Let's get to it . . .
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I'm seeing conflicting reports I'm hoping you can shine some light on. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Khan told the assistant coaches they could look for other jobs. Pro Football Talk reported that Khan met with Mularkey and said he is leaning toward keeping him as head coach. I'm sure it's all just speculation, and will probably amount to nothing, but the two reports seem to be conflicting.
John: I certainly wouldn’t dismiss it as all speculation and it’s not necessarily conflicting. Adam Schefter of ESPN is one of the nation’s top NFL reporters, and he reported that the coaching staff has been given permission to speak with other teams. This doesn’t necessarily mean that no coaches – including Head Coach Mike Mularkey – would be retained, but it allows them to begin exploring options should a change be made. That’s a fair and admirable move by Khan, because if a change would be made it benefits the assistants to have already made contact with other teams. Khan has the option of retaining those coaches, so if there would be a new head coach who wanted to retain that assistant, the Jaguars would have the option of doing so. I don’t know which way or the extent to which Khan is “leaning,” but my guess is he and the general manager would reach an agreement on that matter after a whole lot of discussion. Uncertainty reigns. Stay tuned.
Shaun from Jacksonville:
What do you make of the Jaguars’ staff passing on the opportunity to coach at the Senior Bowl? This would be a great chance to get an up-close look at the talent that is available in this year’s draft. Could it be the writing on the wall that this coaching staff is not going to be around for the Jaguars next year?
John: It certainly is another sign that major turnover is a possibility, though I wouldn’t say that necessarily assures anything.
Richmond from Jacksonville:
Do the Jaguars have any advantage over other teams when it comes to re-signing their own unrestricted free agents (Derek Cox
, Rashad Jennings
John: The main advantage teams have re-signing their own free agents is timing. They are allowed to negotiate with their own players until the start of the free-agency period, which this year is scheduled to begin March 12. After free agency begins, a team can re-sign its own players, but it is in competition with other teams. That’s why in the days before free agency begins you often see a flurry of players re-signing. It’s relatively rare to see a team re-sign their own players once free agency begins. Usually, if a guy gets to another team’s facility, he’s going to sign there or with some other team. In reference to your question, the ability to sign before free agency begins is about the only edge – that and the option of retaining the player with the franchise tag. There’s no financial advantage for re-signing your own players.
Jonathan from St. Augustine, FL:
I understand the need of the Rooney rule when it was initiated and the impact it had on minorities in the NFL, but I don't see the need for the rule anymore. It's obvious that Marc Ross isn't the top candidate or he would have been interviewed much earlier in the interviewing process. At this point Shad Khan is just doing it so he won't get in trouble with the league office. To me, it looks like a waste of time for both parties. I believe we are past the time that we needed the Rooney rule and at this point it is just a waste of time. If you are good enough, no matter what color of skin, NFL teams will find you. What are your thoughts on the Rooney rule?
John: Your statement, “It’s obvious that Marc Ross isn’t the top candidate or he would have been interviewed earlier in the process” is a reason for the Rooney Rule. The idea was to ensure candidates of all background got involved in the interview process, with the idea that you don’t know whether the candidate is potentially a good one until he interviews.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
There's a certain reporter for ESPN that seems to just "make things up" based on rumor and speculation. Almost always citing unnamed sources. Throws everything out there and just see's what sticks. Would you consider them a reporter or just an entertainer?
John: Based on your definition, entertainer. But just because someone cites unnamed sources doesn’t mean they’re wrong and doesn’t mean they’re not reporting.
Ryan from Rockville, MD:
I am concerned that in the mock drafts I see Jacksonville takes another pass rusher. Am I the only one who thinks that the defensive backfield has been neglected in the draft? We got Cox and I know people seem to be high on Harris but, I feel that we need to pair someone with Cox for the future. Mathis is loved but he just doesn't seem to be the same player. I believe there has to be a balance between good d-line pressure and good coverage to get effective pressure on the QB. What are your thoughts?
John: I think it’s January 4. Don’t be so concerned yet about mock drafts.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Many in the media slot and grade players by round, so to have the first or second pick at the top of every round could position the Jags to have a great 2013 draft.
John: Sure, why not?
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
I'll ask again, with some hot assistant coaching candidates available (namely Norv Turner and Chan Gailey), any chance the Jaguars try to add them to the staff? I have to think Norv Turner could be an excellent ailment for the Jaguars offensive woes.
John: Thanks for asking again. Sure, there’s a chance. The organization is in a state of turnover. I’d say many scenarios are possible.
Chris from Tampa, FL:
Very funny. Now, what do coaches really do at halftime?
John: I answered Chris’ question – which referred to halftime adjustments – on Friday with a smart-alecky answer about me eating chili and cookies at halftime. As far as coaching adjustments, yes, halftime is important. And coaches are often measured by how their teams play coming out of halftime. But as Chris noted, there are only 12 minutes for halftime in the NFL, so there usually aren’t wholesale adjustments. A well-coached team and personnel that can adapt need to be able to adjust after a series or two. When I covered the Colts and Peyton Manning had that offense operating at its highest level, they would often spend the first series or two figuring out what the defense was doing, and once they had seen everything their offense usually began functioning at a much higher level.
Dave from Section 410:
Interesting that you left Cox off your list of players going forward, and that's not the first time you've done this.
John: I left Cox off the list Thursday because I was focusing on players under contract. With a new general manager coming in, that will be one of the first decisions to be made. Any free agent will be evaluated differently with a new general manager than with an old one, and that’s doubly true if the coaching staff indeed undergoes significant turnover or overall change. Most of the people in place in that scenario would have no ties to free agents, and the system would be new, so there wouldn’t be the inherent incentive to re-sign that player. That doesn’t mean those player won’t be re-signed, but they won’t have the ties to the organization they would have had if change wasn’t ongoing.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
Johnny, does a potential Caldwell hire mean Mularkey will be safe since they were with the same organization before coming to the Jags?
John: It doesn’t mean much either way. Yes, Caldwell is certainly familiar with Mularkey, and Mularkey with Caldwell, but working in the same building and organization – or even liking that person – has nothing to do with whether you think that person would do a good job. Point being, within the NFL, working with a guy isn’t an indication of whether you’d hire him somewhere else.
Joe from Trinidad & Tobago:
Of all the teams in the league, we constantly seem to be going to the Falcons’ organization for something or the other. Why is that?
John: You find candidates where you find candidates. The Falcons have had success in recent years and appear to have selected a young, talented roster. That makes Director of Player Personnel David Caldwell a logical choice. As I wrote Friday, that’s not the only criterion for hiring a general manager, but it sure helps to put you on the radar.