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O-Zone: Critical question

Posted Apr 22, 2013

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

Shaun from Gainesville, FL:
I thought in the scheduling formula we alternate home and away with non-divisional opponents. If so, since we played in Oakland last year, why are we playing at Oakland again this year?
John: The conspiracy theorists among us would say, “Because the NFL hates Jacksonville,” and “because all of the stars are always aligned against the Jaguars.” Not so. The Jaguars played the Raiders last year as one of two games in which teams play conference teams outside their division based on the records of the two teams. This season, all AFC South and all AFC West teams play one another. It so happens that the way the schedule rotates the AFC South slot travels to the AFC West spot occupied by the Raiders this season.
Daniel from Gainesville, FL:
Question. Camaro, Mustang or Challenger?
John: Answer. Pinto.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I appreciate Aaron's enthusiasm about us starting the year 2-0 against Oakland and Kansas City. However, let us not forget the old cliché about games being played on the field not on paper. I'm sure Coach Bradley won't let his players assume anything.
John: Well, of *course* he won’t, Otto. Let Aaron be excited. It’s April and the schedule just came out. Fans are supposed to be excited, and they’re supposed to go through and circle “Ws” and “Ls,” and coaches are supposed to say, “We’ll play them one at a time.” The Jaguars were 2-14 last season, so no one’s assuming anything about next season. But more to the point, Bradley is starting a new approach/culture, so anything that happened in the past doesn’t matter. And as far as Bradley is concerned, the future doesn’t matter. He has said and will say often that all that matters is getting better today, and then doing it again the next day. Considering that’s the approach, you can rest easy knowing that no one will assume anything around the Jaguars, particularly not when it comes to regular-season games.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
I am almost 46. By my calculations that means you and I are about the same age, and both in Jacksonville in or around 1985. The only other thing I can say on that is, “No Cheetos for me, either, but if you've got Fritos, then . . . I'm All In.”
John: I’m a little weirded out right now – and I’m changing my locks.
Amata from Marshall Islands:
It's 4th-and-goal from the 2. Last play of the game and needing a touchdown to win. Using the players we currently have, would you call a run or a pass? Put the game on Gabbert's hand or MJD's shoulder?
John: Amata, you’re about to get one of those answers people hate because people will think I’m avoiding the question. But you can’t answer your question without other information. Is the defense in a scheme stacked to stop the run? Or pass? Is the offensive line struggling to block in short yardage? Is the defense better against the run or pass? Historically, I would have taken Maurice Jones-Drew because the Jaguars’ offensive line and Jones-Drew have been a very good running combination. That combination hasn’t been quite as effective in recent seasons in short yardage, even before Jones-Drew was hurt last season. At the same time, the passing offense hasn’t always been great in short yardage in recent seasons, either. Let’s go with Jones-Drew on this one, simply because his status as a three-time Pro Bowl and reliable player for a long period of time merits that, but it’s not a no-brainer.
Max from Jupiter, FL:
John, I hated the new logo at first, and now I'm more than fine with it. But as for the uniform, rumors I'm hearing are the helmet will be two-toned??? The helmets as they are now are awesome – the best in the league with the teal tint when light is shining on it. The numbering looks great on new uni's as well as the black jerseys. I like every change except for helmets. I can't repeat this enough to those who want to make GOLD the main color; the teal is what sets us apart from the other teams! Making black and gold the main colors would take away from the Jaguars, especially with the move away from teal jerseys.
John: The new uniforms are cool. I like them. The new helmets are cool. I like them, too.
Richard from Clinton, Ontario, Canada:
Brandon from Salt Lake asked a route-running question. You "dodged" it. I know you are a funny guy, but I was really looking forward to the answer. So, what was Brandon missing?
John: Yeah, I dodged that one, mostly because I figured someone would point out that I was dodging and I would get a second chance to answer. The question was about route-running, and if it was unusual for a draftable player not to be a great route runner. The answer is not really. Young receivers often enter the NFL deficient in that area, and very often that’s the most difficult thing for a young receiver to learn. Developing as a route runner is often what enables a receiver to improve rapidly between, say, his first and second seasons and second and third seasons.
John from Los Angeles, CA:
Finished with my Oehser cuz he couldn't help me with my mind . . .
John: There’s a big time difference from West Coast to East Coast.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
If the value is in trading the first pick in the second round, then it would make sense to get your quarterback with your first rounder. You would not trade that pick unless you had your quarterback. Or you trade out your first pick! It all depends on who Caldwell and Gus like. I think Geno Smith is better than people think and he is my pick.
John: Don’t completely focus on the quarterback in this draft, especially not in the first two rounds. While there are some who believe the Jaguars must use one of the first two selections on the position, don’t forget that the Jaguars’ selection will depend on David Caldwell’s value board. If he doesn’t consider any of the quarterbacks worth taking in the first two rounds, then it would be a disservice to the team for him to take one. If he doesn’t think anyone available in the draft is a better prospect than Blaine Gabbert, it also would be a disservice to the team for the Jaguars to take one. There has been a lot of assuming about how Caldwell feels about players, but I haven’t heard him express much about individual guys, nor should he. He’ll value players where he sees best, and that may or may not mean going quarterback early.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
I think the last draft talk was a smoke screen for the earlier smoke screen about that true thing that was smoke screened. It's obvious to me that with the second pick of the NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars will select a player or trade the pick to another team. It's so obvious.
John: It’s obvious you’re on to something.
Camron from Orlando, FL:
Landry Jones seems like he might be a good fit for us. He runs a high-tempo offense, has talent, and knows what he is talking about. I'd like to take him in the second, because I don't know if he'd be there by the third, but if he IS there with the 66th pick, should we take him?
John: He does strike you as sort of that ultimate second-day dilemma for the Jaguars. You might be able to wait and get him at No. 66, but if you really like him that’s going to be a loooooong wait from No. 33 until early in the third round. Jones is a guy a lot of football people like, and in a year when many don’t believe there’s a mammoth difference between the quarterbacks projected in the first round to those projected in the third, he’s a guy who could develop into one of the better quarterbacks in the class.
Jamar from Jacksonville:
If you were the GM would you have gotten Percy Harvin?
John: If I were the general manager, I would have gotten fired the first day Shad Khan came to the office and saw me napping with the video on in the background. But, no, I wouldn’t have gone after Harvin. Not at this stage of the building process. The Jaguars are going after young players on whom they can rely to be available for an extended period, and for now, they’re going after a more reasonably priced player. For this stage, Harvin doesn’t fit that.
John from Birmingham, UK:
I'm meeting Tony B on Wednesday at the Union Jax event in London. Thought I'd give you the chance to ask a question for a change (ignoring your other fine articles and interviews!). What would you like me to ask Tony?
John: Why did you eat my snacks?

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