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O-Zone: Just slow down

Posted Apr 26, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it...

Owen from Waycross, GA:
I hope you get positive feedback over Luke Joeckel as first pick. The first thing I noticed was how many people were commenting on how much he looks like Tony Boselli. Let’s hope he plays like Tony. Blaine Gabbert has not been given a fair chance. Now that we have a stronger O-line, he is going to cause a lot of people to eat their words, and of course, they will jump right on the bandwagon. Here’s hoping we need to get bigger wheels for that wagon.
John: I don’t know that we need to clear off space on the bandwagon just yet, but there’s no question that the chance to improve the pass protection was a major reason for the move for Joeckel. David Caldwell mentioned immediately after the selection that the Jaguars had allowed the third-most sacks last year, and that that needed to be addressed. Joeckel absolutely addresses that. As far as Gabbert, he still needs to win the starting job. He needs to prove himself, but if he does, it’s pretty clear that he will get the fairest opportunity he has had thus far. What he does with that will determine how big the bandwagon’s wheels need to be – that is, if they’re needed at all.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Is drafting a fullback on Day 3 a possibility or will the team more likely wait until college free agency to address replacing Greg Jones?
John: Collegiate free agency.
Tim from Tampa:
Joeckel will certainly be one of the highest-paid right tackles in the league. Just doesn't seem like good value. Why not try to sign Winston or Clabo to a cheaper deal?
John: Joeckel is young, and Winston and Clabo are not. This team is building young, building through the draft. Players who don’t fit that profile aren’t going to be signed to big contracts.
Jacob from New York:
Looks like we are primed to take any quarterback we want. It might be nice to trade back and get picks, but I say, “Pull the trigger!”
John: Yeah, about that...
Luis from Fruit Cove, FL and Section 412:
Geno Smith was not taken in the first round. I think I know what your mailbox is going to be full of. And I know you will handle it in your own inimitable way. Thanks!
John: You’re welcome. Yes, the inbox and particularly the Twitter timeline is blowing up with questions about West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Yes, he’s there. Yes, many fans want him. I’m not thinking the Jaguars will take him at No. 33. I’m not thinking they take a quarterback at No. 33. The team needs starter-caliber players early in this draft. This was generally considered a weak quarterback class, and the vibe is that it will be difficult for any of the remaining players to come in and start immediately. All right. Now that has been said, let the fireworks begin.
Paul from Section 410:
Funny how people would rather pick a good player than a flashy one until it actually happens.
John: Yes, it is.
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
Maybe times are changing, but it doesn't seem wise to draft a right tackle at No. 2, unless you are planning to move him to left tackle in the future. Despite what Caldwell has said, if a tackle is taken at No. 2, Monroe likely won't be offered 'core' money next year, even if he plays well, will he?
John: The Jaguars will have the option of franchising Monroe, but we’re not there yet. This is a new regime, and sometimes new regimes have new approaches. I agree that the presence of Joeckel makes it seem as if re-signing Monroe will be difficult, but let’s see. Maybe this group considers each tackle position similarly. If so, then maybe they keep two quality players at the position.
Jamie from St. Augustine, FL:
If Mel Kiper knows EVERYTHING about football and the draft class then why doesn't he become a GM?
John: Kiper makes a lot of money with not a lot of pressure. He has what we call in the “biz” a “good gig.”
Matt from St. Mary’s, GA:
Many people won't understand the move to draft what will be a right tackle at No. 2. However, as the NFL evolves having two great tackles becomes more important. Do you think Caldwell and Bradley are simply ahead of the curve, and perhaps put a greater value on right tackle than most do right now?
John: I think that’s a possibility. But I think the biggest reason for the selection was that Luke Joeckel was the best player on the board at the time of the selection – and, actually, the best player on their draft board overall. The Jaguars are trying to build the roster through the draft. When you’re doing that, and when you’re essentially starting from very close to scratch, you try to take the best possible players.
Matt from Orlando, FL:
It takes a special person to deal with our negative fans. You do a great job by the way. See Jags fans, it’s like this O-Man's job is to write about what is going on with our team and answer some of our questions we might have. NOT to be your therapist or your husband that listens to you being the nagging wife. Have faith in your organization stand united the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. O-man, can you see it? Can you see it, Jags Nation? KEEP CALM. WRITE ON O-MAN...
John: I stopped reading at “Great Job.”
Shane from Jacksonville:
I saw that Coach Bradley said that Joeckel would play on the right side. I wanted to see what you thought would happen if Joeckel was better than Monroe by Week 1, who plays where?
John: If he’s clearly better, maybe Joeckel moves over. For now, it seems far more logical to leave Monroe where he is comfortable and install Joeckel at the new position.
Rod from Atlanta:
General Dave is pretty slick. He said he would draft more for need early, when in fact he drafted BAP. BAP would have netted us players in the past such as Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, JPP, JJ Watt – just to name a few. Great job Dave and Gus!!! I LOVE IT!!!
John: Let’s not paint this pick as simply BAP (best available player) too quickly. Joeckel will play right tackle and it’s safe to say the Jaguars consider that a need. Caldwell spoke extensively Thursday night about the obvious need for the Jaguars to improve the pass protection. The feeling is that Joeckel will do that immediately. What will the future hold? That will take care of itself.
Clarence from Fort Worth and Section 209:
So what's your inbox like?
John: Eh. Not bad.
Jason from Section 104:
O-Man! This is an exciting time in Jaguars history. I was 10 when the Jacksonville was awarded the franchise. I see many of my generation becoming fellow season ticket holders. We have created two awesome fan groups (Teal St Hooligans and Bold City Brigade) that are mostly made up of our generation. We have a new head coach whose enthusiasm matches or exceeds that of the fans. It’s just great to see our fan base identity is finally starting to take shape.
John: Indeed it is.
Michael from Jackson de Ville:
John, thanks for setting Greg straight regarding Jaxson de Ville. Our uni's were not league best, thus needing improvement. How can Jaxson de Ville improve on already being the best (and most handsome) mascot in the NFL?
John: He’s a great mascot. It’d be even better if you could trust him.
Casey from North Conway, NH:
I can't agree more with Alex from Austin, TX. The new uniforms look cool, but that's not the point. The culture of this team needed a reset, and Khan has done that. It feels like a new team, and maybe the turnaround won't be instantaneous, but it's on the way. And I for one am very excited about it.
John: You are not alone. In fact, you’re standing united (see how I did that?)
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
John, I know how you like to express yourself in a funny way, but I really want your opinion on something. What will be the minimum Jaguars score that would make you happy? Playoffs? 8-8? 6-10? Because getting better must one day show on your scoreboard. Go JAGS!
John: Honestly, I want to see the Jaguars improving by the end of the season. I don’t know what form that will take and I don’t particularly care. I said last offseason that a good season would be one in which people looked at the team at the end of the season and saw the direction and knew the identity of the franchise going forward. That didn’t happen, but it remains true this season. If you see the foundation built and a positive direction, then that’s a productive season.
John from Bainbridge Island, WA:
Luke Joeckel is cool. I like him.
John: Ha.
Brian from Staten Island, NY:
John, you're a cool guy. I like you.
John: Easy there, big fella.

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