JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, with the excitement surrounding the new renovations, would the Jaguars consider opening up the stadium Week 1, turning on the scoreboards and letting people watch? This could build a great level of excitement about the team and the stadium for the Week 3 home opener. Thanks!
John: Bill! Whaddup! Did you know this is the 994th-or-something-close-to-that-consecutive-O-Zone! Isn’t that awesome! Your question is a good one, but no, the Jaguars will not show Jaguars road games at EverBank Field. League rules don’t allow it. Your idea would be cool, but I’m starting to get a feel for the scale of these renovations and I think the excitement will be there anyway.
Michael from Atlanta, GA:
Who did the readers mock to the Jags last year in the reader mock draft? It's amazing how hard it is to project where a player will go.
John: The readers mocked Dion Jordan to the Jaguars at No. 2 overall last year. So, there’s that.
Limo Bob from Neptune Beach, FL:
I think there are going to be three or four teams trying to move ahead of Cleveland for the first quarterback. If we trade and miss on the next Drew B. Or Ben R. can that cost a GM his job?
John: I think you may be overestimating the trade market for this quarterback class. As for the main point of your question: not winning consistently costs general managers their jobs. But because of the importance of the quarterback position, missing on one doesn’t bode well.
Dave from Section 410:
JO1K. It doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as it should, but we'll get used to it.
John: I don’t know … that’s close enough to JOKE that it will probably stick.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Okay, retry: do you think there is a player on the Jags’ draft board that we would take no matter what was offered? With the exception of a Ricky Williams deal!
John: No. I think no matter who is on the board at No. 3 overall the Jaguars would consider a trade back. It couldn’t be a trade for a cup of coffee and a video game (well, maybe if it was a really cool video game, like, say, Blades of Steel), but generally speaking, if a team had a good offer of second- and/or third-round selections I think the Jaguars would listen very seriously.
Shelley from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Did you realize that the past five seasons the team that visited Philadelphia on opening day has gone to the playoffs? One fer making it six...?
John: I did realize that. We shall see …
David from Warwick, Bermuda:
This probably doesn't have any effect on the actual Jags football operations, but if Fulham gets relegated from the EPL, could that affect the Jags-in-London cross-marketing functionality of this franchise?
John: I’m a simple man, of simple means, and I understand simple words. I don’t know about all that cross-marketing-functionality stuff, but what happens with Fulham won’t affect how the Jaguars try to build their international fan base.
Jon from Nijmegen, Netherlands:
I think Clowney reminds me of Mario Williams. Even Williams had some issues in college where he would "disappear.” Who doesn't need another Mario Williams?
John: You’re right in that just about every team could use Williams. Your question got me to thinking, though … Clowney faces a very difficult road in his career. It has been a loooooooong time since a defensive player has entered the NFL with such expectations. I honestly can’t say there has been a defensive player under so much scrutiny since I started covering the NFL in 1995. Williams was scrutinized a lot early in his career because he was selected over Reggie Bush and Vince Young, and while he has had a very good career, if Clowney has a similar career he probably would be perceived by some as a disappointment. I wonder what it will take for Clowney to live up to the expectations? A Lawrence Taylor-level career? Bruce Smith? Reggie White? That seems to be what it would take, and those are phenomenally high standards. That’s not to say I wouldn’t take him if I was a general manager with a Top 5 selection. But it strikes you that Clowney could be very worth the selection and that he could have a very productive career and still be considered a disappointment. Tough going.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
In the first couple of rounds do you think Dave Caldwell looks only at BPA or drafts with what other teams do? e.g. Texans draft Clowney. Do we draft Matthews/Robinson to counter that?
John: I think David Caldwell looks at each round trying to get the best player to fit what he needs to do to make the Jaguars better. While he doesn’t ignore teams in the Jaguars’ division, he’s trying to build the Jaguars to win 16 games, not one. If the Jaguars take an offensive tackle in the first round this year it will be with the idea of making the offensive line as a whole better, not simply because the Texans happened to draft a pass rusher who might be good.
Darrelicious from DTWD:
Here's a draft scenario fer ya: the Vikings offer their 8th overall, their second-round and both third-round picks for the Jags' #3 pick. Would you take the deal?
John: Yes, I would. And I would laugh. Oh, would I laugh.
Nick from Philadelphia, PA:
O wise one, can you shed some light on how participation in the National or BLESTO scouting organizations works? How much information gets shared? I'm assuming each organization could more or less operate on its own, but use the organizational resources as a supplement.
John: You have it pretty much right. BLESTO and National are the two scouting services that teams use as a way of gathering what is best referred to as preliminary reports on college players. BLESTO serves about eight teams, including the Jaguars. Most of the rest of the league uses National, while teams such as New England, Baltimore and Atlanta do not use either service. Teams typically pay annual “dues” of about $100,000 to either service and provide one scout to the project. As a group, the scouts observe practices around the country, and the information is shared between participating teams. This is very much at the early information-gathering stage of the process. Decision-making, ranking players and any pertinent, difference-making detail is done by the individual teams and not shared.
Steve from Section 206:
"As for drafting both he and McCarron …" come on John, it's drafting him. Your grade-school teacher would be ashamed.
John: If you think she’s ashamed, you should talk to my high school strength coach.
Chris from Mandarin:
I love the schedule this season. It could give the team a chance to really establish itself early. If things break well for the Jags early in the season, the first five games could really set the tone early. It could be brutal, but hey. I can't complain.
John: True. While many, including myself, see the early schedule as potentially being very difficult, the flip side is it gives the Jaguars a chance at a very good start. Opening with the Eagles and the Redskins on the road isn’t easy, but you know what? The NFL isn’t supposed to be easy. If you beat those teams, you’re 2-0 and you’ve broken serve twice. In the tennis world, it’s very good to be up “two breaks.”
Joe from Jacksonville:
I do not watch any game film but I watch A LOT of NFL Network and consider myself basically an NFL/NFL draft analytical expert. The Jags need to target Aaron Murray. Watch Jon Gruden's commentary on Russell Wilson when he was selected and his path to the draft segment. It is basically the same thing he says about Murray, so the Jags need to pick Murray. Pass this along to Dave and it should save him a lot of time over the next two weeks. Let me know if Dave wants my contact info for any future tips.
John: On it.
James from Atlantic Beach, FL:
What a lot of people aren't realizing is that MJD is not the same player that rushed for 1,600 yards a few years ago. I won't say he's done, I think he is but I still won't say it, but he's not going to gain 1,600 yards at Oakland this year. It isn't going to happen.
John: We’re not going to turn the next few days of the O-Zone into projecting how Maurice Jones-Drew might do next season, and what the perception will be if he does well or poorly. I think most people realize the odds are very slim that Jones-Drew will match his productivity from 2009-2011, when he was one of the NFL’s best backs. Backs typically don’t re-ascend to an elite level. If anyone can do it, Jones-Drew probably can. His determination and drive shouldn’t be underestimated, but it certainly would be considered a surprise in NFL circles.
Ron from The Bluff:
Have you noticed that Gus uses every opportunity to say "opportunity"? Do you have a favorite word like Gus? O-man, take advantage of this rare opportunity to reveal yourself to us.
John: My favorite word is confusion. I’m not sure why.