Manti Te'o after that dismal performance versus Alabama?
John: We’re so far from the draft that to speculate on the No. 2 selection is a guessing game, and that’s fine. It’s something we’ll start discussing a lot in a couple of weeks – at the Senior Bowl and after Caldwell has been here a while. Honestly, while speculating on the top of the second round is fun, too, there are so many players in that mix and we’re so far away from the date that to speculate right now is uninformative and pointless.
Don from Orlando, FL:
I am not saying this is the right decision, but if we are going to make the step for Tebow, it has to be "all-in." Trade for Alex Smith, hire a Dan Mullen-type as offensive coordinator and build the offense around the system having two quarterbacks who know the system and can take the inevitable injury to one. You can't be "half pregnant" with Tebow – all or none. You have outlined the concern many have about building around Tebow – the commitment to the cause that it takes to have success with his style of play.
John: There’s a big part of me that agrees with your assessment, that if you’re going to have a chance to make it work you need to commit fully to it. Because many believe it won’t work in the long haul, there is a general resistance to full commitment – or, honestly, to any commitment at all.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Percy Harvin is the most explosive offensive player I have seen in the NFL. I understand he is not happy in Minnesota and is interested in playing elsewhere. Would Jacksonville be an option? He already lives here in town as well as his whole family.
John: Harvin is still under contract with the Vikings. He can be as “interested” as he wants in playing somewhere else, but unless something changes, he’ll play with the Vikings next season or nowhere. Minnesota Head Coach Leslie Frazier said this week he doesn’t see why Harvin wouldn’t be back with the team, so until something changes on that front, I don’t know that there’s much chance he will be playing in Jacksonville or anywhere else next season.
Mark from Yulee, FL:
One of the perks of running a three-four defense is getting access to different players in the draft. Similarly, if the Jags got Tebow and built an offense around his abilities, drafting to fill offensive vacancies would allow for a whole new group of players that the rest of the league wouldn’t want. Do you agree in this strategy?
John: I do if the group of players can play.

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