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O-Zone: Back to what we do

Posted Apr 29, 2013

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .

Matthew from Jacksonville:
I'm sure you will get one or two inquiries but with Tebow released and (presumably) desperate, is it possible we acquire him since we could get him for practically nothing? I don't really see a downside to bringing him on board.
John: David Caldwell covered this thoroughly in January. "Even if he's released." What more can I add?
Casey from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I’m happy with this year's class, but I’m not sure I’m sold on "Lil" Rodgers. Do you think there is any chance Gus will entertain the idea of Vince Young? Secondly, with Tebow getting dropped, do you think Dave and Gus would see potential in bringing him as a fullback? I sure think it would change the dynamic of our offense with all those weapons.
John: I’ll crack my knuckles and go to work on this one. First, Jordan Rodgers isn’t in the draft class. He was a college free agent, so no one’s “sold” on him. He’s going to be in camp, and the Jaguars will see how he develops. At first glance, Matt Scott – the quarterback from Arizona – would seem the better of the two prospects acquired as college free agents, but you know what? That’s what’s great about Head Coach Gus Bradley’s approach. This will all shake out on the field. Regarding Vince Young, “I doubt it,” is probably the nicest answer. I just can’t see it happening. And finally, regarding Tebow . . . I can’t see him with the Jaguars in any form or fashion. While I don’t know Tebow, my impression from afar is that although there might be teams interested in the “fullback” idea, he is not. I get that people want to talk about this, and I get that it's a topic. Shoot, it's even entertaining. My Twitter timeline is a lot more populated and fun on these days. But he's not coming to Jacksonville -- at least not to play for the Jaguars.
Tony from Perry, Arkansas:
Wow, if you had a dollar for every "go get Tebow" comment this morning, I bet you would be a rich man.
John: Yeah, but I'd probably find a way to screw that up, too.
Michael from Wiesbaden, Germany:
O-Man, I just heard that the Jets have waived Tebow, I feel sorry for you today. I hope we DONT sign Tebow.
John: Don't worry.
Dave from Jacksonville and Section 410:
Early on it was Boselli and Brian DeMarco up front, Searcy came along later.
John: Thanks for the help. Boselli and DeMarco started much of the season at left and right tackle in 1995. Searcy was signed in the offseason before the 1996 season.
Greg from Jacksonville:
Great, more of Blaine Henne, I mean Chad Gabbert ... ah, doesn't matter. Seriously, can fans reasonably think that Matt Scott will make a strong push and even come close to starting at quarterback this season?
John: That’s the hope. What I mean by that isn’t that the Jaguars hope Scott beats out Henne or Gabbert, but that he develops into a player who can legitimately push to be an NFL starting quarterback. Is that possible? Sure. Are the percentages and history in his favor? No. But that’s why he was an undrafted rookie free agent and not a first-round selection. He will absolutely get a chance, and this absolutely will be a favorable environment. Once he gets into a minicamp and organized team activities we’ll have a little better idea about his chances.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
What is it that makes Caldwell feel the two free agent quarterbacks can play but the drafted quarterbacks can't? At any rate, we know that Gabbert has proven to fall into the “can't play” category. Anybody is better than what we have had the past two years. Perhaps Denard Robinson can compete. What say you?
John: I say you and the Jaguars’ decision-makers are on different wave lengths. Caldwell didn’t believe that the quarterbacks drafted over the weekend would help the team more than the players the Jaguars opted to select. He also doesn’t believe that Gabbert falls into the “can’t-play” category, and he absolutely doesn’t believe “anybody” is better than what the Jaguars have had the last two years. I say the reality is Gabbert and Henne are competing with Scott and Rodgers, and that when rookie minicamp begins Friday, Scott/Rodgers will have a long way to go to start for the Jaguars. I also say that’s a storyline that will play out over the coming months. If you’re asking who I think will start the season, right now I’d guess Gabbert. If you’re asking me if I think Caldwell/Bradley have that idea set in stone, I’d say, “No.” That’s what the coming months are about.
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
What a draft! I just don't understand why fans can't grasp the concept of "building" through the draft. Some don't understand that the entire roster can't be rebuilt in one draft, or that some positions (quarterback) may improve with improved support positions.
