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O-Zone: Painful truth

Posted Jul 12, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Michael from Longwood, FL:
I remember when Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell was hired in January 2013 he said he very much liked our scouting department, and didn't foresee making many changes. To my knowledge, there haven't been any changes reported through Jaguars.com, but I do know Chris Polian was brought on, and I just learned from the Andy Dengler video we switched from BLESTO to National. When did this happen, and can you tell us any other changes that have been made organizationally in our scouting department?
John: Caldwell didn’t make sweeping organizational changes in the scouting department, and the changes he did make came in the 2013 offseason shortly after his first draft with the team. These were reported in early May of 2013 jaguars.com as well as other outlets that cover the team. The changes included the hiring of Director of College Scouting Kyle O’Brien, Assistant Director of College Scouting Paul Roell, Eastern Regional Mark Ellenz and Polian as Director of Pro Personnel. As Dengler noted in the video you cite, the Jaguars have indeed switched from the BLESTO scouting service to National, a change that occurred this offseason.
Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 215:
I think you're the greatest, but my Dad says you don't work hard enough on defense.
John: I’ve been nervous lots of times.
Shannon from Brunswick, GA:
Since you talk of being a big fan running backs such as John Riggins and Earl Campbell, do you remember William Andrews of the Atlanta Falcons? He was great! If not for a devastating knee injury, I believe he was on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career. Dude was awesome when healthy! I was recently watching old You Tube clips and he reminded me of Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker before there was a Bo or Herschel.
John: Andrews indeed was awesome when healthy, and though he didn’t have the speed of Jackson or Walker he was phenomenally productive when healthy. He rushed for 8,382 yards in five seasons from 1979-1983, but sustained an injury in a 1984 training camp practice in which he tore three of the four major ligaments left knee. He played sparingly in 1986 before retiring, but you’re right – although he was underpublicized while playing and perhaps somewhat forgotten now, he was special.
Brandon from Duval:
So, I think I can recap the dead zone thus far. Dan Marino will start for the Jags when he is ready for rings and Marqise Lee will sign when Blake Bortles puts his tongue back in unless Colbert and Olberman mock the size of his TV and pool. I think I nailed it.
John: #Moodachay
James from Westside is the Best Side:
When I rate a quarterback it's not for his success, but for how he played the game. Example. Shouldn’t Jim Kelly be considered one of the elite or best of his time? Sure, he never won a Super Bowl, but he carried his team there four times and lost to better teams/coaching. So, with my philosophy I would vote Dan Marino as the best quarterback of all time. What say you, sir?
John: I say when people say Marino is the best I don’t argue vehemently, because I believe he’s in the conversation. And I say Jim Kelly often is significantly underrated.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
What are the limits on full pads, shells and contact during training camp? The Collective Bargaining Agreement must have spelled out max per camp, max per week, etc.
John: NFL rules state that teams cannot practice in pads during the first three days of training camp. After that, they may have one padded practice a day through the end of camp. Players have at least one day off a week and five total days off in camp.
Ken from Jacksonville:
I was out running at 5:30 this morning around EverBank Field and the video boards were on. They're cool. I like them.
John: Yes.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
What's the deal with Jordan Todman? He seems to be overlooked in the running back conversation. He played well in his lone start last season – albeit against the Bills – and he had a pretty big role on special teams. Is he too small to pass protect? What’s your predicted running back depth chart on the 53-man roster?
John: Todman indeed played well last season when he had the opportunity and I’d expect him to be the top backup this season to Toby Gerhart. His strength indeed is as a runner more than protection or receiving, but I’d still say he’s the top option to start if Gerhart is unavailable. Projected depth chart: Gerhart, Todman, Robinson and Storm Johnson.
Troy from York, PA:
Everybody was saying the reason the Jaguars drafted two wide receivers in the second round was because obviously they were moving on from Justin Blackmon, but do you think it's just an insurance policy in case CSIII goes down with another concussion and ends his career?
John: This is a question I get from time to time, and it’s understandable considering how much we hear about concussions these days. But I don’t know that it’s necessary to sweat this issue with Shorts more than you would another player. He sustained two concussions in 2012 on hits that almost certainly would have caused concussions on any player. Could he sustain another concussion if he takes another such hit? Sure, but every player is at risk of a concussion if he sustained a blow to the head. If that was the Jaguars’ strategy then they would have had to draft insurance policies at every position – not just wide receiver.
j from Orange Park, FL:
You answered James from Cedar Falls with: “There’s often a fine line between being a legend and being a trivia question.” That's an awesome quote. I had to look it up and turns out it's an #OehserOriginal. Like how I'm trying to start a new trend? In fact the only closest saying I found was, “There’s a thin line between being a hero and being a memory” and that was said by the great Optimus Prime.
John: I stopped reading at “awesome.”
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Kudos to Cecil and Mike for going to Fitz's camp. I know these types of things are voluntary and I love that Cecil sets the example for younger players. With that said, did Lee and Robinson's invitation get lost in the mail?
John: One thing that sometimes happens when players put in extra, voluntary work is players who don’t do the same get criticized. That’s not right. Players do need time off, and that’s especially true of rookies such as Lee and Robinson who have been involved in the pre- and post-draft process. Also, Lee and Robinson missed much of the offseason with injuries, so I doubt the Jaguars wanted them working out on their own in Minnesota anyway. Credit to Shorts and Brown for going, but it doesn’t make other players wrong if they don’t go.
Tudor from Saint Augustine, FL:
Annnddd Lebron James just proved to the world why you build through the draft and not the mercenary market. Boy, did Wade get dusted on that one.
John: Dwyane Wade got two championship rings during Lebron James’ four seasons with the Heat, and spent four years on the highest-profile team in the NBA – not to mention one of the most high-profile teams in sports. I assume he drew a salary from the Miami Heat during that time and I think he also made some endorsement money – at least I think I recall that. Oh, to be so dusted.
Jared from O-Town:
I recently read an article where Aaron Rodgers was quoted as saying he's a strong believer in not starting rookie quarterbacks too soon. I've heard other pundits say the opposite, particularly about the Jaguars and Blake Bortles. Is his starting more about developing his skills or more about the team around him becoming better first? Or is it really a little of both at this point?
John: It makes sense Rodgers would say that. People’s beliefs often are necessarily shaped by their own life experiences, and Rodgers’ experience is that backing up Brett Favre was positive for him. Pundits are going to come down on either side of the issue, and they’ll usually come down on whatever side has worked most effectively most recently. If Bortles sits for a time and is successful when he starts, teams almost certainly will follow that example; if he fails, teams likely will stay away from the approach. As for why Bortles isn’t starting this season, it’s because he’s not ready yet and needs more time before he’s ready to start. The Jaguars drafted him with that in mind, and it’s not a surprise or disappointment that that’s how it will play out.
Nick from Virginia Beach, VA:
We are both summer kids and I love gift cards as well. Can we be best friends?
John: Yes. Wait … no.

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