JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
Doub from Harrisburg, PA:
John: I’ll be honest – sometimes I can’t tell when an email is sarcastic and when it’s not. Perhaps it’s the end of a long season or perhaps I’m just dim. Probably the latter. But because it’s Brad Meester’s last home game at EverBank Field Sunday, I’ll answer this one straight. Obviously, Meester is not a Pro Football of Fame candidate. Just as obviously, talk of him someday being in the Pride of the Jaguars has sparked some fairly contentious debate on both sides of the argument this week. And that’s OK. Arguing is fun, and fans are obviously passionate about this topic. Know this: a class act and a very, very good player will play his last home game for the Jaguars Sunday. Because of his class and because he has been a very good player and because he has played for this franchise longer than any player ever, I would like to see him in the Pride of the Jaguars. Others would not. That’s all good. For the next few days, I’ll enjoy covering him and if someday I cover his induction into the Pride I’ll smile and I trust a lot of other fans will, too.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX:
Any chance that in the future the fans will start "Branching" –i.e. do a windmill dance whenever Branch makes a great play, or maybe fans will start doing that in everyday life when something good happens? I see a new internet sensation being born.
John: The Jaguars certainly hope so, because that would mean that Branch is continuing to improve and playing consistently enough for his windmill dance to catch on and become a thing. I don’t know whether the fans will flock to it, but I did it at Best Buy after Christmas shopping Saturday, and the lady at the checkout seemed to like it, too. That’s a start.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Dave Caldwell leaves Atlanta and comes to Jacksonville. The Jaguars get better and the Falcons get worse. Coincidence, or am I looking too deep into things?
John: You’re probably looking a bit too deep into things. I doubt Caldwell would tell you he was the glue that held the Falcons’ franchise together, though without question he was critical to their success. He probably wouldn’t beat his chest over the Jaguars’ four victories this season, but he does deserve credit for the improvement the Jaguars are showing. I also think Caldwell will get plenty of credit when this franchise hits its stride – be that next year or soon thereafter.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
There seems to be an amount of concern about whether to put Brad Meester into the Pride. Here's a compromise for players such as Brad (very good but not "great" or HOF caliber): retire their number for the amount of time they spent with the Jaguars. For instance, retire Brad's number for 14 years. Then, at the expiration of the 14 years, have a simple ceremony prior to the first game of the season where Brad hands over his "63" uniform to the new kid and walks off to thunderous applause.
John: I admire the creative thinking. I doubt it will come to fruition, but it’s a clever idea.
Aaron from Milroy, PA:
How many compensatory picks will the Jaguars get in the 2014 draft? They lost a lot of guys who are now performing well in Daryl Smith, Rashad Jennings, and Terrance Knighton. Not to mention they also lost Cox.
John: It’s really impossible to know the exact number of compensatory selections due the Jaguars because those are determined by what the NFL considers a proprietary formula next offseason. Basically, it means the league doesn’t tell anyone the formula. For that reason, it is always the subject of some debate when they are announced. Generally speaking, you get picks for losing free agents and lose picks for signing free agents, so yes, the Jaguars might pick up a compensatory selection or two. Smith won’t have anything to do with it, though. He signed with the Ravens after June 1, which is the cutoff date for counting in the formula. Cox’s on-field performance won’t help much in San Diego, but the league actually factors contract into the equation as much as how the player plays with his new team, so Cox could work in the Jaguars’ favor.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
The Jaguars absolutely, 100% need to draft whoever the staff decides is the best player to draft when they have the ability to draft and if they are unable to or do not desire to trade down. If they do anything less, I'll be incredibly disappointed.
John: Trading down often is more difficult than your email would indicate, but in theory, you couldn’t be more spot on.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
So am I to understand John from Jacksonville is under the delirious notion that the Lions, Cowboys, and Raiders are good teams?
John: You got it.
Dakota from Dupree, SC:
O-man, this has been bugging me a lot lately. Why have the Jags been playing better on the road than they do at home? The last two years that has happened more times than not.
John: I don’t know, though the trend seems to be changing a bit of late. The Jaguars played Arizona pretty tough, beat Houston and played Buffalo pretty tough last Sunday. That’s a decent performance at home because it’s a sharp contrast to early this season and much of last season when home games were difficult experiences. But why has it been that way in the past? Again, I don’t know. I don’t know that anyone does.
Renay from Macclenny:
What gives 0-Zone man? I just opened my e-mail from the Jaguars and received a wonderful holiday greeting with a picture of the Jaguars and you were nowhere to be found. Is it because you are so dedicated to your job that you don't even have time to pause for a simple shot with the team? Oh, well, keep up the good work and one day you might get some recognition for all you do!
Ryan from Detroit:
All I want for Christmas is a Top 4 draft pick.
John: That’s not on the Jaguars’ minds these days, but who knows? Maybe you’ll get your wish.
Andrew from Jacksonville:
What do you see as musts in the draft for the Jags?
John: Good players who stay healthy.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
As we very well know, Dave Caldwell isn't the type of general manager to be pressured in to what the fans want. But honestly, he HAS to draft a quarterback in May – maybe not with our first pick, but at least a second-round talent. I don't think our fan base, as shaky as it already is, will be able to handle another 4-12 or 5-11 type of season, and being the butt of every NFL joke. We bought it this offseason, with the drafting of Luke Joeckel
. And in hindsight, it was smart to pass, because every single rookie quarterback this year, has been terrible. But to pass next year? No. Uh-uh.
John: I sort of get the premise of the email, although I certainly think David Caldwell will address quarterback in the offseason. What I don’t quite get is the “fragile” fan-base thought. This seems to indicate that Jaguars fans are ready to crack and fragment and give up on the team. My impression of Jaguars fans couldn’t be further from that. Also, just for argument’s sake: suppose the quarterbacks in this year’s class are just as “terrible.” Should the Jaguars draft one just to get fans excited in June and July? This is not to say they will pass, but to point out the folly of drafting just to pacify or excite a fan base.
Johnny Football from College Station, TX:
I hear you guys need a Quarterback, and I REALLY like teal.
John: May I ask who’s calling, please?
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Do you see a tight end on our roster right now that could step up for a big role next year if Marcedes is not on the team?
There doesn’t seem to be a tight end who could fill Lewis’ role. That stands to reason because Lewis is a first-round talent and no other tight ends on the roster match his raw talent. Clay Harbor
certainly has shown he can be a factor in the passing game. He may be a keeper.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
Here is my X-Mas present for the O-man. Thank you for your continued commitment, dedication, and professionalism. The jovial yet honest approach you take to answering us fans doesn't go unappreciated and for me personally it is the bright spot of my morning. Here is hoping you and yours have very Merry Christmas and even better New Year. #StandUnited
John: Thank you, and may the new year bring you far more fulfilling mornings.