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O-Zone: Real success story

Posted Mar 1, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

David from Sweden:
Where do you see the Jaguars standing with wide receivers? How early in the draft should Caldwell and Bradley reach for one and what do you think about those under contract now? Also, how big is the need for Blackmon’s return if at all?
John: The Jaguars are better at wide receiver than two seasons ago, but it’s still an uncertain position that needs to improve. The same can be said of most positions on the Jaguars’ roster. The team is approaching the draft and free agency very much wanting Justin Blackmon to return next season but scouting and targeting players with the assumption that Blackmon is not a sure thing. As for the receivers on the roster, Cecil Shorts III is a very good player capable of being a good No. 2 receiver, and Ace Sanders can be a very good slot receiver. I also think Mike Brown can contribute consistently. As far as when the Jaguars should take a wide receiver, I think they’ll consider Sammy Watkins in the first round at No. 3, and if they think he’s the best player available, they’ll take him. I think it’s more likely they take wide receiver on Day 2. Breaking down the “need” for Blackmon to return is tricky. Would the Jaguars be better with him on the field? Sure. If that’s need, then they need him.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
John, we lost a member of the family. Paul Figura passed away early Friday morning. He was a fixture in the local community for his photography skills. Paul was fortunate enough to freelance for the Jags. If you have a Jags or ROAR wallpaper on your computer, chances are Paul took that photo. RIP Paul. You will be missed.
John: Indeed.
Vitaly from Asheville, NC:
If you were running the 40, but at the end of the strip there was a mirror, would you run towards it, or away from it?
John: I’d probably trip 15 yards from the finish.
Luca from Buffalo, NY:
I get that Caldwell is not going to spent loads of money in just one offseason, but doesn't the team have to reach a cap floor? Isn't Caldwell forced to spend a bit to hit that benchmark?
John: No. Teams must spend 89 percent of the cap over a four-year period, but there is no specific cap floor for any one season.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
The fact that Tim Wesseling and Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Network ranked Eugene Monroe fifth of all upcoming free agents and Maurice Jones Drew 70th shows me that most of the analysts or "experts” really don't have a clue as to what they're talking about.
John: I believe it’s “Chris” Wesseling, and you feel about he and Rosenthal really doesn’t bother me either way. But they’re probably not as far off as you think.
David from Poker Room:
Hey, O …think David and Gus are poker players? Think they are holding the cards very close? Think they would tell anyone what they are holding? Kind of like the draft. Tell ‘em what you want‘em to think you're doing on draft day. YOU GODDA KNOW WHEN TO HOLDEM!
John: Son, I’ve made a life … out of reading people’s faces …
Trent from North Dakota:
Because the crop of receivers in this year’s draft seems to be very good and deep does that affect the contracts of free agent wide receivers this year?
John: I suspect it will slow the market for free-agent wide receivers outside of the first-tier, and I suspect that some players who might ordinarily have been second- or third-tier wide receivers might have to wait until after the draft to figure where they’re going to fit. I doubt it will hurt the market value of the first-tier receivers much, though. The top guys in free agency – or at least those perceived as top guys – usually get paid.
Fumo from New Beford:
What does our cap situation look like? I'd like to see a BIG pick up from free agency this year. Do we have enough room for a B - or even A-ranked player if one were to drop into free agency?
John: The Jaguars have ample cap space, though the final cap hasn’t yet been announced. There is room to make such a move, but remember: the Jaguars’ plan is to build through the draft and they’re really not one “BIG pickup” away from elite status. I expect the Jaguars to be active in Tier One free agency in the sense that they’ll target and pursue certain players, but I expect they’ll stop short of breaking the bank in ridiculous fashion for any one player.
Jordan Little Valley, NY:
You hear all these comparisons for Johnny Manziel but one name that's never mentioned is Mark Brunell.
John: You’re right.
Jesse from Gun Barrel, TX:
Jaws says JOHNNY MANZIEL will drop to the third round or lower. Jaws says Johnny cannot play and nobody wants him.Your thoughts on this.
John: I think Ron Jaworski knows a lot about quarterbacks and that his thoughts reflect what many believe about Manziel – that in a league in which a premium is placed on being able to stand in the pocket and win games with your arm, that’s not really Manziel’s skill set. There are those who feel differently, who believe that Manziel is a special player who can win in the vein of mobile quarterbacks who excel when the play breaks down. Those who believe as Jaworski does believe Manziel could slip from the first round; others believe he’s a Top 5 player.
Chad from Section 149 and Orlando, FL:
O-Man, assuming your gamble to be correct and the Jaguars take A.J. McCarron in the second round, how would the team handle the inevitable awkward moments of J.P. and A.J? I just imagine J.P. following him around like a puppy dog no matter where he went. #Shadrickrestrainingorder
John: I don’t know how that situation would be handled, but you’re not wrong … let’s just say that.
Andrew from Crawfordville, GA:
With all the talk of the talent/depth in this year’s draft, would you expect possibly four or five eventual starters versus the normal two or three in an average year?
John: I think teams hope they’ll get about one more starter and one more contributor in this draft than might normally be the case.
Matt from Clemson:
Other than game tape, interviews, and measures of players' physical abilities, are there other "obvious" factors that play into how teams grade players that we (general fans) have not learned about? For example, coaching. How much does the college coach for which the player learned under impact players' grades?
John: Game tape and measurable are the primary tangibles scouts use when measuring a player, though character and off-field issues certainly are in the equation. Coaching factors in, but it’s more of a tiebreaker than a critical part of the equation. First, a well-coached player often is going to have better fundamentals and therefore is going to show up on tape. Second, a general manager may have a higher level of trust for a player who comes from a certain program than another.
Keith from New to Section 112:
How is Manziel's style of play any different than Tebow's? So,why do people think he can be successful in the NFL if Tebow couldn't?
John: Manziel relies on quickness and escapability when he runs whereas Tebow largely relied on power; NFL teams tend to like quickness a little more. Manziel also is perceived to be *bit* more of a prototype passer and a bit more accurate.
Alan from Mandarin:
Maybe I'm way off, but I see a whole lot of Tim Tebow in Johnny Manziel: Inspirational leader, improvisational player, great athletic skills, surrounded by superior talent. And like Tebow, I'm not certain how that translates in the NFL where there is talent and great athletes everywhere, and playing within a structure gives one the best chance to win.
John: Yes, there’s no doubt that’s one of the concerns about Manziel.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Eli Manning - 218 pounds, two Super Bowl rings versus Tom Brady. Any more questions about Teddy's weight ceiling?
John: Yeah, there probably will be.
Kent from Jacksonville:
Regarding the comments about Teddy Bridgewater's lack of "ceiling," can I just say that Peyton Manning had a "limited ceiling" label placed on him when he came out of Tennessee. I say a winner is a winner.
John: That’s a strong argument fer Teddy. The book on Manning entering the draft indeed was what you said – that you wondered how much better he could be whereas Ryan Leaf had unlimited potential. That obviously turned out to be a phenomenally wrong assessment, with Manning improving significantly throughout much of his career. There are no sure things in scouting.
Bill from Jacksonville:
I love that when I sit down to eat lunch there is always a new O-Zone waiting for me to read. Thank you!
John: Well, look at me … just reaching all sorts of dizzying professional heights.

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