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O-Zone: Setting him straight

Posted May 14, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mike from Nashville, TN:
O-man, love the O-zone: Read it every day to get away from work. I noticed a statement the Duval Takeover (David Caldwell) artist made while speaking to J.P. Shadrick that he's not necessarily tied to the quarterback, but to all the guys on the roster. I thought that was on point, especially under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, where first-rounders (especially quarterbacks) don't get as much guaranteed money. Also, if you look back at the dark ages with Gene they failed not because of Blaine, but because other drafted players can't even find work in the league after leaving the Jags. What are your thoughts on Dave and Gus being fully tied to Blake's success?
John: I think Caldwell’s point is a good one, and it’s a point I made with the previous regime as well. A general manager and a coach are indeed often tied to a quarterback in the sense that when a team wins the quarterback usually is playing well and when it loses he’s often playing poorly. But it doesn’t have to be the case that a general manager’s fate is tied to the quarterback. If, for instance, Blake Bortles were to play poorly and the Jaguars still improve steadily and have a talented roster around him, then Caldwell and Gus Bradley could well be judged on that. Or, if a quarterback were to play lights-out and beat Bortles out – admittedly, not a likely scenario – then they would be tied to another quarterback. More often than not a general manager and coach don’t succeed if a high-profile quarterback doesn’t, but it doesn’t have to be the case.
April from Pooler, GA:
Hi, John. Do you think the Jaguars may have been targeting Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy when they traded back into the second round since the trade was announced a while before the Jags were on the clock (and Ealy was then selected one pick ahead of Allen Robinson)?
John: No. The Jaguars liked Robinson and had him on about the same level as Marqise Lee, the player they selected at No. 39. When Robinson was available 22 spots later, they made the move up to get him. He was the target.
Mark from Raleigh, NC:
Can you thank Shahid, David, Gus and the whole draft room for me? We have had back-to-back years of awesome draft years of people giving us “A”s!! Last year, they did an amazing job and this year probably better. They are cleaning up the years of poor drafting and managing and they are doing it faster than I thought.
John: #Standunited
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
One thing I don't really understand, O-man. The stated logic from David Caldwell/Gus Bradley is to sit Bortles in 2014. This is so he can learn and not get beat up on the field. My question is what difference is the O-line protection going to make for one year? Are they saying they don't believe the o-line can protect or simply put Bortles isn't ready? As a season-ticket holder I hope the Jags are doing everything within their power to win every game every year. Enough of this rebuilding mode.
John: I haven’t heard Caldwell or Bradley say anything about sitting Bortles because of the offensive line. They want to allow him to develop at his own pace. It has nothing to do with the line.
Brian from Mandarin:
Too much love-fest; let me help. I believe we under-drafted offensive line. I was looking for three or four in the fifth round or earlier. Historically, well-documented injuries and underachievement have taken their toll here. Playmakers cannot make plays without time. We gotta keep Henne healthy so we don't play Blake before he is ready. Don't mind me, I am just fretting. I'll get some counseling and a cocktail or two. I'll be OK.
John: Have one for me – and two for Shadrick. It’s OK to fret and it’s OK to have concerns. David Caldwell addressed this Saturday when he was asked pretty specifically about the offensive line. He emphasized that he wasn’t really concerned about the offensive line, and emphasized it more than once. He has faith in the group being put together. Time will tell if he’s right.
Tim from Crescent City, FL:
The Jags signed undrafted rookie Deandre Coleman from California. I read that he was projected to somewhere in Rounds 2-3. Did the Jags get a steal with him?
John: If he makes the team and turns out to be a good player, then yes. Absolutely.
Ben from Indianapolis, IN:
John, we all assume that Justin Blackmon will not play at all during the 2014 season. Do you see any chance of him returning in 2015 if he is reinstated or do you think the Jags will cut him once he is reinstated? Hate to lose such a talented WR.
John: There isn’t a whole lot more ground to break on this story. If/when he is reinstated by the league, I’d say he still has a chance to play for the Jaguars. Right now we just don’t know if/when that will happen.
Justin Time from Athens, OH:
The Jaguars’ front office was very honest in the State of the Franchise address. The people in Jacksonville need to pay close attention to those charts and graphs because they speak louder than words. While much has been accomplished, many challenges lay ahead. The fans and local city government MUST support this team, especially in the club seats and general seats sellout areas, or this road could get very bumpy!
John: The front office was as honest on Tuesday as it was last year. Which is to say, “Very.” Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and President Mark Lamping have been direct and transparent that there are challenges that face the team in Jacksonville that are unique to the market. They have been equally transparent that improvements such as the video boards and the renderings that they are beginning to float likely are necessary long-term to make the franchise work here. At the same time, they have matched that directness and transparency with innovative ideas such as the London initiative and other commitments to create a plan to meet the challenges. Making the franchise work in Jacksonville isn’t easy, but it’s doable. Events such as Tuesday’s are designed to allow fans and followers of the team to see the scope of the plan.
Ryan from Clyde, OH:
Swerving all over the road, changing lanes without looking, running stop signs, all while some passenger holds on terrified for his life. #Shadricksighting
John: Let’s just hope it’s not with an early draft pick.
Charlie from Jacksonville:
Some people are just way too conservative and rigid in their thinking, as in the Meester-jacket naysayers. It reminds me of a story about my best friend in high school. It was a tradition for high school seniors to go to Disneyland for Grad Night. Back in 1973 there was a strict dress code (since relaxed a bit) that forbade wearing jeans for Grad Night. So my buddy promptly had a full tuxedo tailored out of denim and had a great time there.
John: #Shadricksighting
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
I know better than to be shocked when guys projected to be starters are released by Caldwell, but again, even if Will Rackley would've lost the job to Brandon Linder, wouldn't it be better to have him as a backup or at least let #competition sort it out?
John: Apparently not.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
What is the rationale behind not allowing players and coaches to interact during certain periods? I know that's the way it was collectively bargained when they agreed on the last CBA, but what is the logic behind it. I understand a desire to make sure players aren't working 365 days a year, but if it's not mandatory, I don't see why a player shouldn't be able to meet with a coach, or watch tape with a coach, or run drills with a coach. If a player and a coach are both willing to go above and beyond to sharpen their craft, why stop them?
John: The logic is to protect players from implied workouts. If you don’t put rules in place banning interaction between coaches and players, coaches almost certainly will hold “voluntary” activities. Some coaches would certainly view these as truly “voluntary,” but it is the nature of coaches that many would strongly imply that it would be a very good idea for players to attend. There would also be an implicit pressure on players to “keep up” with those players who are attending the voluntary workouts by attending them themselves. This is a copycat league where coaches worry about someone outworking them. Without rules in place, the temptation to pressure players into working “involuntarily” can be very real.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
Does Bortles know you're still the face of the franchise?
John: There’s a meeting scheduled Thursday.

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