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O-Zone: One man’s burden

Posted Dec 15, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Bo from Desden, NC:
I keep seeing you say there is a chance the Jaguars trade for a starting quarterback. Do you think David Caldwell would even entertain that idea being we would have to give up a lot and the team needs far more than a quarterback?
John: I think David Caldwell will entertain anything he believes will make the roster better. When it comes to a starting quarterback or even a potential starting quarterback, there’s a premium on the position. That means the Jaguars would have to give up a premium price to acquire such a player. I tend to think it probably won’t happen, because the recent history of trading for backups and making them starters hasn’t been great. Would Caldwell do it? Well, only if he thinks the player is worth it, and a lot of conversations have to take place before that would happen. But he absolutely would entertain the idea.
Carson from Tampa, FL:
Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?
John: Red, gold and green …
Will from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Why not give D Rob a chance at corner or safety? Athletic, mind of a quarterback, inconsistent hands –sounds like a defensive back to me.
John: I don’t see this. Robinson’s best asset is his speed and ability to do special things with the ball in his hands. The Jaguars haven’t been able to take advantage of that asset yet – and yes, Robinson has struggled at times in his rookie season – but if he’s going to make a contribution he probably needs to be on offense.
Fred from Naples, FL:
With the possibility of Teddy Bridegwater staying in school for his senior season (and Mariota as well) do you think there is a possibility the Jaguars might turn to Jay Cutler in free agency and find a quarterback in the second- or third-round that Cutler could develop; similar to an Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay?
John: Why in the world would Jay Cutler want to develop a second- or third-round quarterback? I sure wouldn’t. Jay Cutler is a starting quarterback in the NFL and starting quarterbacks don’t “help” other quarterbacks develop. They play quarterback.
Brian from Mandarin, FL:
Drinking warm beer on a fishing charter, talking about how the fans cheered him wildly as he was drafted in Round 1.#Lagemansightings.
John: Handing out his business cards that just say, “Pride.”#Bosellisightings
Tim from Kingsland, GA:
With Ace Sanders and Maurice Jones-Drew passing for two touchdowns recently, why are we not seeing any of these "so-called trick plays" coming from Denard Robinson? He is the running back/quarterback/wide receiver weapon, right? We should see him doing more plays; why is he being limited to his amounts of plays?
John: Think about your question for a second. Look for the irony …look for it … good! Yes, if the player running a “trick” play was supposed to do “trick” plays they wouldn’t be very “tricky” now would they? Look, the Jaguars have many such plays. It’s quite likely there have been plays called this season for a variety of players that haven’t been run because the game situation didn’t present itself. As for the idea that you “should” be seeing Robinson doing more plays, I’m not certain what that means, but Robinson has been limited for a variety of reasons. He struggled with ball security issues early in the season and the Jaguars have been running effectively in recent weeks with a combination of Maurice Jones-Drew and Jordan Todman. There hasn’t been much room in the game plan for Robinson. If Jones-Drew is inactive Sunday, look for Robinson to play, though I can’t promise you’ll see what you believe you “should” see.
Neil from Orange Park, FL:
I recently moved to Jax but have been a Jag fan since the beginning. Help me out and give me your recommendation on your favorite restaurants for me to try.
John: Sbarro’s. ‘Nuff said.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
Dwight Lowery, GONE. Eugene Monroe, GONE. Jeremy Mincey, GONE. And others... I'm guessing in the grand scheme of things, Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley are eyeing some big-name free agents to possibly splurge on this offseason with all of the cap room we've accumulated.
John: The Jaguars indeed will have cap room next offseason, though in the case of a player such as Monroe it’s not actually accumulating cap space as much as choosing not to pay a player and therefore take up space with that player. But whatever … the Jaguars will have money and cap space to spend in free agency. I believe the Jaguars will partake in at least a small way in the so-called early wave of free agency, something they did not do last offseason. I don’t see it being a national-headline-grabbing foray as much as a supplement to the building process, though. That means that free agency will still very much take a back seat in the process compared to the draft.
Tyler from Waleska, GA:
There have been rumors of Teddy Bridgewater staying in school. Just goes to show that teams should never tank. If Bridgewater does stay in school that should put the proposed tankers to rest.
John: It should. It won’t.
Sam from Jacksonvillle:
When I see all this surprise that players have improved, or questions about "what changed" during the season, I have to ask: Why is it so hard to understand that these players aren't computer algorithms or blips on a TV screen? They are human beings who ideally are always learning and honing their craft.
John: I believe it’s difficult for people to see the human side of players – and to understand that they are capable of improving – because of a combination of things. Madden. Fantasy Football. Twitter. People talk about and analyze these players digitally so much that it’s easy to forget that their performance on the field actually may differ from the “grade” he’s assigned by the video-game manufacturer. As for always honing their craft, absolutely that’s ideally what players will do – and it’s a big reason I thought the Jaguars would avoid going 0-16 this season. With Gus Bradley as head coach, it was difficult to imagine this team not continuing to work together and not continuing to play as a unit. Not every team does that in the second half of seasons, and those that do have a significant edge over those that don’t.
Alex from New York:
I thought you celebrated laziness? You could be MORE lazy and even write better if you referred to Matt Scott as "athletic" instead of "an athletic guy." Seven less key strokes.
John: Or I could have been lazier.
Arnie from Fernandina Beach, FL:
O-Man, would you say we’re pretty healthy right now for NFL December standards? It seems like we are, and if so, is that probably a large contributing factor to our late success? You always said that late in the season teams will have significant injuries and this would be a reason as to why we wouldn't go 0-16! It's looking like that's the case.
John: The Jaguars actually have been pretty healthy in the second half of the season, though that obviously changed pretty dramatically this week with Johnathan Cyprien, Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts III and Will Rackley all questionable or doubtful as game-time approaches. I’d be surprised if any of those players play and if they don’t, that would be about as injury-weakened as the team has been this season. But yes, being healthy has been a factor in the Jaguars’ favor in recent weeks. Teams that get waylaid by injuries have a difficult time late in the season, and it’s a particular factor in the postseason. One of the most oft-overlooked realities in the NFL is that success in the postseason often comes down to quarterback and health, with the latter sometimes outweighing the former.
Duran from Rapid City, SD:
What kind of impact on the salary cap is going to be made with the release of Mincey? Does the organization still have to pay him the rest of his contract? Is there going to be any dead money from it? I wish the best to Mincey, and hope that he is able to get back on track and do what makes him happy. It seems as though he might have lost some of his passion for the game.
John: The deal Mincey signed to remain with the Jaguars in the 2012 offseason was a four-year deal, but it essentially was a two-year deal from the team’s perspective. That means it paid him most of the money in the first two years, with little penalty for releasing him after that. It was a four-year, $20 million deal with $9 million guaranteed. He has earned about $10.5 million, but he will not count against the Jaguars’ salary cap next season.
Joe from Jacksonville:
What's your handicap?
John: I care too much about others.

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