John: That’s probably the biggest misunderstanding I’ve noticed in the aftermath of the draft – that is, a bit of discontent that the Jaguars didn’t address quarterback or pass rusher. David Caldwell and Gus Bradley were very clear in the weeks leading to the draft that the team could not address all needs in one draft. Caldwell has a long-term building plan, and based on history and percentages it is difficult to get impact players at certain positions at certain points of the draft. Generally speaking, elite-level left tackles, pass rushers and quarterbacks are found at the top of the draft. Caldwell took what he believes is an elite-level left tackle in Luke Joeckel at No. 2 and it certainly stands to reason if he is picking early next offseason that pass rusher would be a serious consideration. Quarterback, too, would be considered if it’s still uncertain next offseason. To try to fill those positions in the later rounds this year at the expense of trying to address other areas on the roster would have indicated a short-sightedness and urgency that Caldwell needn’t feel in the first year of the build.
Stan from Jacksonville:
I've never understood the point of drafting a project player. If they want Robinson to play running back, why not just draft a running back who played the position all four years in college? Surely that person would be better than a person trying to change positions and learn from scratch -- sounds like Matt Jones all over again.
John: Matt Jones was selected in the first round; Robinson was selected in the fifth.
Patrick from Dixon, FL:
Do you believe, or has any asked David Caldwell if he would have taken Eric Fisher if Luke Joeckel went number one?
John: He said yes, he would have.
Brian from Staten Island, NY:
With Joeckel and Monroe likely filling both offensive tackle positions, is it time to pull the plug on Cameron Bradfield? He looked good in spurts, but now it seems he may be a reserve now. What do you think happens to him?
John: I’m always amused by people wanting to pull the plug on a player, though in fairness your question doesn’t seem to include the anger many people have toward Bradfield. No, I don’t think it’s necessary to release Bradfield or give up on him. Even with the regime change, the Jaguars have indicated in recent weeks that they like his potential and believe he can develop. He certainly would seem to have a chance to be a reserve and perhaps develop in that role.
Sean from Pawtucket, RI:
I feel like this draft was the best draft in a really long time. I actually feel that we might make the playoffs this year, or is that just me being too hopeful?
John: You’re certainly being hopeful, though I hesitate to say what this team absolutely can’t do. I’ve seen too many teams surprise people in the NFL, and a culture change along with a personnel change has been known to prompt a quick turnaround. Realistically, the playoffs would be a surprise this season. There are a lot of unknowns. I’ve said before, and I’ll continue to say, that’s not really the way the Jaguars are looking at this season. They’re looking to establish a foundation and to show signs of improvement and movement in the right direction. Yes, that’s a bit of a cliché, and yes, that’s repeating what Gus Bradley is talking about as his vision for the organization. But in this case, it’s also the correct way to frame this season.
Sage from Orlando, FL:
WOW, Jaguars sign UDFA Jordan Rodgers, Aaron's brother. Any chance they keep him long-term and develop him, and he turns out a Superstar like his bro?
John: Sure, there’s a chance.
Eric from Boise, ID:
No way drafting two wide receivers (fourth and fifth) is justified when wide receiver isn't even a need.
John: One, Caldwell wasn’t justifying; he was drafting. Two, Denard Robinson (five) is going to play running back. Three, Ace Sanders’ (four) primary role will be punt returner, and the Jaguars believe that is very much a need.
Ryk from Fernandina Beach, FL:
O-Man. Take a day, you deserve it.
John: Appreciated, though no day off – not yet. And let me take this opportunity to credit the staff at jaguars.com, which I typically, egotistically and quite correctly refer to as “my supporting cast.” My mode of operation usually is to hand out compliments only in a back-handed, obnoxious way, and we’ll get back to that in a moment. But the “cast” indeed did great work this weekend – from Videographer Patrick “Let Me in the War Room” Kavanagh to J.P. “Huh? What?” Shadrick to Chris “Southern Rock” Burdett to John “I Love My Coworkers” Cascio to Brandon “Please Let Me in on the Joke” Naidus. I’ve covered 19 drafts and the content on jaguars.com this past weekend ranks with any coverage with which I’ve been involved. With that out of the way, the cast can get back to what they do best, part of which is wondering on a daily basis how they got so fortunate to work with someone like me.

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