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O-Zone: Full-on greatness

Posted Mar 8, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

T.J. from Huntsville, AL:
Two years, $8 million with $4.5 million guaranteed … I am not very into player’s salaries, John, but I am wondering, “Is this backup quarterback money these days?” Seems to me like starting quarterback money. Am I wrong here? Is this a sign that we definitely will not be drafting a quarterback at No. 3?
John: I received many versions of this question after Chad Henne agreed to terms to remain with the Jaguars Friday, and while the conclusion you’re starting to draw is understandable, it’s not necessarily correct. The Jaguars wanted to keep Henne and to keep him, you had to pay market value. What they paid him makes sense for a guy who’s not a franchise quarterback but who the team expects has a good opportunity to start a good number of games next season. That’s the message from this move more than anything else – that it’s quite likely and even probable that Henne will not only start the season but start for a while next season. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; it’s what David Caldwell and Gus Bradley have been saying pretty much since the end of last season. That doesn’t mean the Jaguars won’t draft a quarterback No. 3 overall. That’s still a possibility, but it depends on Caldwell and Bradley determining if a quarterback at No. 3 is the best move for the long-term for the team. That’s a decision they must make in the coming months, but it has nothing to do with Henne remaining with the Jaguars.
Will from Jacksonville:
Smuggling out a set of four seats removed from the north endzone and loading them into the back of his truck. #ShadrickSightings
John: Shadrick actually has a BMW, not a truck. Do with that information what you will.
Greg from St. John’s, FL:
Any chance Joeckel, Pasztor and Bradfield all start the beginning of the season? Any chance someone moves to guard?
John: There’s always a chance, though in this case I’d call it a very, very slim one. The Jaguars re-signed Bradfield this week with the idea that he and Sam Young will compete for the backup swing tackle position. If a slew of guards were injured, then maybe Bradfield could move inside, but that’s not the intent.
Duran from Rapid City, SD:
With arguably one of the most important re-signings done with Henne, who else do you see the team inking deals with before the start of free agency? I think it would be wise to re-sign Will Blackmon and Alan Ball.
John: I expect Will Blackmon to be re-signed very soon and I’d be stunned if he’s not with the team next season. Alan Ball is still under contract with the Jaguars.
Steve from North Haven, CT:
Transition Tag. By your explanation, isn't this exactly what the Jags are going to do with Mojo with the exception that they didn't use the transition tag and Mojo can just jump ship even for less money to another team? Once the transition tag came to light, this we will see if the offer is worth matching stuff is a smoke screen to let go of MJD without backlash.
John: I’m not sure how much of a correlation there is with the transition tag and how the Jaguars approached Jones-Drew’s free-agency status. The reason the Jaguars didn’t use the transition tag on him is they didn’t want to guarantee him that amount of money. And really, there’s no smokescreen. The Jaguars are open to bringing Jones-Drew back, but it obviously has to be at a very low contract. If he gets something better, he’s almost sure to be playing elsewhere.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
Glad Caldwell and Henne got it done. Bring in a brand new vet? Put a kid in a must-start-soon situation? Give me a guy who won with little around him, knows the NFL, knows the system, knows Gus' culture, has the trust of the team, and has proven durable any day. Options wide open in May!
John: As much as anything, that’s the idea of signing Henne. He gives the team options, not only during the NFL Draft in May, but at the beginning of next season. The Jaguars don’t want to be forced to take a quarterback at No. 3 if they don’t believe he’s a difference-maker, particularly if there is a difference-maker available at another position. Dave Caldwell has said that more than once, and I imagine we’ll hear it a few more times this offseason. And even if the Jaguars do take a quarterback at No. 3, there’s a very good chance that player may not be ready to start the season. That’s a tough concept for Jaguars followers to grasp, but it’s the truth. Henne’s presence allows the Jaguars freedom to draft who they want and to play whoever they draft when they want. That’s the big reason for bringing him back.
Mike from Lexington, SC:
Since the center position is slim to none in the free-agent market, why don't the Jaguars slide Mike Brewster to center (where he was an All-American at Ohio State) and get a couple of guards in free agency?
John: First, I don’t know that the center market is “slim-to-none.” There are no big-name centers, but I’m not sure there are a lot of “big-name centers” signed or unsigned. There are some solid players at the position on the market, including Evan Dietrich-Smith of Green Bay and Brian de la Puente of New Orleans. As far as Brewster, he’s an option, but as far as moving him over and handing him the starting center job, that won’t be the case.
Tucker from New York, NY:
Not to overanalyze, but does Manziel inking a major endorsement serve as further indication that he is dangerously distractible by the off-the-field stuff?
John: Not really. It shows me he is smart and very marketable.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
John: In your humble opinion, do any of the young, never-started-a-game offensive linemen on the roster have any potential to grow into starters? Or, are they just backups?
John: I don’t know about the never-started-a-game guys, but there’s a chance you could see Jacques McClendon and Mike Brewster competing for a role next season. Also, don’t overlook Sam Young as an option at swing tackle.
Gpp from Savannah, GA:
Mr. O, I'm confused! When I went on the live cam of the stadium all I saw were the old scoreboards and no visible construction. What gives?
John: Construction is a process that often starts with deconstruction. Demolition will begin soon, and then you’ll start seeing the “visible” construction you crave.
Scott from Tampa, FL:
With all the discussion around Jacksonville needing a quarterback and who we might take in the draft what is happening with Matt Scott and Ricki Stanzi? Last year the coaching staff seemed very high on Matt and perhaps if given a shot could be a real steal as nobody is talking about him when the QB position is brought up. What are your thoughts?
John: I think Matt Scott will have a chance to compete for the Jaguars’ third-quarterback position.
Brett from Jacksonville:
Will the video boards be finished before the USA soccer game?
John: The video boards are expected to be installed before the U.S. Men’s Soccer National Team plays Nigeria at EverBank Field June 7. They are not expected to be functional at that point.
Richard from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Wait for Winston next year? I don't think so. If the Jags improve as we expect next year 8-8 will draft around 16th. No way a potential franchise QB is available.
John: If you believe the only place to get a franchise quarterback is the Top 5, then right, there won’t be a franchise quarterback available at No. 16.
Bobby from Jacksonville:
In our recent past, our team has made too many "small-market" (desperate) moves by reaching for the "gotta have," "need" player with red flags (Blackmon, Gabbert I'm talking about you). There are not a lot of "clean" players that fit a need but what are the chances we actually draft the best available player at 3 like Watkins, Robinson or Mack and live with the backlash?
John: Not to be argumentative on a Saturday morning, but I don’t know that the Blackmon or Gabbert selections had anything to do with market size, and there wasn’t much talk – if any – about red flags when either of those players was drafted. In fact, they were pretty much lauded as good moves at the time. As far as what the Jaguars will do at No. 3, the best way to put it is that General Manager David Caldwell will pick the player he wants to select. Backlash will have nothing to do with it.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
If the Jaguars bring home two Super Bowls within the next decade or so will Shad Khan be known as the greatest man in the history of Jacksonville? Not just in Jag history. With the work he does, donating money, and civics … I can already see a Shahid Khan public library.
John: Shad Khan certainly would be up there in your scenario. But when discussing greatest men in Jacksonville history, don’t forget Florida Times-Union sports columnist Gene Frenette. My boy is “Sneaky Great.”

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