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Not sure what to think

Kicking off Franchise Tag Friday with a little O-Zone. Let's get to it . . . Paul from Jacksonville:
People are reading way too much into Gene's statement on not being as aggressive in free agency this year. To pick up the number of impact players we did last year was a combination of timing, availability, really good scouting, cap room and coaching (after the moves were made.) That was NOT a typical free agency period by many, many measures. We could still pick up players that would result in a significantly upgraded offense without bringing in the number of guys we picked up last year. Put another way - yes, we need help on offense, but we don't need half a dozen new guys to fix it.
John: I've probably erred on the side of writing too much about this topic this week, but only because it seems to be THE Jaguars topic of discussion these days. We're in a period of waiting and speculating right now about free agency, and as such, stories like this get written, they get analyzed and they get regurgitated to the point of sometimes being unrecognizable. As we head into the weekend, let me just say I think you have pretty much nailed it. The Jaguars most likely aren't going to sign multiple high-profile free agents, but to say they're not going to be active and try to upgrade is just way too premature and not what was said. I also think you touched on a point that hasn't been discussed enough. The Jaguars needed many, many players in free agency last season – two safeties (although Lowery was a trade), two linebackers, defensive end, nickelback. That's six positions. I don't know that there's a crying need at nearly that many positions entering free agency. At least one wide receiver, perhaps two. Defensive end/cornerback. That's a significantly shorter to-do list. Now, back to regurgitating and analyzing.
Mark from Jacksonville:
O-Man. Thank you for putting the mentoring Gabbert question to rest.
John: Oh, to have that sort of power.
Jeff from Siler City, NC:
What is your take on Jason Campbell as a backup? Seems if a deal was reasonable, he would be a good quarterback who has just had some bad breaks that could serve as a good fit behind Gabbert, or is he looking to be a starter again? TGIF to the Big O!
John: Campbell makes some sense, because in the case of injury to Gabbert, he could certainly start. Chris Redman of Atlanta also seems a possibility. He obviously knows Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey and coordinator Bob Bratkowski, which means he's familiar with the offense. Just a thought, and while it's sort of an obvious one, it's one that makes some sense at the quarterback position.
Spence from Utah:
Please let Mo Claiborne fall to us at 7. I don't see him falling to us, but it's a nice thought.
John: I smiled when I read it.
Dewey from Port St. Lucie, FL:
I'm from New Smyrna Beach and now live in South Florida. South Florida is a different world than North Florida, and Dolphins fans are completely different than Jags fans. There are Dolphins fans that have been Dolphins fans since before the Jags, but any Dolphins fans since the Jags' inception living north of, let's say, Vero Beach could have just as easily become a Jags fan. The younger generation NFL fans that don't really know what team to root for can easily choose the Jags over the Dolphins if there was more coverage. The Jags NEED to be aggressive in expanding the fan base, and they cannot stop short. Do you think that moving in on what was once was considered Dolphins and even Bucs territory is part of the plan? I'm really sick of Dolphins' balloons in the checkout aisle at Publix . . .
John: I think the plan is still in the process of being developed, and that obviously will be one of new President Mark Lamping's primary focuses. I haven't spoken to Lamping in detail on the matter yet. He just started Monday and it's only fair to let him get a feel for the dynamics of his new position and the nature of the market. I expect him to address these areas soon enough, but without question expanding the fan base means expanding into markets perhaps not previously thought of as "Jaguars markets."
Chris from St. Augustine, FL:
I'd like to see the players at the combine run the 40 in full pads. That would be a better indicator of their football speed.
John: Not to be snide, but it doesn't really bother me either way. I see your point, but the combine is a place for data-gathering. As long as all players are in the same environment under the same rules, then the scouts are able to get an accurate measure. That's the important thing from an evaluation standpoint.
Doug from Ponte Vedra and Section 118:
If Tannehill has a strong pro day, how will that improve the value of our No. 7 pick?
John: The better his pro day, the more value the No. 7 selection has. I would say that's the best chance for the Jaguars to trade down – if they indeed want to do so.
Jason from North Pole, OK:
Steve Wyche wrote an article about Hines Ward deserving the Hall of Fame. Do you think he will make it and should he?
John: No and no.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
Byron Leftwich, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Reggie Nelson, Derrick Harvey. Isn't this list the real reason we have so much cap money? Not because we haven't spent in free agency, but because we have no good draft picks to retain? What normally uses up the most cap money for good teams--draft picks or free agents?
John: The best teams typically use much of their cap re-signing their own free agents. And yes, those players not being re-signed without question allows the Jaguars to be under the cap. But as far as the idea that the Jaguars haven't spent in free agency, I disagree. They spent big in free agency last season. Just because it wasn't enough to appease fans doesn't mean they didn't spend.
Justin from Utah:
With the seven pick Ingram and Floyd should be there. Which player are you higher on, and which one do you see us taking out of those two guys – providing Blackmon and Claiborne are off the board?
John: Given that choice, Ingram. I don't see the Jaguars taking Floyd, and I wonder if Ingram is enough of a pure pass rusher to merit a Top 10 selection.
Greg from Neptune Beach, FL:
"You just cannot go throwing money at free agents. Look at the Redskins." Did Don mean the same Redskins that ended up with the same record of the Jags last season? Those same Redskins who have the same playoff record as the jags over the last decade? The Jaguar philosophy of under-spending has not shown any better results on the field than the Redskins who over-spend in free agency. It's not about how much you spend but how you evaluate talent. Both organizations are trying to emerge from a period of sub-par GMs who regularly misevaluated talent. There's nothing wrong with spending boatloads of cash IF you get players who are great fits. Agreed?
John: Not entirely. Yes, you must sign players who are fits, but even if you do that you run the risk in free agency of having to overpay and sign players who are older. And older players are significantly higher injury risks. That's why the draft must be the major part of your building process. You get younger, ascending players at more affordable prices and you keep your roster flexible in terms of the cap.
Joe from Section 104:
I have heard a lot about Mario Williams from Houston as a possibility for a defensive end acquisition – considered to be one of the best etc., etc. I have not heard much about Cliff Avril from Detroit. Local guy, young, showing improvement, is he a Gene Smith kind of guy, or am I missing something?
John: Avril would make a lot of sense, but all indications are he won't hit free agency. I expect the Lions to either franchise him or sign him to a long-term deal. All indications this morning are that one or the other will happen by Monday.
Logan from Jacksonville:
The Jags and Gene Smith should seriously target Peyton Hillis. It brings in a big name, sells jerseys and tickets, is cheap with big upside, clears two spots for one (release DJ, sorry, and Harris) and frees up a spot for what is really needed. Jennings wouldn't have to hurry up to get back, plus that could the best 1-2 punch in the NFL. If you think last year's achievements were amazing – and they were – next could be even greater. What you think?
John: I honestly have no idea what to think . . .
Jarett from St. Augustine, FL:
With the recent release of Hines Ward from the Steelers, would/should he be a target for the Jaguars? Even though he's been in the league forever and his "star" performances would be limited, he's also known for working with younger receivers on their game. IMO, the Jags would be stupid NOT to get him. Thoughts . . .
John: . . . and I still don't.

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