JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
John from Jacksonville:
Am I normal? Oh, need more information? OK. I stay in tune with what the Jags are doing week-to-week and my excitement level grows into thinking we've really got it going on and will be a force to be reckoned with. Then, I visit other NFL team sites and see they all seem to have it going on and will be teams to be reckoned with. So, I'm left with feeling the Jags are just one of 32 and in the end it's all about execution and scoring at least one more point than the other team each week. I could just be dealing with the pre-draft blues.
John: Wow, you are blue – but in another sense, you’re pretty normal. You’re excited about your team at a time in the offseason when most fans are excited about their teams. As I’ve often said, there are no guarantees in the NFL and I can’t tell you how excited to be or when to be excited. I can tell you that it appears the Jaguars are building the right way and making moves that will give them a chance to compete over the long haul. That includes their approach in the draft this week. If they keep making those moves, and if they have the fortune of good health and better quarterback play, then this path could lead to success.
Phillip from Harper's Ferry, WV:
O-Man, It's Draft Day and the Lions call and offer No. 10 and Suh for No. 3, do you make the trade, or do you want more?
John: They won’t be calling me, but I’d want more.
John from Jacksonville:
I watched some YouTube video on Toby Gerhart
and was impressed to see how when he is about to be tackled he becomes elusive and doesn’t give the tackler a clean target. He may have become my favorite Jaguar player.
John: Gerhart does have an intriguing running style. He seems to play over his feet and behind his pads, and seems to have a nice knack for bouncing off tackles and getting extra yardage after contact. The Jaguars believe they signed Gerhart at the right time of his career – with little wear and tear on the body and time left to develop. There’s a lot to be said for signing a running back with Gerhart’s resume; we’ll see how it plays out.
Joel from Cumberland:
I'd like to know if management is considering trading down to, say, Nos. 6-10 do you think Anthony Barr would be high on the radar?
John: I bet you would.
Tom from Jacksonville:
I know Steve Young was bigger but he also came into the league looking to run first. Changing his mindset is MUCH easier than trying to change his throwing motion.
John: I don’t know that Young really did come into the league looking to run first, though he absolutely became a better pocket passer as his career continued. He eventually became as good from the pocket as anyone in the NFL during his era. As far as changing mindset being easier than changing throwing motion … maybe, but changing mindset isn’t always easy.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins? Who ya got? One fer Sammy!
John: Hey! One fer Sammy, but that’s for today. Check back tomorrow. It’s draft week.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
Say the Jags select a quarterback in Rounds 3 and 6. And let's say that Henne ends up starting all 16 games. Would next season’s draft be too soon to look for a new option under center?
John: If you’re asking would the Jaguars need to give up on those quarterbacks they took in Rounds 3 and 6 because they didn’t start … then yes, next year’s draft would be too soon. Now, that’s not to say they couldn’t draft another quarterback to compete with those guys, but not starting next season wouldn’t be the death knell for a quarterback drafted by the Jaguars this week. There’s a very good chance a quarterback selected early by the Jaguars could be a backup for an extended time. People seem to think that’s pre-draft talk, but it probably will be reality. It just will.
Patrick from Merced, CA:
I’m liking this schedule for 2014 – teams like the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals and Ravens make me excited. But, I wish we would play Carolina again. Those two teams going at it is my favorite ever since the first expansion game. Can you please help get those two teams to go at it next season? Thanks John!
John: I’ll get this taken care of. In fact, I’ll do you one better. I’ll make sure the Panthers and Jaguars play in Jacksonville during the 2015 season. Guaranteed.
Naughty Nate from Naughty Jungle of Love:
Using all the monetary and personnel resources available to you, experience from decades of work, doing all your homework, countless sleepless nights, ridiculous work weeks researching, all your peers reaching the same conclusions as you; even after all this and much more, you may still get the pick wrong. Keep that in perspective yo.
John: That's the life of a GM yo.
Tom from Virginia Beach, VA:
Is Johnny Manziel just smart for running around? If he stayed in the pocket he might not be able to see over the defensive ends. In addition by making them run after him they become tired and that would help late in games. Also, when running, a defensive end cannot be as tall as if just rushing the passer. It seems that he is not receiving enough credit for his intellect. There have been great quarterbacks who have scrambled and were short: Fran, Archie, Joe T. That said: take Sammy Watkins with the third pick.
John: He may well be smart; in fact, he may be brilliant. The question isn’t whether he is smart; it’s whether he can change his game enough to be an effective pocket passer in the NFL. The magic is nice. The magic makes Manziel Manziel. It’s special and exciting. But it’s hard to win long-term in the NFL making magic from outside the pocket. The league smiles long-term on quarterback who can win from the pocket.
Jeremy from Miles City, MT:
The thing that bothers me most about Manziel that I feel like never gets brought up is his reliance on throwing balls up for grabs while scrambling. Most of those were completed because of his elite receiver/ lower competition. If you throw a jump ball in the middle of the field in the NFL it’s going the other way, and he did that a lot in college.
Paul from Hastings, FL:
The cult following regarding Tebow was that he was a local kid and the local folks wanted to see him play for the local team. But the local team's management was made up of idiots who couldn't pick a winner if their lives depended on it, and ran from even the slightest hint of excitement.
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
O-Zone, I would love to hear your opinion on this. So, we've all talked about which quarterback is most pro-ready now, but I want to know who you think would benefit the most after a year of riding the bench and learning an offense. How good do you think Johnny Football could be after a year or two with coaching? And which do you think could prosper the most of the potential second-round quarterbacks? Thanks John <3 you.
John: I think players such as Derek Carr and Blake Bortles could benefit a great deal, particularly Bortles who appears to have every physical tool needed but who is said to need seasoning. If he’s just scratching the surface he could eventually be elite. As for how good Johnny Football could be with coaching, it depends how much he can truly absorb the coaching and how effective he can be throwing into tight windows. He seemed to have gotten a lot of his production from broken plays and throwing to receivers open amid chaos. It’s harder to be effective that way in the NFL.
Jared from Pensacola, FL:
John, so reading the luncheon article Dave really kind of blew my mind. He said 27 players have been in and 36 have been taken off the board? How can this be, O-man? There are only 27 players that have been brought in so that would mean all of them are gone.
John: The Jaguars are allowed to draft players other than the 27 brought in, and in fact, they likely will select players outside of that group. The 36 removed from the board are removed from the entire list, not just the players brought in for a visit.
James from Woodbridge:
Why is it that everyone has the perception that the bigger the name of the college player, the better they'll play in the NFL?
John: Because people look at the college game and see footballs and shoulder pads and helmets and face masks and assume that means it’s the same game as the NFL. It is not.