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O-Zone: A few good reads

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Ron from Jacksonville:
All I want to see out of this free-agent class is a right tackle and Randall Cobb if he's available. I could live with Julius Thomas, but seeing our cap room grow year after year has been one of the primary reasons I believe in the direction Caldwell has this team going in. If Cobb isn't there to help with the return game, it's not worth spending on a wide receiver when you have three young guys who look like very good players. Just get what you have to have and keep the cap in good shape.
John: If all you want to see is a right tackle and one other player, it's safe to say you'll see more than you want to see out of free agency – though it stands to reason right tackle will be a target. Cobb makes a lot of sense as well, but considering what it will take to sign him, he needs to be a major factor in the offense and have an impact that far outreaches the return game. As far as the Jaguars' long-term salary cap health, it's not a huge concern. The Jaguars have plenty of room to sign significant free agents and still not have cap problems going forward. The key is to be smart in the process.
Jake from Hamden, CT:
'Zone, you can't fool me. Looks like you've managed to take your long-standing feud with Scobee to the next level. Well played, sir. Well Played #HackingbyZone #Deadzone
John: I truly wish I could take credit for Scobee's "situation" this week, because he apparently had the pleasure of spending a lot of Thursday and Friday on Twitter dealing with people who failed to get the joke when he "challenged" Tiger Woods to a golf contest. Dealing with humorless people on Twitter isn't easy, and I take great delight when Scobee faces difficult times. I am, of course, being sarcastic and am KIDDING, something I take the time to point out as I write this. After what Scobee went through Thursday and Friday, I just wanted to, you know, make that clear.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Obviously, the Jaguars are once again eligible to be featured on HBO's Hard Knocks. The stadium improvements, roster of young players, the likely addition of highly drafted rookies and potential free agents, an enthusiastic coaching staff, a well-recognized owner, scoreboards, Shipyards, London and wacky uniforms would make for compelling television. What do you think about the Jaguars' chances of being selected for this year's Hard Knocks? Would you be in favor of the team being showcased?
John: I do realize this is a topic that fascinates fans. But from a personal/professional perspective, I can't say I care enough about the team being on Hard Knocks enough to favor or not favor. Teams and coaches generally prefer not to do it because teams and coaches prefer as few distractions as possible during training camp, but I suppose at some point in the next few years there's a reasonable chance the Jaguars will be on Hard Knocks. It's probably unavoidable.
Jarrett from Portland, ME:
I don't live in Jacksonville. What are these shipyards of which you speak and what is all the fuss about?
John: I expect this topic to get a lot more coverage soon, so for those not around Jacksonville I'll cover the basics. The Shipyards are prime real estate on the St. Johns River that many in Jacksonville have viewed as being underdeveloped and having enormous potential for a very long time. The Jaguars consider them a key part of their vision for downtown, and there has been talk of an indoor practice facility for the team as part of future plans. That's the general fuss. Stay tuned.
Chad from Duval, FL:
What happens if a team doesn't spend over 90 percent of the cap over a four-year period?
John: NFL teams actually have to spend 89 percent of the salary cap over a four-year period from 2013-2016, but there's not really a major penalty. If teams don't hit that mark they must distribute the amount that they were short to their own players. I wouldn't worry about this much, though. It's one of those rules that's going to get talked about a lot – and there are going to be countless "what-ifs?" – but if a team wants to spend to the cap it's certainly quite doable.
Austin from Athens, GA:
Out of curiosity, who from the organization will be attending the combine next week?
John: General Manager David Caldwell, Head Coach Gus Bradley and pretty much everyone in scouting and coaching attends along with other officials from football operations.
Chris from San Marco, FL:
When it comes to Alualu, I feel that some fans simply do not watch him play. He rarely gets overpowered by offensive lineman and does an excellent job of moving them off their spot, creating lanes for the pass rushers and line backers. In brief, he plays his role very well. How hard is that to grasp? He's not meant to be a big stats guy, he's meant to put pass rushers in position to succeed.
John: Tyson Alualu is a good player who helps the team. He's not a Pro Bowl player. Could the Jaguars have gotten more value from a Top 10 selection? Sure. Have there been worse Top 10 selections? Sure. Do people struggle to grasp that there's a difference between Not as Good as Hoped and Bad Player? Sure. Is there anything that can be done about that? Alas, probably not.
Aaron from Chantilly:
We really need to consider taking Amari Cooper at No. 3. I know we drafted two good developing young receivers, but it's about the Best Available Player theory and he is that. Plus, receivers are always getting hurt and we need offense, offense, offense. I'm all in …
John: The Jaguars will consider a lot of players at No. 3, and if Cooper is indeed the best available player, I have no doubt he will receive strong consideration. But that's where your premise may have flaws. You and many other observers seem to rate Cooper higher than many draft analysts, who while they have him in the Top 5 do not necessarily believe him better than a lot of the receivers drafted last year, or perhaps even Kevin White of West Virginia. That's not a knock on Cooper, but there's a feeling among a lot of readers that it's a ridiculous notion to not take him No. 3 overall – and I just don't know that passing on him is all that ridiculous.
Nick from Tampa, FL:
Devin McCourty, Julius Thomas, Bryon Maxwell, Jason Pierre Paul, and a solid right tackle in free agency. That would make for the perfect offseason additions, then add the rest through the draft. Stay away from knuckleheads such as Percy Harvin and Greg Hardy. Do you think it's possible we go after all of these guys?
John: It's possible, though unlikely. Remember, there are 31 other teams and some will be spending in free agency, too. Some may outbid the Jaguars for a certain player. Also, big names on February 14 aren't always on the market when free agency begins. And remember: the names everyone is talking about aren't always the names teams covet – or the positions a team truly believes they'll need. Some mid-February advice: have fun talking names now, but be prepared that March 10-17 may look different than your February conversation.
Kris from Copenhagen, Denmark:
Hey John, with all these rookies starting for the Jaguars, and hearing how bright the future looks, how come NONE of them can make an all-rookie team??
John: I don't know. I don't put together All-Rookie teams and don't put a whole lot of credence in them. They're fine for entertainment purposes, I suppose. As far your question … perhaps the people putting them together didn't watch Telvin Smith in the final half of the season, or perhaps they overlooked Brandon Linder. The Jaguars' wide receivers were all solid rookies in flashes, but none of the three had the statistics over the course of the season that would bring All-Rookie status – and there, I've done it … I've spent more time talking about All-Rookie teams than I ever have and probably ever will again.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Got it, John ... ignore national media and only read Oehser.
John: Not at all, and this issue has nothing to do with "Oehser." To just read me, while without question tempting for many, would be … well, I honestly can't really think of any negatives, though I'm sure they exist. Still, I have many close friends in the national media who need employment – and I do respect a lot of their work. Many do a remarkably good job following 32 teams and many provide a very valuable perspective when discussing the Jaguars. By all means NFL fans should read and enjoy their work. At the same time, to think that a reporter covering the entire league would know more about a team than a reporter specifically assigned to that team is pretty insulting to the reporter covering the team, whether it's "Oehser," "O'Halloran" or even "Frenette."

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