ORLANDO – O-Zone, 2014 Owners Meetings Edition.
Let’s get to it . . .
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
A roof on EverBank Field to block heat and sun?? BLASPHEMY! The sun is to EverBank what cold is to Lambeau Field. That's the charm of these stadiums. It would be a travesty to put a roof on our stadium.
John: There are no doubt a few who agree with you. And never having sat outside in EverBank Field on a Sunday afternoon, I don’t have first-hand experience in this matter. I have, however, ducked away to find cover during enough training camp practices to empathize with those who wouldn’t mind some cover at EverBank early in the season.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Lately, I've seen a shift in a lot of the talking heads’ opinions on how much of a gap there is between Sammy Watkins and the rest of the first-round bubble guys, players such as Lee, Odell Beckham, Mike Evans and even Brandin Cooks. Do you see that as Sammy not being as good as originally thought, the other players maybe being a bit better, or perhaps they just need something to talk about?
John: The days, weeks and months leading to the draft are often hilly terrain for prospects. There is a process of building up, tearing down and eventually, paralysis by analysis. But yes, most of this has its roots in a whole lot of people – talking heads chief among them – needing something to talk about.
Todd from Stuttgart, GE:
With MJD most likely signing with another team, and Blackmon's future unknown, who would you consider the face of the franchise?
John: I have no idea, and it’s not as pressing a matter as some might believe. It will happen organically – and in due time.
Mark from Archer, FL:
Something that troubles me about the news media covering the NFL: You read reports that a team is trying to trade a player. Then you read another report that says the team will release the player if no one wants to trade. Well, does that not essentially make it impossible to trade get the player traded? Why would any team give up a draft pick if they know that the player is going to be released and they can sign them anyway?
John: In many cases in your scenario, the team often indeed is unable to find a trade and is therefore forced to release the player. However, there are also times that a team is able to get a sixth or seventh-round selection for the player because some team doesn’t want to risk losing the rights to that player by allowing him to hit the open market. As far as the media’s role in this process, there’s not much that can be done about it. It’s a media person’s job to report the story; not to worry about how it will change the dynamics of the situation.
J from Orange Park, FL:
I had an actual #shadricksighting, at the Irish Pub in Riverside. I said, “Hello,” and he was really cool. Kind of disappointed he didn't get into the shenanigans that we've come to know about through the Ozone. What gives?
John: Shadrick is a man of many moods, but let me ask this: are you sure that was Shadrick? At the Irish Pub? That doesn’t sound like him.
Jonas from Jacksonville:
I think Greg had a good point. If the Jaguars wait until their second-round pick for a quarterback, all of the top quarterback prospects might be gone. All of the teams expected to go quarterback early in the draft will have picked twice and the Browns will have picked three times, leaving the Jaguars with leftovers.
John: That indeed is the risk. What we don’t know and won’t know until the draft is who the Jaguars consider top prospects. If the only quarterbacks the Jaguars like are the ones who draft analysts consider “top prospects,” then, yes, there could be nothing but leftovers remaining in the second round. It’s quite likely that the Jaguars like more quarterbacks than that, which means it’s quite likely they could take a quarterback in the second or third round that they don’t consider a leftover.
Adrian from Inglewood, CA:
Finish this sentence: The more time passes by, the chances of the Jaguars resigning MJD ___________
John: Increase, but on a very, very small scale.
Charles from Orange Park, FL:
Why don't the Jags push to have the September home games start later to beat the heat as I believe this would increase ticket sales?
John: Start times are determined by the league. Pushing on the part of the teams really doesn’t have much influence.
Dave from Section 410 and Jacksonville:
I think Justin's idea of adding bye weeks has merit, especially with all the focus on concussions. They could put one bye in the first half and one in the second, or one per quarter of the season. This would add only three weeks to the season at most. This would keep more of the best players on the field and the product would be better.
John: In theory, your idea has merit and I could see maybe, maybe, maybe adding one bye week. I’d be shocked if the league ever had a bye in each quarter of the season – and actually I’d be really surprised if the season included two bye weeks again. The league had two byes once, in 1993. Television ratings were an issue because too many teams were off too often and teams didn’t like losing momentum twice a season.
Christian from the Westside, FL:
With the signings of Hood, Clemons, Watson, Gerhart & Bryant how much of our salary cap is left?
John: The best projection I’ve seen is from overthecap.com, which has the Jaguars about $25 million under the cap, and that’s about right. The point to remember is that the Jaguars still have the cap flexibility to make moves if they so desire and they should be in good shape in the coming seasons. That’s the big picture in any cap discussion.
Manning from Calgary, AB:
You've mentioned the Jaguars would maybe like to trade back in the draft to acquire more picks to build depth and I tend to agree. But I'm curious for your take on HOW FAR back? If you were the general manager would you have a "limit," for lack of a better word, on how far you'd be willing to drop? Or would it be open season and strictly based on the best offer you received?
John: I wouldn’t want to drop past the point where I could find an impact player, and I don’t imagine David Caldwell would want to, either. For that reason, I doubt the Jaguars trade back more than once and I doubt they would want to fall back past seven or eight.
Damien from Jacksonville:
John, could you give us a breakdown of position longevity? I notice we signed a few older guys on the defensive line. Is this a position that players can be difference-makers later in their careers? I know cornerbacks can play a long time and running backs tend to have short careers and was wondering about the other positions. Thanks!
John: It’s difficult to be too specific on this front, but generally speaking, quarterbacks, centers, kickers and punters probably play the longest, with other linemen and linebackers behind them, and defensive backs and wide receivers perhaps right behind them. Running back certainly is the shortest, and the lifespan and the length of effectiveness at the spot seems to be getting shorter.
Rudy from Baldwin, FL:
I don't pretend to be a scout, especially of quarterbacks. Also, I don’t see a quarterback worth the No. 3 selection, but after watching the two quarterbacks’ Pro Days on the site I actually am more impressed with Teddy then Blake. It seems Bortles aims the ball and has more air under his passes. Teddy just flung that thing. In a Pro Day setting, Blake's approach will seem more appealing. But Teddy has proven accuracy in game so it's less of a concern to me. I can't speak on body type because I haven't seen them close up but with just arm talent I don't think it'sclose. Luckily, Dave is a football genius so if he sees something I don't, I have no problem trusting him – at least initially.
John: I would say it’s actually pretty close in arm talent, and though I think it’s dangerous to fall in love with a quarterback based on a Pro Day, it was hard not to like how Bortles threw Wednesday. And although there has been the expected teeth-gnashing over Bridgewater’s Pro Day, I continue to believe that teams look more at game tape than Pro Day tape and that Monday’s performance probably won’t ultimately hurt his draft status significantly. I can speak on body type, however, and that’s one area in which there is a significant difference between the two. For what it’s worth, Bortles looks every bit like an NFL quarterback and for what it’s worth, Bridgewater is pretty small by NFL quarterbacking standards. For what it’s worth.