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O-Zone: Foggy memories

Posted Jan 23, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Tim from Jacksonville:
An argument I have heard for eliminating the PAT is player safety. It seems running a two-point play involves a lot more action and greater risk of injury than nine linemen blocking each other for two seconds.
John: The NFL Competition Committee constantly seeks ways to increase player safety, and eliminating the PAT would have that effect in this respect: you would no longer have the PAT, so by definition the risk of injury on that play would be eliminated. You also probably wouldn’t see a significant increase or decrease in the number of two-point conversions run, so the risk wouldn’t increase or decrease there, either. So, would the risk of injury decrease? Yes, but it probably would be a relatively minimal decrease.
Scott from Jacksonville:
I can't imagine a coach who would hate being chosen for Hard Knocks more than Coughlin. I don't think I've bothered watching more than a couple episodes in the past, but I think I might tune in for the Giants too.
John: Yes, I would, too. It would be a “scene.”
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
This year I believe in a new draft philosophy: Best Available Quarterback; as in, get him!
John: That may well be David Caldwell’s philosophy come draft day. Between now and then, he must figure out if that approach is best for the franchise. If the best available quarterback – say, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, for instance – can lead the franchise for an extended period, then by all means: pick Best Available Quarterback. If not, no way. There will be pressure publicly to go BAQ, if “BAQ” is a thing. Caldwell, as he must, will make that decision not based on the pressure, but on what’s best for the Jaguars.
Clyde from Jacksonville:
O-Zone, are players allowed to talk with the media during the Senior Bowl practice?
John: No, but they can talk to with the media afterward. And as is always the case with people who play football, when they do speak, they say fascinating things that reveal much about life and its mysteries.
Paul from North Dakota:
Say, John, was wondering how much contact you have with all of the other team’s .com writers? Do you guys bounce ideas off of each other when you have the downtime when the season is over and we have to wait for the offseason events to occur?
John: If by “contact” you mean the other writers calling me, asking for professional advice, saying how much they admire my writing, wit and winning personality, then … well, no, there’s not much contact.
Matt from Erie, PA:
I'm very glad Poz (The Polish Punisher) got into the Pro Bowl –much deserved, and one of the best Gene signings of the past. Congratulations!
John: I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but yes, Paul Posluszny’s Pro Bowl participation is much deserved. Good, deserving player and even better guy.
Hugh from Live Oak, FL:
What’s your take about the Ryan Leaf draft sabotage? If that's how it really went down...that would definitely be Ryan Leaf for you!
John: The story you’re asking about involves former “superagent” Leigh Steinberg advising Ryan Leaf before the 1998 draft to skip a meeting with the Indianapolis Colts at that year’s NFL Scouting Combine. Steinberg said Leaf at the time did not want to play in Indianapolis, and preferred to be selected No. 2 by the San Diego Chargers. Steinberg said he figured Jim Mora – then the Colts’ head coach – wouldn’t want a player who skipped such a meeting. There’s not much need for me to elaborate on whether or not such actions would “definitely be Ryan Leaf.” I don’t know Leaf and can’t really speak intelligently on his character. I was around Mora for a year in Indianapolis, and it’s safe to say that he – like a lot of other coaches – wouldn’t be thrilled with a player skipping a meeting. I honestly don’t know that that caused the Colts not to take Leaf. Bill Polian was the team president at the time and owner Jim Irsay undoubtedly would have picked the player they thought was best with the No. 1 overall selection. They did, as it turned out, do just that when they selected Peyton Manning first.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
In 2005, the Jags selected Matt Jones in the first round. You were with the Colts during that time, so you weren't here to witness the onslaught of Arkansas fans, predicting their hometown hero as the second coming. Outside of Tim Tebow, nobody has ever received as much love on this site. It was, as Vic would say, a sexy pick, his measurables were off the charts, but there were a lot of red flags. They say people can change, but they also say a leopard cannot change its spots. How is a general manager to know which is true with a player?
John: A general manager doesn’t “know” – just as people don’t truly “know” what the future holds for another person. A general manager must talk to as many people as he can about the player, and he must find out as much information about a player. He must then consider that information and decide – based on his experience and perhaps even instinct – whether the player is worth the risk. Football players are human beings, remember, and with human beings there are rarely definites.
Chris from Palm Beach, FL:
While watching the Senior Bowl coverage, the Jags’ coaches appear very “likeable and enthusiastic.” I would imagine this will give the Jags an advantage for the undrafted free agents.Thoughts?
John: That could play a role, but likely not a huge one when it comes to undrafted collegiate players. The Jaguars could have an advantage there, but most of that advantage will come from the reputation Gus Bradley and David Caldwell have of wanting undrafted free agents and allowing those players a real chance to make the roster. The likeable and enthusiastic part is more apt to be a positive in unrestricted free agency. While UFAs are undoubtedly seeking the best contract, if the money is close they are often seeking a good situation. In that scenario, Bradley’s reputation as an outstanding coach for whom to play could work in the Jaguars’ favor.
Metal from Tallahassee, FL:
I'm sure kickers would love to lose extra points in their stats.Why not change it from a placekick to a dropkick? That way, there is some novelty to the try, and there is a legitimate debate between trying for one or two points. You may send this to thecommish and steal my credit, no worries, O.
John: I actually love this idea. It will never happen, obviously, but how cool would it be?
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 147:
I know it's early to talk about the seven-point touchdown, but I have one theory question. Currently MJD gets credit for six 6 points for a TD and Scobee gets one for the kick. If in the future MJD gets seven for the TD, who gets the minus-1 for the failed attempt?
John: When I first read this question, I had no idea the answer. I thought about it a while and still had no idea the answer. I asked my boss, Senior Vice President of Communications Dan Edwards, who has spent a career around NFL statistics and he had no idea. Us having no idea obviously won’t prevent the NFL from implementing such a rule, but someone’s gonna have some thinkin’ and splainin’ to do.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
There has been a lot of buzz regarding the league getting rid of PATs. Personally, I'd only be in favor for it if the teams had to go for two every time. If they score a touchdown, they get six points and they can go for two to try to get eight. None of this "automatic" seven business. Now, that would be interesting.
John: It would be interesting. It also might keep someone from having so much thinkin’ and splainin’ to do.
Marty from Jacksonville:
O-man, you gave the wrong answer to the half-the-distance-penalty question. The correct answer is, they march off half the distance if the marching off the penalty would take them more than half the distance.
John: You’re right. I thought my answer said essentially the same thing, but if it didn’t, yours is most definitely more correct.
Bill from Melbourne, FL:
In what year will the Jaguars win their first Super Bowl?
John: Oh, goodie! I love riddles. I don’t know. When!?
Peter from St. Johns from Section 242:
Morten Andersen, December 22, 1996. Still want to eliminate the "automatic" PAT?
John: I don’t want to eliminate either, but considering Morten Andersen was kicking a field goal that day, I darned sure wouldn’t want to eliminate those.
Cliff from Jacksonville:
As someone who was in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 22, 1996, I vote against eliminating the PAT.
John: Were you sitting with Peter? How much were stadium beers then?

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