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O-Zone: Someway, somehow

Posted Apr 7, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Chad from Yulee, FL:
I would love to see Alex Mack with the Jaguars at any price. Now is the time to do that. We don't have anyone else requiring a big contract now. A drafted player that becomes an All-Pro won't need a new deal for at least four years. I say pay Mack the left-tackle contract, draft a guard in the middle rounds and let's play ball. In this year's AFC, who knows?
John: Mack is an unrestricted free agent who is currently the Cleveland Browns’ transition player. Any team has the option of offering Mack a contract. If the Browns match that offer, the Browns would retain Mack and the team making the offer would simply move on. If the Browns were unable or chose not to match the offer, Mack would join whatever team made the offer. Because Mack is a transition player and not a franchise player, the Browns would not receive any compensation from whatever team signs him.
Pete from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Hey, O-Zone – there were reports of the Alex Mack visit all over the place all weekend and nothing on jaguars.com … what gives?
John: There are some topics on which jaguars.com cannot report until something is made official. This is one of those topics.
Luis from Rincon, PR:
Leftwich couldn't play behind center; Gabbert had no pocket instinct but had all the measurables. If I were to pick a quarterback, I'd pick Bridgewater. Logical?
John: This is sort of like one of those little contraptions you had when you were a kid – where you could use it and sort of see an eclipse but only if you looked away and held it a certain way. I kinda sorta see the logic in your question, but in an abstract way – like trying to catch fog. … I think.
Dave from Section 410:
It's not the looks that will win the cheerleaders over, but the style and charm.
John: I have no idea what you’re talking about … but, well, yeah … I gotta ‘lil style and more than a little charm. Hello? Hello?
Strickle from Jacksonville:
What is the big hurrah about Gus saying Henne is the starter? He basically said the same thing last year regarding Blaine, but competition trumps intentions, especially in Bradley's world. If one of the rookie quarterbacks earns the spot, that's great, but there is no need to push him into action. And I hate to draw the obvious Seattle comparison, but I remember Matt Flynn being the "starter" a couple of off-seasons ago. Oh, one fer #competition...
John: Yes, one fer competition. The “big hurrah” for lack of a better phrase is people just can’t or don’t want to grasp that Chad Henne really is likely to start at quarterback for the Jaguars next season. The reason for that is the quarterbacks in this draft just don’t appear ready to start immediately, which is true despite the popularity of players such as Manziel, Bortles and Bridgewater among different draftniks, fans and even portions of the Jaguars’ fan base. The Jaguars have been pretty up front about this, and it jives with what you hear from many analysts and NFL people. So, yes, one fer competition – and one fer Bradley and Caldwell just telling it like it really is.
Jon from Fort Irwin, CA:
Why the hate from so many fans toward Denard Robinson? He was a quarterback trying to learn a whole new position in his rookie season. How about one fer patience, people!
John: Patience? C’mon, Jon … this is 2014, the age of Twitter and 24/7 news and instant judgment and analysis. The reality that most rookies don’t make much of an impact and that it takes time to adjust to the speed and the size of the game doesn’t fly in ’14. Seriously, though, I don’t get the idea fans hate Robinson. They’re just understandably skeptical after last season, but though he did in fact struggle he has returned 15 pounds heavier this offseason and seemingly focused on turning himself into a full-time running back. Fans may not have been patient, but the Jaguars have been and they’re confident he can play a significant role next season.
Darren from Section 408:
I don't understand all the fear of Clowney going to the Texans. I remember a left tackle named Boselli who manhandled a beast named Bruce Smith. I have confidence in our O-line being up to the task. I just wouldn't want to be one of them.
John: I never have quite grasped fans fearing division rivals getting certain players, either. NFL teams are going to have good players. If you worry about that you’re always going to be worried. There’s room for more than one good, contending team in every division. Look at the NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most talented, toughest teams in the NFL and they have a ton of good players. They played in the Super Bowl following the 2012 season. The Seattle Seahawks didn’t “worry” about the 49ers players. They kept improving, got better, beat them and won the Super Bowl this past season.
Michael from Ponta Vedra, FL:
With the Jaguars being pretty active in free agency on the defensive side of the ball, would you say it's fair to believe this year’s draft is going to be focused more on offense? I think we added a great group of new talent and experience to our defense. Now, we need to get more weapons and be more explosive on offense.
John: There are many who believe this is a very, very good draft overall – and there are those who believe it’s a better draft for offensive players than defensive players. There are also those who believe it’s a very deep draft. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell is among those people. Caldwell won’t tell you the building process is by any means done on either offense or defense, so he won’t pass on very good defensive players in the draft, but is it safe to say he wants to get better offensively in this draft? Yeah, it’s probably not a reach to say that.
J-School from Denver, CO:
O-Man! Will the fan draft be continued this year in some form? It's why I wake up in the morning for a couple of weeks before the draft.
John: It sounds like you have a better reason to get up in the morning in the couple of weeks before the draft than the rest of the year, but yeah, J-School – it’s coming back.
Maurice from Germantown, MD:
It seems Johnny Manziel is Gus Bradley’s type of quarterback with his leadership, passion, competitive nature and confidence – and we all know Gus preaches competition. It seems he would fit into Jedd Fisch’s creative offensive mind, too... If Clowney is off the board at No. 3, what are the chances the Jags trade back with a team like the Falcons – because of Caldwell’s ties with them – and draft Johnny at No. 6? Pick up some extra picks and still get our possible franchise quarterback.
John: Johnny Manziel without a doubt has a lot of traits that would seem to appeal to Gus Bradley. Competitiveness, passion, leadership – all of those things. But just because Manziel has flair and rock-star appeal doesn’t mean the other quarterbacks available this year aren’t competitive and passionate. And it doesn’t mean they’re not leaders. There are a lot of pieces to the franchise quarterback puzzle, and the Jaguars right now are in the process of deciding whether any of the quarterbacks in this draft has a complete enough puzzle to be worth selecting early. As far as your question about trading back, the scenario is simple: if you are sure you can get a player you like at No. 6 – and if you think the later picks obtained will get enough value to make the trade worthwhile – then you trade. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy decision, but that’s what a general manager has to decide. You don’t trade out of No. 3 if you’re going to be crushed by missing out on one player at No. 4 or 5. If one player is that important to you, then you take him at No. 3.
Julian from Fernandina Beach, FL:
You said you don't believe Clowney will be there at No. 3 for us to even consider taking while at the same time saying you think the Texans are leaning towards going quarterback with the first pick. Does that mean you think the Rams will go against the grain and take him at No. 2 or is that where the first trade of the draft happens and someone jumps up to take him? I personally think if he's gets past No.1 he's ours.
John: I think there’s a good chance a team would trade with the Rams to get Clowney if he’s there at No. 2. I also think that while I have said I believe right now the Texans will go quarterback that’s in no way set in stone. The draft is more than a month away and speculation will be rampant about everything within the Top 5 and beyond, but right now – a little more than four weeks out – it seems likely that somehow, some way in some scenario Clowney would go in the Top 2. As always, stay tuned.

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