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O-Zone: Give me a chance

Posted Feb 5, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
We picked Bryan Anger instead of Russell Wilson. Gaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!
John: I get that this is a point of irritation for Jaguars fans, and I get that it’s a punch line. That’s not changing anytime soon, obviously, and that’s OK. But the Jaguars in 2012 had just drafted a quarterback in the Top 10 the previous year. However that pick – which was Blaine Gabbert – turned out, the Jaguars and/or few other teams would have drafted a quarterback so early so soon after the Gabbert pick. Talk about the value of Wilson/Anger all you want, but quarterback wasn’t going to be the first-, second- or third-round pick in that draft for the Jaguars. Will it irritate people for a long time? Probably. Is it time to move on? Just as probably.
Josh from Lynchburg, VA:
I wore my Jags jersey to the Super Bowl party I attended. Told people I was preparing for Super Bowl L. #StandUnited.
John: #StandUnited
James from Jacksonville:
Seattle has a good team with a deep roster and this was the Seahawks’ year. However, Denver played and coached very poorly. Seattle's defense got momentum early and played with the lead, but they didn't have an unbeatable defense. During the season, a physical running game (49ers and Bucs) and an up-tempo passing game (Colts) proved they could be the Equalizer of the Boom. It is important not to shy away from the running game.
John: You’re right, James. Seattle’s defense wasn’t unbeatable, because few defenses are unbeatable. I saw Jimmy Smith beat the Baltimore Ravens for 290 yards receiving in 2000, the year the Ravens had a defense for the ages. But the Seahawks’ defense is very, very good and keeps them in a position to win if the opponent doesn’t play at an extremely high level. That should put them in very good position moving forward.
Trent from Fernandina Beach, FL:
What do you make of the rumors that Kirk Cousins could be signed here and be the starter for years to come? Perhaps we could draft a later-round quarterback to sit behind him instead of Henne.
John: I’ll be honest: I haven’t heard much in the way of rumors on this front. I’ve seen a few random stories deep in the nether regions of the web who have tossed Cousins’ name out along with the Jaguars and other teams, but I wouldn’t place those in the rumor category. I’d be surprised if that’s the route the Jaguars go.
Nelson from Los Angeles, CA:
I know that quarterback is the No. 1 most important area of need and defensive end is probably second. Would you say that wide receiver is the third biggest area of need?
John: I would say in the long run the Jaguars probably need to continue getting as strong as possible all along the defensive front, and that includes interior as well. I also think the offensive line must get stronger on the interior. But wide receiver? Yes, in terms of need, I would say it’s up there.
Tom from Melbourne, FL:
I had a dream that I was trying to watch the draft and kept falling asleep. I woke up in the third round. Manziel was still on the board and we had drafted He Hate Me. So there's something to think about.
John: I had a dream once that I was being chased by a chicken with a giant plate of spaghetti and waffles. Nothing happened, particularly. It just faded off the way dreams do.
Adam from Jacksonville:
Do you think it would be foolish for David Caldwell to sit on his hands and miss out on talent such as Michael Johnson, Byrd, Mack, Verner, Jason Worilds? Three of those signings could drastically change how this team can approach the draft in 2014. You snag a high-paying FS such as Bryd, you pair him up with Cyprien. You get a show-me contract with Michael Johnson and give Alex Mack a fair contract for the center position. This eliminates the need for a first-, second or third-rounder for a defensive end, center and free safety and you can focus on a quarterback, wide receiver/running back or outside linebacker.
John: None of these ideas are foolish, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Jaguars explore all of them. A possible exception is signing Byrd; I doubt the Jaguars do that. The problem, of course, is that “exploring” is one thing while “executing” is quite another. Can you get Michael Johnson for a show-me contract? What is fair for Mack? Will some team pay more than is fair and will the Jaguars match or beat fair? If the Jaguars were the only team in the NFL and no other team would pursue players they covet – then, oh, free agency would be quite the ideal player-acquisition method. My point here is not to shoot holes in your plan. It’s a fine plan, but if Caldwell doesn’t sign three of the players you listed it doesn’t mean he’s sitting on his hands. More likely he’s trying to execute the offseason within a more realistic operating framework.
Bruce from Gotham:
While reading the O-Zone, a lady friend I was 'entertaining,’ leaned over and asked “Who is John?” I looked at her in disbelief and asked 'You don't know who John O is? He is only the most interesting man in the world. He lives vicariously through himself....he also once parallel parked a train!” She then started to Google you. Stay thirsty, my friend.
John: Did you tell her about J.P. Shadrick?
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
Has the concept of teams "buying" draft picks ever been considered by the NFL? Besides the normal draft order, trades or compensatory picks, say the Jags want to get another third-round pick: could they pay X amount of millions to do so? Maybe give up the rights to a future pick by using that pick in the current year? It would definitely change the dynamics, strategy and economics of the draft and building an NFL roster.
John: It would change the dynamic. It also would run counter to the league’s approach of parity and that any team regardless of market size and revenue has an equal chance to win the Super Bowl.
Gene from Savannah, GA:
I agree that Harrison should be in the Hall over Reed, but I believed Reed was possibly third best behind Marvin and Jimmy Smith during that time.
John: The careers of Harrison (1996-2008) and Reed (1985-2000) didn’t really overlap too much, and Smith (1992-2005) sort of overlapped both, but I wouldn’t argue with your assessment.
Seth from Jacksonville:
From here on in, if the football gods let every team win a Super Bowl, it would still take a team 32 years. Winning it is hard, and for many fans, just won't happen in their lifetime.
John: Yes, that’s why winning it is a big deal.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I think there are free agents looking for a contender to play for, but the younger the guy is, the more he's interested in the money. I don't think young guys are willing to sacrifice the money to play for a contender. Mario Williams left a division-winning, playoff team to go to the bottom-dwelling Bills in a division with the Patriots. Money talks. If we're talking older veteran players, then yes, they want to win, but I don't think the young guys we'd be looking at would pass up a big payday to play for a "contender.”
John: My experience is that players are looking for the money no matter their age. Older players are often being offered significantly shorter contracts for less money than younger players, so they often choose a contender. But if they were being offered franchise status most wouldn’t turn it down. I sure wouldn’t.
Josh from Kokomo, IN:
Do you think Denard Robinson will grow into a larger role next year? Or is he just not adapting to his new position?
John: I think he’ll get a larger role if he earns it, and he has to earn it by eliminating ball-security issues and being more consistent. The Jaguars still very much believe he can do this.
Tim from St. Petersburg, FL:
It seems that teams with the franchise "guy" at quarterback and the huge cap hit precludes signing a lot of other good defensive players and that hurts the team during playoffs. Manning, Brady and Brees have salaries and what little cap the team has goes to offensive weapons to support the quarterback. The defense suffers. These quarterbacks put up great numbers during the season playing poor to average defenses, but have trouble during the playoffs because they are playing better defenses and their own defense can't stop anybody. Thoughts?
John: I think this is a theory that you’ll hear thrown around because Denver lost the Super Bowl. I also think Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees get their teams to the postseason almost every year and have combined to play in nine Super Bowls with five victories in their careers. If you consider Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger elite, that total goes to 15 Super Bowls with nine victories, and that’s a big chuck of the last decade and a half or so. Having a franchise quarterback gives you a chance every year. The NFL is a very competitive league in which matchups and injuries play a huge role. Give me the guy who gives you a chance every year and I’ll take my chances that I’ll win enough Super Bowls to be pretty content with my body of work.

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