JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
Of all the players that were allowed to walk or let go, the one that confuses me the most is C.J. Mosley. If I remember right, other than Jason Babin
towards the end of the season, he was about the only defensive lineman that showed any kind of disruption ability. He worked his way into the starting lineup past Knighton. Any idea why they let him go? Also, with his release, it really makes me think the Jags have Sharrif Floyd targeted, don't know why...
John: The Mosley release really was as much about philosophy and direction as anything else. Remember, the Jaguars are trying to get younger and build something that will be sustainable. They are also emphasizing competition. Toward those ends, David Caldwell’s target players in free agency have been 25-27-year-old players on short-term deals, with the idea being that they can compete and have the experience to lead should they win starting jobs. The Jaguars released Mosley – a nine-year veteran – and signed Sen’Derrick Marks – a five-year veteran – the next day. That’s the philosophy in action. Regarding Floyd, I’ll reiterate a point from earlier this week: the Jaguars’ free agent moves aren’t indicative of what they may or may not do in the draft. The team’s long-term need for an elite player at the position is the same regardless of Mosley’s status.
Jonathan from Jacksonville:
Around this time last year, there was A LOT of talk about Mularkey's offense. Such as how it would take a while to learn, but once learned, could be very good. There was a lot of talk from the coaches about the playbook being developed. Currently, there is virtually no talk about the playbook being developed nor about its apparent difficulty or lack thereof. Is that because the playbook was already in place (Miami's essentially) and the offense easier to learn?
John: That’s probably part of the reason. Another reason is Mularkey was an offensive coach, and at the time, he was bringing in a new scheme. With the defensive scheme already established and Mel Tucker returning as defensive coordinator, there wasn’t as much mystery last year involving the defense as the offense. It was also interesting that there were five former offensive coordinators on staff – Mularkey, Bob Bratkowski, Jerry Sullivan, Greg Olsen and Sylvester Croom. The process of how those minds formed an offense made for a good story if not, in retrospect, a particularly productive offense. This year, Gus Bradley is the focus of much of the media attention. He was a defensive coordinator, and as a result, his defense gets more of the spotlight. It’s no more or less important, but that’s this off-season’s main storyline.
David from Durban, South Africa:
The Cardinals have secured a veteran quarterback and will surely be looking to draft a left tackle. Do you see them as ideal candidates to trade with in respect of the Jaguars' first pick?
John: That makes sense. One thing standing in the way of that is that there are not two, but three elite-level tackles available. If Luke Joeckel goes off the board at No. 1, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson remain. That could cause a team wanting trade up for a left tackle to wait a pick or two because many don’t see a huge difference between Fisher and Johnson. But at the same time, yes, if a team in the Top 10 really covets a left tackle, that’s not a bad thing for the Jaguars.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
So far, David Caldwell is not following his predecessor's path of collecting small college players for the Jaguars’ roster. Not inferring that this automatically means better results, but the free-agent signings to date all came from BCS conference schools - names like Auburn, FSU, Texas, California and Illinois. The makeup of the upcoming draft class and perhaps as importantly the free agent class I suspect will have a distinctly different makeup in terms of university conference makeup versus the past few years' classes for the Jags. Your thoughts?
John: I think it will be different. David Caldwell has said as much. I’ve never had a great passion for one side of this small-school/big-school debate or the other. If a guy can play, he can play, and I never bought into the small-school argument as a reason for the Jaguars’ struggles when Gene Smith was the general manager. I believe David Caldwell’s success in his position will depend on his ability to find good players, and I imagine he’ll find them wherever he can, big school or small, BCS or NAIA.
Steven from the Westside:
Why is it that it’s the same thing each year: “Oh, it seems that we're headed in the right direction?” You said the same/similar things last year. Why don’t we just let it play out, instead of feeding us BS?
John: Because if I say, ‘Let’s let it play out,’ people say, ‘Why don’t you give us an answer?’ I say over and over and over again that this is not a science and you can’t predict the future. I listen to David Caldwell and Gus Bradley and I hear things that I believe will give the Jaguars a chance to grow and improve. Does that guarantee a Super Bowl or a playoff appearance? No. Decision-making in the NFL is very much a percentage business, meaning you make the best decisions you can that give you the best chance to win, then you hope those percentages over time work in your favor. It’s a competitive league, and everyone else is working hard, too. Is this a direction that can lead to success? No doubt. Is it a sure thing? No way.
Franchot from St. Augustine, FL:
John . . . NO new quarterback = another lost season. Please tell that to the fans.
If it were true, I would, but in this case, it’s really not. I don’t know how the quarterback situation eventually will play out. I don’t know that anyone does. Maybe Blaine Gabbert
develops under this new situation, or maybe Chad Henne
comes on and plays better in this new system and new structure. Don’t assume either of those things can’t happen. A new offense with a new coach can make a difference. Even if it doesn’t, even if neither Henne nor Gabbert improve, the season won’t be lost. This is Square One of the Jaguars’ building process. If improvement is made and if the first steps are taken, that’s productive.
Jim from Chuluota, FL:
Are there NFL rules governing how and when teams can talk with possible undrafted players? Can the Jags recruit players today saying, ‘Hey, if you don’t get drafted, this is why you want to come to Jacksonville?’
John: Teams can talk with potential drafted and undrafted players throughout pretty much the entire pre-draft process, and they absolutely can “recruit” potential undrafted players. In fact, I suspect the Jaguars are doing exactly that to many, many players right now.
Peter from Los Angeles, CA:
Do you accept bits of string?
John: And then some!
Dave from Orlando, FL:
In many early mock drafts, it seemed many had us selecting DE Ziggy Ansah, but lately it has been defensive end Dion Jordan. What is the argument for why Dion Jordan makes more sense than Ziggy Ansah?
John: Because Jordan played linebacker and defensive end, he seems to make a lot of sense for the LEO position, which in essence is a hybrid linebacker/end role. There also is a bit of copycat in the world of mock drafts. At first, it was very trendy to pick Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner for the Jaguars at No. 2. Then, Ansah was trendy. Now, it’s Jordan. Not saying that Jordan doesn’t make sense, but that’s one reason he has become a hot name lately.
Marcus from New York City via Jacksonville:
I like Coach Bradley's message. I do, however, think that someone ought to tell him that Mozart used all 12 notes, John. I nominate you. Tell 'em , John. You got this.
John: I nominate J.P. Shadrick. He’s a lot more man than me.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Does (1) pass rusher, (2) CB, (3) QB, (4) OT, (5) TE or LB (6) LB or TE and (7) RB or DT, in that order, make sense?
John: Sure. And so do many other scenarios. That’s not trying for one of my “snarky” answers, it’s just that there are many scenarios available on draft day. How Round 2 plays out will depend largely on Round 1 and so on and so on and so on. Remember, the Jaguars need to improve at pretty much every position. They aren’t going to target a specific position in a specific round at the expense of getting good players to improve the roster. The draft will play out as it plays out and I doubt Caldwell will know for certain what position he plans to take in Round 4 until that pick is on the board.
Chris from Boring, OR:
What's the most trivial thing you concern yourself with?
John: Making coffee in the break room. And by the way . . . APPARENTLY, I’m one of the only people around here who knows how.