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O-Zone: Don't assume anything

Posted Apr 4, 2013

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

Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Still no O-Zone response to the Jags not jumping all over Matt Flynn for a five? They have a ton of cap space, and would've had until the season opener before having to guarantee a salary for whoever won a spot between Flynn and Henne. Gabbert, a second-round quarterback, and the winner between Flynn and Henne would've provided incredible competition, much more so than any quarterback they can get in the fifth round. Did the Jags drop the ball on this? Did Flynn not want to play in Jacksonville? Or, do Gus and Dave truly believe he doesn't have the skills to beat out either Blaine or Chad? Inquiring minds want to know!
John: I had pretty much addressed this when Flynn first came available for trade. At first, it appeared a good match, mostly because Bradley had been around Flynn in Seattle. Then, it became known that the team had explored the option of trading for Flynn before deciding not to go in that direction. Because the trade did not happen, we can assume that, yes, a fifth was deemed too high for Flynn. Further, it should be pretty obvious by now – considering Gus Bradley has spent extensive time personally with Matt Barkley, Geno Smith, E.J. Manuel, Mike Glennon and probably a quarterback or two not yet named – that the Jaguars are looking pretty seriously at drafting the position. Remember, Flynn is a hot name, but he has played sparingly in the NFL and was a seventh-round selection. There’s really not that much to indicate that he’s significantly better than the other quarterbacks on the roster. He may prove otherwise, but that remains to be seen.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
In your interview with MJD he said he would not be participating in the veteran camp. This happened last year also because of his contract dispute. I don't get this. We are rebuilding our team, culture and structure (again). I completely get it if he can't physically participate but don't the team veterans need to be there to learn the new system? I know if I blow off a meeting I get fired or at least get in trouble. It confuses me why the players are allowed to opt out of these important activities since it would seem necessary for building a cohesive unit.
John: Let’s set this straight before it gets out of hand: Jones-Drew is not able to physically participate in the veteran minicamp. He will, however, attended it and be in meetings. Yes, he missed last offseason because of a contract dispute, and however you feel about that, it’s not fair to criticize him for what he has done this offseason. He arrived in Jacksonville well before the offseason program began Tuesday and has spoken with Gus Bradley on multiple occasions. There has been nothing to indicate that Jones-Drew is anything but focused and enthusiastic about preparing for the season, and anything written otherwise is incorrect.
Michael from Kentwood, MI:
If you suspect that our starting right tackle isn't yet on the roster and could be a draft selection, what round is the lowest you believe we could get a quality starting right tackle?
John: There isn’t a hard, fast answer to your question. If you want a guy who can come in and be very, very good right away, the odds are you would need to take him in the first three or four rounds. If you want a guy who could develop over time, maybe the next two or three. If you want to gamble, then maybe you can get a guy in collegiate free agency. That’s all based on history and common perception. I’ve seen too many instances of players playing better than expected, more quickly than expected, to say there’s no way you can get a quality right tackle late in the draft. A guy like that would defy the odds, but that’s what scouting and finding players to fit what you want to do are about.
April from Pooler, GA:
This is an NFL football team and NOT a North Dakota State alumni party. Matt Veldman has to earn a spot like everybody else! No Bison bias! This just had to be said at some point! . . . I think . . . well, maybe not . . . oh never mind, no need to post this.
John: Thank you, April, for that little glimpse into your soul.
Ryan from Leesburg, VA:
Is there any word as to whether or not the OTA/camp practices for April 16-18 will be open to the public? I'd love to make a trip to Jacksonville if they are?
John: They are not open.
Renay from Macclenny, FL:
I heard that the Jaguars’ training room was being redone. I thought that happened last year. Or was that just the locker room?
John: That was just the locker room. Phase 2, which includes major renovations to the training room, is taking place this offseason.
Rodney from Atlanta, GA:
I think a lot of people actually forgot or don't understand what it means to look for and try and get players that "fit the scheme" – unlike in the past where we drafted a pass-catching tight end in the first round, spent three years turning him into a "great" blocking tight end and then spent the next few years complaining about how he drops passes. Gus and David are actually looking for guys that fit their system. I find that refreshing because we haven't had that in a long, long time. Am I wrong on this one?
John: You’re probably not wrong, though you may be a bit overzealous. If so, great; you can never have too much zeal, I say. Caldwell and Bradley are certainly looking for players who fit the system, though they also are capable of tweaking things to fit a player’s talent. As for Marcedes Lewis, to whom you so subtly refer, I don’t know all of the ins and outs and complaints, etc. I know he hasn’t been as productive as he’d like the last couple of years, and I know Caldwell likes a lot about Lewis, so this could be an interesting year for Lewis bashers and fans alike.
Mark from Wichita, KS:
Hey Johnny-O, can I get a shout out for my alma mater, Wichita State? I'm a displaced Jags fan and haven't had a lot to be cheerful about in the world of sports. Can you give my Shocks some love?
John: SHOCKERS!
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
What teams do you see us competing with for the 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick?
John: Nice try, but I’m on record saying I don’t believe the Jaguars will have the worst record in the NFL next season and I still believe that. Now, it’s true that I said at this time last season that I thought the Jaguars would be better than 2-14. And it has been pointed out more than once in the inbox recently that many of us – including me – who cover the team locally were saying many of the same things last year about Mike Mularkey as we are saying now about Gus Bradley. Again, guilty as charged. I did believe things were going in the right direction last offseason, and you know what? A lot of players and other people observing the team did, too. A lot went wrong last season and as it turned out, a lot needed to be changed. This team may not be the most talented in the NFL next season, but I believe it will play hard and with energy all season and that should keep it out of the No. 1 overall selection – and then some.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
After going 2-14 last year, I for one am glad for the changes. My concern continues to be right tackle. I understand that bringing in one of the top free-agent tackles available would have been expensive and risky. With so many needs, I would have liked to have gotten a veteran right tackle, but you don't always get what you want. As long as the Jaguars draft a good right tackle, I'm okay.
John: Noted, and while this doesn’t answer your question, here’s how to think about the right tackle position: remember what the Jaguars have done at defensive tackle this offseason. First, they let Terrance Knighton sign with Denver, then they signed Roy Miller as a free agent. They then released C.J. Mosley and signed Sen’Derrick Marks. Each time they replaced a player with concerns (Knighton/consistency and Mosley/age) with a player who fit their profile of being young, on a short contract and still experienced enough to compete and perhaps lead on a young team. There was a tendency early in free agency for people to assume because the Jaguars hadn’t done “X” or “Y” after a week that nothing was going to happen. It wasn’t true at defensive tackle and I don’t see that being the case at right tackle, either.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
So exactly how long did that first meeting last Tuesday?
John: Forty-five minutes.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
With Caldwell saying he has narrowed the options for the second pick to six guys, should we assume that any player they bring in or visit from here on out to be one of those six? I know there's still a while to go until the draft, but it doesn't make sense to make a statement like that and waste time on guys you know you're not going to draft. Unless of course, you're just putting up a smoke screen.
John: It’s April 4. The draft is 21 days away. This is no time to assume anything.

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