JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
If the goal is to draft players who become good enough to re-sign after their rookie contract is up, and if left tackle is one of the three top positions in terms of importance, why didn't we re-sign Eugene Monroe? He seems to exactly fit the mold of the type of player who is considered a success in the draft.
John: While Eugene Monroe is a very good player, this front-office and coaching staff didn’t feel he was enough of a fit for this offense to pay him “second-contract” money. Remember, Monroe wasn’t drafted by this general manager or this coaching staff. Often when there is a regime change very good players aren’t re-signed for a variety of reasons.
The Grabster from Jacksonville:
The former Eastern Illinois quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, is cool. I like him. Can I get a one fer Jimmy?
John: No doubt.
Ty from Jacksonville:
I'm sick of draft talk already. We aren't even out of January. Quick thought on “not the draft:” Since our stadium has too many seats for our market, would it be possible to make several sections with larger adult man size seats, and maybe a little elbow room between seats? I know we like to pack people like cattle as a society, but since this organization is striving to be unique, that would show it.
John: That’s actually not an awful idea, though I don’t see it happening. The too-many-seats-for-our-market problem should be alleviated for the most part this year. The video boards and accompanying improvements will eliminate just about as much seating as had previously been eliminated by tarps.
Ron from Section 118:
Is there any word if Jerry Sullivan is coming back again next season, or will he retire? Or is it too soon to tell? Would really like to have him back next season.
John: Sullivan is returning for 2014. How long he coaches after that, I don’t know.
Josiah from Jacksonville:
I sent you my "scouting report" or prediction on who the Jaguars should take in the draft for our first five draft picks … You didn't post it, and that sucks...I really worked hard on it. This is my team, too, and I want the best for it.
John: Yes, I received it, Josiah. I receive many such emails from people outlining their thoughts on the draft. They rarely get posted because they’re not as much questions as reader predictions on the draft. Those are fine, they’re just not usually posted in the O-Zone.
Bruce from Jacksonville:
I believe that if the Jags sign a GOOD young defensive end in free agency (i.e. Michael Bennett or Michael Johnson), draft one of the big three quarterbacks (Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles), and get a running back in the second round, then we will make the playoffs next year. What are your thoughts?
John: I believe you’re a very optimistic person and that’s fine. Optimism is good. There’s no reason to be otherwise. Realistically, the Jaguars might be one more year of building away from playoff contention, but that may be the cautious old man in me speaking.
Doub from Harrisburg, PA:
To Scott from Jacksonville regarding Jackson de Ville: He is recognized as the second-best NFL mascot, behind whatever the local team is. As far as the NFL network goes, they talk about him as the best.
John: … Well, there you have it.
Lewis from Villages:
Same as it ever was, Johnny O: every team that won this weekend outrushed the other team. Three of the losing teams threw for more yards than the team that beat them – Denver being the exception. Drew Brees threw for three times as many yards as Russell Wilson. Got to run the ball and stop the run this time of year. Great games.
John: I’m more of a stop-the-run and got-to-establish-the-threat-of-the-run guy. Defensively, there is no doubt you usually can’t win in the playoffs if you can’t stop the run. On offense, it’s essential you at least make the other team believe you can run. That puts the defense in schemes and formations that allow you to pass. But yes, getting the advantage in those categories sets up a lot of advantageous situations.
Dennis from Macclenny, FL:
John you are cool. I like you.
John: I admire your taste.
Richard from Jacksonville:
Terrence Knighton was a bulldozer for Denver Sunday. Would this be one we should have kept reference age, money and future potential or was he just a no-fit?
John: Sure, if you would have known that Knighton would consistently play at the level he has played in Denver this season, he would have been a keeper. He hadn’t done that the past two seasons in Jacksonville. Considering this regime was starting from pretty much Square One and trying to establish a new culture, that made keeping him a difficult proposition.
William from Savannah, GA:
O-Man, if you were general manager and Jerry Jones called wanting to make a trade, would you swap first-round draft picks if it meant getting Tony Romo in the deal?
Jimmy from England:
If a general manager believes a player is a 'Franchise' Player it shouldn't matter the position or how high you take them because surely the first round is for 'Franchise' Players. So, at No. 3, if there is no quarterback/defensive end worthy of the tag, but there is a franchise offensive lineman/wide receiver/linebacker, surely we take them right?
John: It still depends on the position. You wouldn’t take a guard or a center at No. 3, and it’s also difficult to justify taking a safety or middle linebacker there. It has reached a point in recent seasons where it’s increasingly difficult to take a running back at No. 3 overall. If it’s Adrian Peterson, for example, you take him at No. 3; otherwise, probably not. And by the way, stop calling me Shirley.
John from Elmira, NY:
I see Jeremy Mincey had two tackles and a sack for Denver on Sunday. It seems he found some motivation playing in front of a national-television audience he didn't exhibit in Jacksonville. I like pros who bring their lunch bucket and heart every day just like John Oehser.
John: I like lunch. I have very little heart.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
I feel like we're in our own mini-"Dead Zone." The Jags aren't playing, and it's too early for anything else (free agency, draft, etc).
John: I have that feeling, too. I expect it will change somewhat next week when the Jaguars’ coaching staff and much of the support staff works the Senior Bowl. That’s the first real event of the offseason, and when the looking-ahead-to-the-draft really begins in earnest. And by the way, stop calling me Earnest.
Jack from Jacksonville:
Count me among the group of people who don't care who we draft. Quarterback, pass rusher, etc. As long as the player we draft becomes, at worst, the third-best player drafted in 2014, I don't care what position he plays.
John: One fer a good player.
Trey from Jacksonville:
The Texans also had J.J. Watt when they went 10-6 and 12-4. The Falcons have Matt Ryan and went 4-12.
John: Yes, I suppose we can go round and round on this. The debate is whether pass rusher or quarterback is more important, and if there are those who truly believe “pass rusher” is the answer I’m probably not persuasive enough to change those minds.
Christopher from Richmond, VA:
I don't know why we wouldn't go pass rush before quarterback. When thinking about quarterbacks that are slightly above average names like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco come to mind and both have Super Bowl wins. I am still one for take the best player that fits a need. Don't reach for quarterback because they can be found later in the draft – i.e. Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick. It is a team game and quarterbacks can only do so much, which is evidenced by Matt Ryan this season. What do you think?
John: I think the idea is to make the postseason every season, which gives you a chance to make a run at the Super Bowl when your team is healthy. I think to do that you need a quarterback playing at a high level. Do you have to draft one in the first round to get it? No. Do your chances increase if you take one in the first round? Yes.
Danny from Jacksonville:
There are a few intriguing receivers that might hit free agency. Do you see the Jaguars pursuing somebody there? I assume we'll address this position in the later rounds of the draft, but it seems like this might be one of the areas Caldwell needs to dip into free agency for as well, especially since Blackmon is an unknown at this point.
John: I could see Caldwell looking there in free agency, though it likely wouldn’t be a big-name player there. This draft has gotten better at receiver in recent weeks with the influx of underclassmen at the position declaring for the draft. The Jaguars have 10 selections in that draft, so it stands to reason receiver could be addressed there.
Noah from Jacksonville:
People have been speculating that you guys could get Michael Vick, or fan fave Tim Tebow, or heck, maybe even make Denard Robinson
starting QB. I was wondering who seems like the most likely candidate right now.
John: I’m going Bobby Douglass. Then, again, I’m a visionary.