JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Darrick from Jacksonville:
I get the fact that some people would love to see the Jaguars make a big splash this offseason. However, under the category of "the bigger they are, the harder they fall," I'm starting to get a little nervous about the hype magnet Johnny Manziel has become. In my mind, all the extra media stuff is making him a bigger risk.
John: This falls into the category of "worrying for no reason," but hey …it’s Sunday and we’ve got a little time to take a breath and review old issues, so we’ll do a little breathin’ and reviewin’ right now. Since the end of the Jaguars’ regular season, there has been the usual offseason banter about the draft and free agency. As usual, there is so much of this that it tends to be viewed by those absorbing it as The Way It Is. One thing that has been internalized by some and interpreted as an overriding truth is that “making a splash” is somehow part of the Jaguars’operating philosophy and that therefore “making a splash” might somehow be among the motivating factors when drafting and signing free agents. This is where Jaguars Owner Shad Khan’s trust in General Manager Dave Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley becomes important. While as an owner there might at times be a temptation to want to make a splash to “excite the fan base,” an owner who trusts a general manager/coach will allow the general manager coach to make decisions based not on offseason excitement but on how the player will help the team. Khan trusts Caldwell and Bradley, each of whom is motivated by making the team better and competing over the course of time – NOT making decisions that might be exciting for the short term. Now, this doesn’t mean the Jaguars won’t draft Johnny Manziel. If they believe he can be a franchise quarterback for a long time, they very well might. But no matter how much you read and absorb in the coming months, remember: making a splash and any other accompanying “extra media stuff” won’t factor into the equation.
Steve from Denver, CO:
J O -- Beaucoup? Parlez vous frnceis ?
John: Wait. What?
Spencer from Satellite Beach, FL:
Have not heard much talk on the secondary. Do you think Will Blackmon
will be re-signed? If not, do we draft someone or wait to see how Jeremy Harris
comes back from injury? Also, do you think Chris Pronsinski will be cut? Great special teams player but a mediocre defender. And if cut, do we try to sign a veteran to bring some experience?
Wow. Many, many questions for a February Sunday. First, we’ve talked about the secondary quite a bit, but it’s pleasure to discuss it some more. I think there’s a very good chance Blackmon will return. He wants to return, and as well as he played – and as well as he fit into the culture and the locker room last season – it’s likely something gets done to retain him. If not, I don’t think the Jaguars will be in a big hurry to draft a cornerback early. They like Dwayne Gratz
and Alan Ball
and there’s a lot of positive talk about Demetrius McCray
, a seventh-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. That’s a good young duo (McCray and Gratz) and a very solid veteran. As far as Prosinski, he could have a chance to compete for a roster spot. We will see. I don’t know that safety is an absolute need in free agency either way. The Jaguars like Johnathan Cyprien
and Josh Evans
, and I’d expect them to keep trying to build young there.
Dave from Section 410 and Jacksonville:
Clowney was a sophomore this past year.
John: Yes! Except that he was a junior.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
So now we know why Boselli's career was cut short! John, do you ever feel a twinge of regret for what happened in the parking lot between you and Big Tony? I mean, you are likely responsible for him not having his bust in Canton. That's a burden not just any man can bear; but I know you're man enough, right???
John: Oh, I’m plenty man. Of that, there is no question. And our parking lot incident aside, I think Boselli should still be in the Hall of Fame. My distaste for him doesn’t change that.
Dan from Jacksonville:
Please tell Shadrick to take a sick day next time instead of coughing all over our best interior d-lineman the entire interview. Reminds me of the guy at the office... "I'm fine! It's not contagious..."
John: We tried to get Bob Costas, but rumor is he’s under the weather, too.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I don't think it's very likely that the Jags can't re-sign Henne. It would seem to come down to a couple of issues: any difference of opinion between the Jaguars and Henne as to his relative worth and the conditions of the market. Do you think Henne will draw significant interest from outside the organization?
John: First, when it comes to free agency any issues almost always come down to a difference of opinion between player and team about worth and market conditions; there really aren’t that many other things about which to disagree. To get to the meat of your question, it’s hard to tell right now how difficult signing Henne will prove. Caldwell has said he expects the sides to talk soon, and the Jaguars almost certainly will try very hard to get something done before free agency opens. That’s because, yes, I do think there will be significant interest in Henne around the league. He may not be pursued as a long-term starter, but teams pursuing a quality backup quarterback likely will covet him very, very much – and yes, the second “very” was intentional.
Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
John, you are worrying me. Why so evasive on Culligan? Who couldn't use a good drink of water once in a while?
John: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Seanfrom Erie, PA:
I don't understand all the questions concerning Bridgewater's size. I know that was something people were concerned about with Russell Wilson as well so I looked up each player's stats. Wilson is listed at 5-feet-11, 205 pounds and Bridgewater is 6-feet-3, 195 pounds. Is ten pounds really such a big difference? Especially with an NFL weight room and training program for him to put on weight. I guess my point is that Wilson had questions about his size and just won the Super Bowl; Bridgewater is taller and could weigh more. So, what's the problem?
John: A couple of points here. One is that you can’t take every smaller quarterback who comes along now and say, ‘Well, Russell Wilson was successful, so this guy will be, too.” Russell Wilson is an outlier and the reality is smaller quarterbacks often struggle in the NFL. That said, you have to look at each player individually because history isn’t always correct. As far as Bridgewater’s size, it’s not about his height as much as some people believing he will have trouble putting on significant weight. That concerns some teams.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
Not that I am hoping to see this happen, but do you feel there is any interest in bringing Eugene Monroe back if he hits free agency? I imagine now that they've committed to another guy at left tackle, he would have to make a switch. Would he be too expensive? Is it even worth mentioning?
John: There almost certainly would be no interest in that on either side. First, Monroe indeed would have to switch, which he has no reason to want to do considering he is a perfectly capable long-term starting left tackle in the NFL. It also likely would cost him a significant money on the free-agent market, and there’s no reason he should want to do that, either. Monroe’s a class guy and he’s respected and liked by many around the Jaguars, but he’ll be remembered fondly rather than pursued as a free agent.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
So there is a scenario having Chad Henne
as the Jags’ 2014 starting quarterback gives the team the best chance to win?
John: In the short-term? Absolutely. If the Jaguars don’t go quarterback in the first or second round, for example, and draft a guy in the third or fourth, they could very well have Henne start the season. In that scenario, the Jaguars would almost certainly focus on improving the offensive line and adding at least one skill player with big-play ability. The feeling is that under those circumstances Henne and the offense could build on some of the improvement made in the second half of the season. That’s not to say Henne necessarily would start the entire season under that scenario – and it’s not to say that this scenario will happen – but sure, it’s a possibility.
Vitaly from Asheville, NC:
How do you get up each day knowing you have to look in the mirror?
John: Psyched out of my mind with the delicious anticipation of gazing upon greatness yet again.