MOBILE, Ala. -- Let's get to it . . .
Steve from Jacksonville:
Looking at the end-of-season roster would it be unreasonable to think that there might be as many as 25-to-30 new players by the start of next season with only a core of maybe 8-to-10 players truly "safe?" Sure seems that way on paper.
Sure, that’s possible. I certainly don’t think many players on a 2-14 team are safe under a new staff, but at the same time, I think more players than many expect from last season will remain on the roster. Some, such as Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon
, could be part of the core, and others will remain because you can’t just turn an entire roster over in one offseason.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Could Blaine Gabbert
run the same style offense as an RGIII or Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson? Seems that would actually play to his strengths more so than your typical drop-back pro-style offense since he came from a spread-type offense in college. Not to mention we have a running back who is pretty decent. Let's see ‘em in the 'ole pistol!
John: At first glance, it wouldn’t seem that Gabbert is likely a read-option quarterback. He certainly has athletic ability and can run when necessary, but it doesn’t seem to be the straight-ahead, outrun-defenses speed that RGIII and Kaepernick possess. I just don’t see at this early stage Gabbert being in an offense all that similar to San Francisco or Washington.
Danny from Fernandina Beach, FL:
John, Lags called it last Wednesday when talking about the coach and what the leadership of the team was looking for. He said, ‘He needs to be a leader of men.’ He called it.
John: Indeed he did. A head coach must be a leader and must be able to inspire, organize and motivate. If you talk to people at the Senior Bowl, the general consensus is that Gus Bradley is very much that and that the Jaguars have made a good hire.
Will from Jacksonville:
Isn't it possible that the search for coordinators was quick because no one good wanted the job, so we're stuck with a couple of mediocre coaches?
John: Absolutely!!! It’s also possible that Bob Babich and Jeff Fisch are the greatest coaches in the history of football, and that it would have been better for all who love the sport if the duo had invented the game. Most likely it’s somewhere in between, but you know what? I honestly don’t get it. The Jaguars hired a general manager coveted by another team, and a head coach who was very nearly the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and within a week we’re back to, “Well, no one good wants the job.” That’s fine, but Bradley moved quickly because these were people he knows and believes in. There’s no way to know if they will succeed or fail, but the theory that no one wanted an NFL job remains as it always has been, just sort of silly.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
The funny thing about that Improving Everyday comment from the other day is I am one of the least motivated individuals I know. I keep a $20-a-month gym membership just to punish myself for not going to the gym. I haven't been in over eight months.
John: Welcome. Come in. Sit down. Get comfortable. You are one of us.
Hector from Orange Park, FL:
Is Dave Caldwell planning on bringing in his own college scouts and personnel people or is he using the ones that were in place with Gene Smith?
John: For now, the scouting department hasn’t changed under Caldwell. He has focused thus far on hiring a head coach, and the next step is evaluating the roster with Gus Bradley. Because the scouting process now has begun in earnest with the Senior Bowl, it seems unlikely there will be much turnover, if any, before the draft. That’s usually when scouting departments have turnover. I’d expect Caldwell to bring in a “lieutenant” or two at some point, but as I’ve written several times since Caldwell’s hiring – the Jaguars’ scouting staff is well-respected in the NFL; I’m not necessarily expecting major change.
Tony from Jacksonville:
Do you think Tom Brady is on the decline?
John: No. I think Tom Brady is exactly what he has been for much of the decade – one of the few quarterbacks in the NFL good enough to ensure his team is a contender every regular season. Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers also fall into that category, and to a lesser extent, Drew Brees. I’ve always used that as a measure of an elite quarterback as opposed to success or failure in the postseason. People are now starting to criticize Brady for not winning a Super Bowl in eight seasons. That’s as unfair as it was inaccurate to judge him as the greatest of all time when he won three of four early in his career. Brady consistently has made the Patriots a playoff contender since 2003 (the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2001 and missed in 2002). The Patriots won three of four Super Bowls from 2001-2004 when they had an elite defense. Since 2005, Brady has gotten the Patriots to two more Super Bowls and two more AFC Championship games, but they haven’t been as balanced as before – or in the case of two games against the Giants, they ran into a team playing very well – when won the Super Bowl. To many, that seems to be changing how he is perceived. To me, that makes him what he always has been – a Hall of Fame quarterback who is remarkably similar to Manning and now, Rodgers.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
I've heard a few pundits mention that the linebacking corps at the Senior Bowl is a little lacking as several players opted to not partake. Why would players choose to not take the chance to showcase their talents and raise their draft stock?
John: Good question. Players who skip the Senior Bowl are usually those who are projected in the Top 10 or 15 and therefore only can hurt their stock with a poor performance. Perhaps the linebackers who skipped the game have been advised that the only thing they can do at the game is hurt their stock, but most NFL people favor players who participate. On a related note, there are a lot of people surprised with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith’s decision to skip the game. He’s projected in the bottom half of the first round and a good performance here could have helped. As it stands, now the last tape the NFL has on him is the last half of his senior season, when he struggled after a fast start. He’ll certainly be drafted and get a chance to play, but skipping this week may have hurt him on draft weekend.
Charles from Orange Park, FL:
John, you better start preparing Jag fans for the long haul. This is going to be at least three-to-five-year turnaround with three being the minimum providing they get the "guy" at quarterback. If not, well . . .
John: Thanks, Charles. Pop me your contact info and a general idea of what you do for a living. That way, if I think of any tips or advice about how you can do your job, I can let you know.
April from Pooler, GA:
My husband insists our general manager is going after 'guys with names ending in ch' and I guess it's proven with the Fisch and Babich hires. Is it a given Todd Marinovich will be starting in week one? I like that he has 'Marino' in his name, but isn't he a tad old to lead this team?
John: Good catch by your husband. Bradley was trying to keep this under wraps. I’m waiting for Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong to be hired as the new Director of Stadium Entertainment and Steve Stipanovich to play the post. Charlie Rich can sing some old country songs, and we’ll all have a good old time.
Sid from Jacksonville:
Who ya got? Ravens or 49ers?
John: I got the 49ers. I don’t know if they’re changing the way the game is played or not, but this feels like the beginning of a long run for them.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
If we wanted to send you an appreciation gift (beer), what address should we send it to?
John: Where have you been all my life?
Harry from Jonesboro, AR:
Now that our new head coach comes from Seattle instead of the rumored San Francisco, how outrageous would it be to think about the Jags acquiring Matt Flynn instead of the rumored Alex Smith?
John: It wouldn’t be a shock, but there’s not nearly as strong a connection with Bradley and Flynn as there was San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Smith. Hiring Roman would have made it logical to use the read option, something Smith did last season and this season with the 49ers. Smith played and flourished under Roman in that scheme. Flynn was acquired by Seattle as a free agent last offseason, but didn’t start and Bradley was the defensive coordinator – not the offensive coordinator. It could certainly happen, but it’s far from a no-brainer.