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O-Zone: Mary, Mary …

Posted Feb 8, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Marcus from Jacksonville:
Dave Caldwell has said the team has come to a consensus on their Top 5 guys, assuming they don't trade away the No.3 pick. How much is that likely to change between now and the draft? I know the combine and Pro Days will be a big part of player evaluation, but are the Top 5-to-10 players pretty well set at this point?
John: Actually, what Dave Caldwell said Thursday before the final Season-Ticket Holder Fan Forum was that he had a pretty good idea the top five guys. That doesn’t mean the list absolutely can’t change, but unless something drastic happens at the combine or a Pro Day, it’s probably pretty close.
Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
I hear what you're saying: quarterbacks getting a team to the postseason is important. I value, in addition to that, a player's "clutch," meaning how well they play when it matters most. Some players, for one reason or another, seem to elevate their play in those circumstances. Some players (some may argue Peyton Manning fits this category) play worse. In your opinion, is this a real attribute? Maybe it's just a combination of circumstances and team play.
John: I think a lot of it is circumstances and team play. My problem with people trying to analyze “clutch” play is selective memory, and that which games qualify as producing “clutch” performances and which ones don’t are often arbitrary. For instance, Tom Brady was considered off-the-charts clutch early in his career when he was leading teams to Super Bowl victories. Since 2004, the Patriots have lost two close Super Bowls and a close AFC Championship Game. I don’t think he’s any less “clutch” than he used to be, though some people might feel differently. Is Colin Kaepernick less clutch because Richard Sherman made a great play late in this year’s NFC Championship Game than he would have been if Sherman’s arm was two feet to the right or left and Michael Crabtree had caught the ball? Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and other elite quarterbacks have to win a lot of games to get their teams to so many “clutch” moments. Somewhere along the way, they must have made clutch plays at big times.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Do you see the Jags addressing WR in free agency, the draft or both?
John: I think it’s more likely in the draft.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
I'm reading the O-Zone and watching SportsCenter, and in someone's opinion, Chris Johnson will be playing elsewhere in 2014. Is CJ2k washed up? Could he offer anything to the Jags? An MJD and CJ2k combo looks nasty on paper.
John: I would be surprised if Chris Johnson is playing with the Jaguars next season. I’d be surprised if the Jaguars invest very much in any veteran running back if it’s not Maurice Jones-Drew. And I’d frankly be surprised if they invested all that much in Jones-Drew.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Forty thousand to twenty thousand alters quality of life to a different degree than $10 million to $5 million. Give me reasonable wealth, glory, and immortality in history over exorbitant wealth and perpetual losing any day. Also this just in! Tickets at Idealistic FantasyLand will be 50 percent off this weekend in honor of popular Ozone topics. Get yours today!
John: I’ll bet if you made $5 million a year you could figure out a way to make your quality of life better with $5 million more.
Todd from Devil’s Advocate Island:
Maybe this will put things into a more "common person" perspective ... a crappy job making 60k – or a job you enjoy, making 45k, with better benefits, cheaper insurance premiums, more job security, free child care. Stuff like that makes a difference for you and me (well me at least), just like a better chance to win a Super Bowl would make a difference to a professional football player. I know of many athletes that have taken a pay cut, moved teams or other similar actions to have a chance to win "the big game.”
John: I know of a few athletes who have done that, too, but as I said at the beginning of the conversation a few days ago, those athletes are usually close to the end of their careers when either their chances at true elite-level contracts have passed because of age or when they have made enough and are financially secure enough that they can make a championship decision. A player who is in the prime earning stages of his career – i.e., that so-called first contract – almost certainly would never take $5 million a year over $10 million a year. He just wouldn’t.
James from Jacksonville:
To comment on Dan from Lambertville's comments about not supporting the Lions … not a good time for that. Jim Caldwell is coming to town. With the Lions already packed with talent, they could be a Super Bowl contender next year. Can I get one ferJim?
John: Sure, one fer Jim!
Gary from Centerville, OH:
In response to Scott from Atlantic Beach, another factor to consider if you are thinking about trading for someone like Cousins is he is closer to his "second" deal. This gives you less time to figure out if he's "the guy," and he becomes a bigger cap hit sooner for a team that still has a lot of needs.
John: You’re correct, though those might best be thought of as secondary factors rather than primary. If you’re trading for a quarterback, you should be a little more sure that he can function in the NFL than you would be with a rookie, which means you’re hoping to not spend much time determining his “guyness.” And if you think he’s the guy you’re not overly stressed about his cap hit. If a quarterback is the guy, he’s going to take a lot of cap space.
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
When you open your account to read the mails do you have a favorite like 'Peter from Maribor, Slovenia - Oh, I must read this first' and J.P. from JAX, FL 'I'm just gonna pass on this one?'
John: I do have a favorite. It’s not, “Peter from Maribor, Slovenia.”
Mick from New Castle, IN:
I really appreciate the Jaguars and you sharing information and continually updating fans. I believe it definitely strengthens the bond between team and fan. My question is compared to the rest of the league is the transparency and openness of the Jags unique? I feel sorta spoiled.
John: I wouldn’t say it’s unique, because unique means no one else does it. I don’t know enough about every team and every team website to honestly say that’s true. I can honestly say that when it comes to sharing information with fans, the Jaguars are as transparent as they can possibly be, and that Gus Bradley and David Caldwell legitimately try to be as honest and forthcoming as they can possibly be with media and fans. Not every team does that. Not even close.
Kal from Hagerstown, MD:
What do you think is the most important position to be addressed in the free-agent market this year? Any players in particular? Also, what is your take on the No. 3 overall pick in the draft?
John: I don’t know that it’s absolutely vital that the Jaguars addressany particular position in free agency as much as the team needs to address certain areas in free agency and/or the draft. I say it that way because what the Jaguars don’t need to do is get so desperate for a veteran at say, center, that they sign a free agent who’s not a good fit. But it’s safe to say the Jaguars would like to address offensive line in free agency, and that they could address defensive line in free agency too if the fit is right. Dave Caldwell made it clear at the recent fan forums that he’d like to get some veteran starters somewhere in free agency. That’s important because the Jaguars would like to have fewer rookies starting next season. To get into that situation, they will need to add some veterans capable of starting and playing well.
Frank from St. Augustine:
Do you think that Justin Forsett is in the Jags plans for 2014?
John: I wouldn’t say it’s a lock.
Chris from Crestview, FL:
Mark Brunell was our best quarterback up to this point and was acquired via trade. It's about value; when you can acquire a player that will start you do so.
John: I got several emails to this effect, and it’s certainly true that there are arguments for and against trading for a quarterback. Remember, though – Brunell was a relatively unknown entity when the Jaguars traded for him, and Tom Coughlin saw something he thought could be developed. That’s great and it worked out. More often than not in recent seasons, quarterbacks who flashed for a game or two with one franchise haven’t worked out particularly well after being traded to another franchise. That’s because more often than not teams just don’t trade franchise quarterbacks. There will be a chorus of responses to this saying, “But Cousins may be the exception.” Indeed he might, but I’d be surprised if that’s the Jaguars’ path this offseason. We shall see.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Not to be a contrarian ... but we DID trade for that Brunell guy.
John: Well, at least you’re not being contrarian.

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