Let’s get to it...
Eric from Jacksonville:
John, any truth to the rumor that the Jaguars are interested in Matt Flynn?
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Tuesday that the Jaguars are one of three teams interested in trading for the Seahawks’ backup quarterback, and it’s a move that makes some sense. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley was with Flynn in Seattle, and General Manager David Caldwell has said there will be competition at the quarterback position with that competition likely involving Blaine Gabbert
and/or a free agent or rookie. If Flynn is available at the right price, the move would make sense.
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
In your opinion, do you see Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon
as the next Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell? I mean, Shorts is the burner just like Smith and Blackmon seems to be the elusive, run-after-the-catch type of guy like McCardell.
John: There are some similarities, and I am on record saying I believe wide receiver to be a solid area that can grow into a productive position because of the presence of Shorts and Blackmon. At the same time, caution must be the watchword when comparing Shorts/Blackmon to Smith/McCardell. Smith was indeed a burner, but he was also a receiver of rare strength and size who over a seven- or eight-year period was at times uncoverable. Although he seems unlikely to make the Hall of Fame, he was a Hall of Fame talent who would certainly be worthy of induction. McCardell was strikingly productive for a strikingly long period of time, and finished his career as one of the most productive players in the history of the position. I offer these thoughts on McCardell/Smith not with the idea of waxing poetic on their careers, but to put into perspective just how much better Blackmon and Shorts have to get to be as a tandem and individually close to the level of the two best receivers in team history.
Jon from Sanford, FL:
Hey John, I was curious on your evaluation of Will Rackley
from last season and what you'd expect out of him in the 2013 season. Is the guard position an issue?
John: Will Rackley spent last season on injured reserve. I expect him to compete for the starting left guard position, and while he struggled at times as a rookie he was a good enough prospect that I expect him to win that position. If he plays well, the Jaguars could have a decent starting guard combination. I would say the guard situation is the same as most of the offensive line. Whether it be because of the change in offense coaching staff – or simply individuals playing better – that area must improve. My thought is improvement might come because of both factors.
Tommy from Section 101:
Considering your desire to look good in front of Khan...How important is the Work/Nap relationship in finding success for the long term?
Jared from Jacksonville:
John, I have been looking into the 2014-2016 drafts to see what quarterbacks might be a good pick for us. I have failed to see any elite quarterbacks that at this point and time stand out other than Manziel. So if we don't draft Barkley or Smith and keep Gabbert, do you think we will have to hit the free-agent market to find a franchise quarterbacks in the near future if things don't work out with Gabbert (this question is based on the way things are now)?
John: I’ll be honest. I’m not smart enough to know who the best quarterback will be in the 2016 draft. It may well be that not a single quarterback currently playing college football is either now or will ever be capable of winning an NFL postseason game. It’s a stretch, I admit, but considering your extensive scouting background, if that’s how you’re seeing it, I’ll take your word for it.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Recognizing the rules prohibiting players and coaches from discussing football this time of year, one can only assume both Poz and Gus are clairvoyant. If Poz agrees with Gus's plan without even hearing it to know what that plan is, and Gus can hear the passion for the game in Poz's voice without actually discussing football, the readers are hoping you will ask them to tap in to their psychic gifts to offer up a final record and breakdown of the Jags' season to come.
John: Clever. Posluszny has heard the plan, and he and Gus have talked. You can have introductory meetings with players, and you tell them your general beliefs on topics such as building through the draft, stressing competition and having an environment in which everyone has to get better and earn positions every day. What you can’t do is talk specifics of game plans, coaching, techniques, etc. I get the joke, but you don’t have to be a psychic to have an idea of what Bradley’s approach is about.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I agree with your stance on signing FA like Urlacher and other seasoned vets. It seems many teams agree with that mentality. There are more veteran free agents on the market than usual. Does this trend perhaps mean some careers might be ended sooner than in the past? The high pay/high risk approach appears to be fading away and thus guys like Urlacher might be riding into the sunset earlier than before.
John: I don’t know that it’s going to impact the length of careers of players such as Urlacher. If he’s willing to play for drastically reduced pay, I imagine there still will be teams willing to have an aging, future Hall of Fame player on the roster. The “trend” of which you speak stems from a flat cap that is forcing more teams to go with younger players at the expense of more expensive veterans. That could change when the cap goes up in a couple of years, but for now, yes, the careers of a lot of lesser-known veterans could be significantly shorter.
Patrick from Orange Park, FL:
With all the new rule changes, I'd be happy if they just enforce existing rules, like face mask on the offensive player. Nearly every running back several times a game will stiff arm the defender by grabbing the face mask and shoving his head back. Why doesn't the ball carrier ever get called for face mask?
John: You’re exaggerating a bit when you say every running back does it several times a game, but you’re point is taken that it’s a penalty that sometimes get missed. I’ve thought the same thing for a long time about defensive linemen – ends, particularly – lining up offside. It always seems to me a lot of ends get away with being a hand or two over the line an awful lot. I actually have thought the officials have been a bit more diligent in recent years on calling running backs for facemasking, but I don’t watch every game, and I certainly wouldn’t say they catch them all.
Kevin from Richland, WA:
You have the patience of Job. I marvel at the way you can answer the same question day after day after day after day without ever just writing "asked and answered...move on" or "Tebow...hell no," "Free agents...hell no, " "Draft good players and put them in the bank for the future...hell yes!" Great work in the OZone!
John: I could do that, but that’s really not fair – and I wouldn’t be so presumptive as to think every reader reads the O-Zone every day. On the one hand, I see the point when people say, “Why on earth wouldn’t someone read the wit, wisdom and insight of this man on a daily basis?” and I agree wholeheartedly with those who march to the edict that “There’s no such thing as too much John Oehser,” but at the same time, there are those who have jobs, hobbies and who own televisions that don’t log on every day. They have questions, too, and as long as they keep asking and as long as they’re confused on an issue, I’ll try to answer best I can – or at least come up with a smart aleck response.
Doug from Los Angeles, CA:
John, you give conventional wisdom in a world that's so unconventional...
John: Well, conventionally speaking, maybe.
Andrew from Section 124:
Fan of Dexter's Laboratory? (omelet du fromage)
John: It seems we have generation-gap issue in the O-Zone. In response to a recent question in French, I inanely – as I am wont to do – tossed out the phrase “omelette du fromage.” Younger readers took this as a reference to an episode of the cartoon, “Dexter’s Laboratory.” While Junior Ozone at times watched said cartoon, I in fact had no knowledge of the phrase’s use in “Dexter’s.” My reference was to an old Steve Martin stand-up bit from the 1970s, when Martin essentially noted that he had recently gone to France and all he picked up of the language was “omelette du fromage,” or cheese omelet. It is testament to my lazy, blissful ignorance that for 35 years I have happily and – as a google search revealed, incorrectly – believed that this was indeed the French translation of cheese omelet. Imagine my surprise.