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Let's get to it . . . John from St. Johns, FL:
As I remember, when Jack Del Rio was hired as head coach, he came in with a list of everything he wanted to do and who he was going to hire. Do you think Caldwell did the same thing? So Khan should not be surprised by any moves he makes?
John: Generally speaking, coaches and general managers enter the interview process with pretty much a "three-deep" list for key positions on their staff. A head coach would have three names for pretty much every assistant coach and also would have specific points about why each person was needed for which role. General manager candidates would have the same sort of chart for director of player personnel, director of college scouting, director of pro personnel and similar positions. And no, considering the extent of the interview process, I doubt Khan will be taken by surprise by Caldwell's moves.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
I am still trying to figure out if Caldwell having a role in the trade for Julio Jones is a good or bad thing. On one side of the argument, he gave up two first-round picks, a second-round pick, and two fourth-round picks for a wide receiver. On the other side, that wide receiver seems to be a very dangerous weapon and the Falcons were picking at the bottom of the order and figured to be doing so for the future picks. He has the same quality of Gene Smith in not being afraid to make a move based off of what other people thought of it (even though he wasn't the one making the decision). I'm excited anyway because there are plenty of respected people in the league who have a lot of great things to say about Caldwell and many who sounded as though if they had to pick a new general manager from the available candidates, he would be their guy.
John: I'll address your first point first. The Julio Jones trade is your classic trade scenario in the NFL, meaning that so long as the Falcons make the playoffs and Jones is successful, it's a great move. If something had happened where the team hadn't had success, Atlanta's front office would have been roundly criticized for the move. It's the ultimate NFL truth. If you win, what you do is genius. If you don't, you're an idiot. As for your excitement about Caldwell, yes, absolutely be excited. He has everything you want in a general manager candidate – good pedigree, good resume, winning background, sharp eye for talent, etc., etc. He's the guy Khan wanted, and with reason. Is there any guarantee he will be successful? No. There are no such guarantees in the NFL. He can be very good and not be successful. That's the reality of a competitive league in which much of what you do depends on conjecture, unknowns and human beings fulfilling potential. The NFL is a percentage game, and what you do as an owner when looking for a general manager or coach is pick a guy with the credentials you want, who brings the elements you want for the position, then you support that guy and give him the resources to win. After that, you roll the dice and hang on for the ride. There are no guarantees. If there were, it wouldn't be so exciting.
Schaefer from Los Angeles, CA:
What kinds of questions are asked in a general manager interview? I assume it's far different from a normal interview where the candidate mostly talks about their previous experience. Are they put on the spot to make hypotheticals with the current roster?
John: I wasn't a part of the general manager conversations, and though I can only assume that was a communication error, it stands to reason organizational structure, as well as scouting philosophy and roster building had to be foremost in the conversation. Certainly, Caldwell likely was asked his opinion on the quarterback situation, on the coaching staff and on what sort of things he seeks in people for each position. At the end, it comes down to the owner and general manager each having a sense the situation will work. If you don't have that, it probably isn't going to be a good fit.
Johnny from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Just a response to this notion that our new general manager might keep the current coach just to have the option of saying "well I didn't pick him" in two-to-three years if we're not seeing progress. This decision is on the new general manager, so if he decides to retain Mularkey then that's "his guy" and thus, the general manager should be held accountable for keeping him around if we're not seeing success in two years. There's no safety valve option here, he's accountable for all of his decisions from Day One.
John: And so it shall be.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
What's a reasonable timeline for the team to make a decision on Mularkey? I would think a Monday morning announcement either way would give Caldwell enough time to evaluate the situation and not leave coaches in the wind, but still leave plenty of time to move forward.
John: I'd expect something to be decided by Monday, maybe sooner. Any time with things unknown is difficult on coaches, so I won't say they weren't left hanging in the wind, but if something gets decided, that's adequate time for a staff to be assembled if that's what's necessary.
John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
What is there in David Caldwell's background and experience that makes him qualified to select a head coach? I do not see anything.
John: What was there in Wayne Weaver's background that made him qualified to select a head coach when he hired Tom Coughlin? What was there in Thomas Dimitroff's background that made him qualified to hire Mike Smith with the Falcons in 2008? Neither of those guys had ever hired a head coach before making those hires, and I'd qualify them as good hires. You know why Caldwell's qualified? Because Shad Khan decided he's the general manager and because he has spent nearly two decades in the NFL preparing for the day he had to make the decision.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
I feel better now. The Falcons have two players from Alabama, which leads me to think Mr. Caldwell knows the way to Tuscaloosa. In the Jags previous history we had drafted one player from Alabama. I know you find players everywhere but to only find one from 'Bama . . .
John: So glad you feel better. Keep us posted.
Daniel from Jacksonville and Section 146:
So, we hired a new general manager. Big deal. He sounds exactly like Gene Smith five years ago in terms of experience. Of course we want to know if he will keep Mularkey, but the playoffs are still going and there's football to talk about, any chance you could patronize us and talk about the teams that are still playing?
John: Sure. Friday. For now, yes, within the world of the Jaguars – which is the world I presume interests you if you come to this site – hiring a new general manager is indeed a very big deal. We'll probably spend a lot of time, most of the time, discussing it.
April from Cebu City, Philippines:
Reading about where the Jags are from a roster standpoint on offense and defense two things are clear, many holes and many unknowns. If I was the new GM, the thing I would want is MANY draft picks, preferably 11 or more. Do you see scenarios where we could trade back for more picks?
John: I do if teams want to trade up.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Do you feel Gabbert still has enough potential that it would be logical not to get desperate and start burning draft picks to fill a void? I think the smarter thing to do is use our first, second very wisely. We need help at the defensive tackle position, cornerback position and the offensive line. We could fix majority of these issues with a mix of free-agency and the draft. If Gabbert bombs next year, then let's see who is available in the 2014 draft. I just have a feeling this guy has too much upside to give up on when he's only 23 years old.
John: I do feel Gabbert has enough potential to merit another chance. He has every physical took you want, and when you look at him as a personnel guy it's phenomenally enticing because you can clearly envision how good he could be. It's a perfectly plausible scenario that he starts at some point next season, particularly if Caldwell determines there is a better direction to go in free agency and the draft. As I've said before, the issue with Gabbert is that he needs regular-season game time to develop, and if the team doesn't want to invest that time, he could have trouble getting another chance.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Part of my lunchtime routine is looking for the O-Zone. If it hasn't hit the front page, I'll dig in the News tab until I find it. Lunch at the desk, O-Zone complete with snarky comments, and a five-sided building up north. Gotta love it.
John: Get back to work. Your country needs you.

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