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O-Zone: When I wasn't cool

Posted Apr 20, 2013

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

Joe from Aurora, IL:
John, let's compare the two players you have the Jaguars taking in your first two mock drafts: Ziggy Ansah and Dion Jordan. The knock on Ansah is he's a bit of a project after only playing football for the past couple of years. I saw Jordan was originally recruited to Oregon as a tight end, and made the switch to defensive end during his college days. Is this any better? After all, haven't these two guys been playing the position the same amount of time? Why is this a knock on Ansah and not Jordan?
John: Honestly, I don’t know. This may sound awful, but I also don’t care that much. What I mean is this: each year in the draft, there is a multitude of pre-draft analysis, breakdown and back and forth. And it’s all great. I follow a lot of it, and a lot I don’t. There is information and misinformation, and by draft day there is so much buzz and talk that much of it is noise. Bill Polian used to talk about a couple of things with the draft, one being the prevailing need for general managers to not listen to the “noise,” and another being the need to set the draft board at a certain time before the draft and then at some point to essentially lock down the board. As a decision-maker, you don’t want to keep going back and tweaking your board based on the later mock draft on ESPN or the latest thing a scout mentioned to you about a second-round guy over lunch. Trust your information, trust your board and go draft. I mention this to point out that while it may be interesting to grind over every scenario such as the one you mention, at some point general managers watch tape, put a grade on a player and decide who they like. A lot of the teeth-gnashing over comparing the grinded-down details of each player is awesome fuel for the Internet and Twitter, but probably not quite as pertinent come draft day.
Shawn from those mean Arlington Streets:
How far off would it be for a team to stay on the West Coast for back-to-back games?
John: About 1,500 miles, or whatever it is.
Shawn from those mean Arlington Streets:
(Please don’t say about 1,500 miles or whatever it is)
John: Oops.
Shawn from those mean Arlington Streets:
Seriously . . .
John: Your question – and yes, I do remember it – was how far off would it be for a team to stay on the West Coast between back-to-back West Coast games. It’s probably not far off for the Jaguars, because it appears they’re doing it between the Week 2 Oakland and Week 3 Seattle games next season. Some teams do this; some teams don’t. Gus Bradley is viewing it as a positive, bonding experience and it’s my impression that he prefers having the games back-to-back as opposed to making one trip in Week 2 and another in, say, Week 5.
Doug from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 118:
John, how many . . . er . . . power naps will you need this week in order to be in peak form for this weekend's NFL draft?
John: I’m not sure, but I’m darned sure going to try to find out.
Dirk from Neptune Beach, FL:
There are so many people wanting what they think is right for this team – I get it. But I feel if we can relax and have faith in our coaches and general manager, it will all fall into place. We don't know their philosophy or schemes they’re trying to use yet, do we? Let’s let them DOOOOO THEIR JOBS and hope the players they acquire improve the team and puts a better product on the field. Do you agree Johnny-O?
John: Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that it’s great if people just relax and trust the process that’s taking place. At the same time, it’s perfectly understandable that fans not trust that process. This franchise has struggled mightily since 1999. That’s 14 seasons and during much of that time, fans were asked to trust the process. To those of us who have met and worked with Gus Bradley and David Caldwell, it’s easy to get a positive vibe and believe things are moving in the right direction. Many people around the league have a similar feeling. But fans have heard that before and they don’t have the access to get a good feeling things are different. Many are therefore taking a wait-and-see attitude and are very vocal while doing it. That’s what they should do, so while yes, we have to wait for Bradley and Caldwell to do their jobs, fans aren’t going to be quiet while they wait. Nor should they. They’re fans.
AceAlleyne from Jacksonville:
Hey, John, let me create the new intro to your column . . . Ladies and Gentlemen, Jaguars.com is proud to present coming in at a breezy 220 pounds fresh from a morning nap of the sofa in his office the always-disputed, sometimes severely critical, O-Zone writer (while he still has the job). JOHNNY "keep your hands out my Cheetos bag" Oehser!!!!!! (The crowd goes wild, women crying, children jumping up and down, naysayers watch closely . . . crowd falls dead silent as the O-man places his hands to the keyboard . . . (you’re up)
John: I rarely eat Cheetos.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
If the "experts" say the second pick is as good as the 35th pick, why would any other team trade and give up picks? I'm confused what you answered Steve Day 1.
John: I’m sorry you’re confused. I’ve been pretty clear for a while now it’s going to be tough for the Jaguars to trade down because there isn’t a perceived difference between Nos. 2 and 35. People like to ask about scenarios and I answer, but an overriding theme of this year’s draft is that trading down out of the Top 10 is expected to be difficult.
Nicolas from Jacksonville:
What happens to the players who are drafted by teams but never come to an agreement as far as contracts are concerned? Do the respective teams just slide them to the practice squad or what?
John: This rarely happens. The player could theoretically go back into the draft the following year, but that would be giving up a year of football and earning potential.
Gene from Syracuse, NY:
C’mon man, two years in a row without a Monday night game. Do you think the next page Khan reads in the owner's manual is how to get more primetime games?
John: If it is, it will read, “Win More.”
Dane from Jacksonville:
The more I look into the various draft prospects, the more excited I get knowing we pick at No. 2 and No. 33. It seems quite likely that a highly-rated player will slip to us at No. 33.
John: Yes, it does. David Caldwell has said since mid-February that this is a good year to have the first selection of the second round. One reason is it may be a year that that pick can be used for a trade. That’s because of the number of quarterbacks around that spot. The other reason is if the Jaguars don’t trade, there’s probably going to be a good player there.
Steve from Jacksonville:
No matter how "even" the talent may be from one-to-45 (or so) or how this year may be "down" on talent, there will still be an offensive and defensive rookie of the year. Regardless the circumstance, you should have a hope (or even expectation?) at one of those drafting at No. 2. Just saying.
John: Well, as long as you were “just saying . . .”
Aaron from Arlington, VA:
Can you guys give Blaine a rest? Talk about the coach, the new talent, but if you do talk about the quarterback, make sure that Henne or the prospect gets equal or more discussion. Gabbert's story is played out. He might be one of the all-time greatest offseason quarterbacks, but it won’t mean a thing until Kansas City with a pass rush. I’m all in, but please no more pro-Gabbert stories. Thanks a lot!
John: You’re welcome a lot, and as far as pro-Gabbert stories . . . whatever. The Gabbert story is important because he was a first-round quarterback, and if he can develop it would give the franchise a talented, productive player at the key position. The same is true of Henne, but a player acquired as a free agent is not going to get quite the focus as a player drafted in the Top 10. Now, when there is a new prospect, that player will get attention. It’s likely all three quarterbacks on the roster will get attention as the offseason moves on – probably more than they want. That’s because this story very much isn’t played out yet whether you’re talking about Gabbert or the position in general.
Jim from Orange Park, FL:
The Housemartins. Very cool. So what happened? How and when did you lose your coolness?
John: I became 46.

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