JACKSONVILLE – A lot to parse through from a busy day Thursday. Expecting another busy day Friday. We'll see what happens.
Let's get to it … Daniel Since Day One:
Four swings of the bat, and four doubles or better. I'm very satisfied. And the last time someone turned us down for New York that turned out real good for us also!
John: My, my: that's very glass-is-half-full of you, Daniel, but yeah … an early look at the Jaguars' first four signings of 2016 free agency does give you the idea this could be a very good, productive class. It's interesting people seem to be downplaying the importance of signing Malik Jackson. You're talking about the No. 1 player available in free agency according to a lot of analysts. If he had been a Sack Guy, I'm sure most Jaguars followers would be turning much giddier cartwheel. As it is, he appears to be a disruptive force on the defensive front; the importance of having a bunch of those kinds of players is too-often overlooked. Look, free agency offers no guarantees, but everything about Jackson indicates he is a difference-making player who dramatically upgrades the talent level of the defense. The same is true of Tashaun Gipson. Before free agency began, I was asked often if the Jaguars could even think about getting in on elite players because of market size, record, lame duck coach, etc., etc., etc. Well, they got in on Olivier Vernon and were in until the end – and they also signed perhaps the top player available and one of the top free safeties. The idea that the Jaguars can't draw players should be an idea that is no more.
Dug from Jacksonville:
How's your Gerhart-staying-with-the-Jags prediction lookin' now? LOL.
John: I never "predicted" Gerhart would be with the Jaguars next season. I said it was a possibility, and I said not to assume he would be released. At the time, considering what General Manager David Caldwell had said earlier this offseason, it wasn't correct to assume Gerhart would be released. But if you want to "LOL" over Gerhart and my supposed prediction … have at it. Look at my picture on this website; it's not as if ridicule is a new presence in my world.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, Malik Jackson is an awesome signing. Can't wait to see what the Jackson/Fowler/Marks/Miller/Alualu/Odrick combos can do to disrupt opposing quarterbacks. But Tashaun Gipson is a HUGE get; he is an intercepting machine. Second-best in the league since his rookie year (only Legion of Boom starter Richard Sherman was better). I am jazzed. I am super-duper jazzed. Let's just start the season now and see what we can do. Do you think the Gipson signing impacts the possibility of selecting Jalen Ramsey at No. 5 overall in any way?
John: I'm glad you're jazzed and even super-jazzed – and I agree the Tashaun Gipson signing has a chance to be big. He has to return to his 2014 level, but the Jaguars absolutely needed to upgrade the free-safety position and Gipson was the best chance in free agency to do that. As far as Ramsey, I'll wait and see what the Jaguars do at corner before trying to guess what the signing of Gipson means. That still feels fluid and there's time remaining. Stay tuned.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire:
Oh, Mighty O Man: Dave Caldwell said that Bryan Anger did not wish to negotiate with the Jags. Any idea why?
John: There's a strong "rumor" that Anger – or perhaps people close to people close to him – think there are better senior writers at other team websites, but of course, that can't be true. Seriously, I imagine it was money; that's usually the case in free agency.
Esko from Finland:
That new punter looks an awful lot like a typical main villain from Commando Comics stories. Just a gut feeling, but I'd advise you not to steal his sammiches.
John: The new punter knows where to find me. Or at least he will soon enough.
Alex from Los Angeles, CA:
I like this Gipson guy.
John: He's cool, isn't he?
Andrew from Toledo, OH:
What happens with Tyson Alualu and Jared Odrick? Can we keep everyone?
John: Yes, NFL rules state that teams are allowed to have more than one or two good players at any one position. It's an obscure rule, but I'm sure it's still there. Some teams over the years even have found the situation leads to … you know … winning.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, what are your thoughts on Houston signing Brock Osweiler and its effect on the AFC South?
John: Osweiler may be really, really good or not very good at all. I don't think there is nearly enough of a sample size to have any idea which is the case.
James from Jacksonville:
How does another back with zero additions up front improve our running game? How does an interior defensive lineman who got penetration because offenses had to worry about two Pro Bowl-caliber edge rushers on the outside of his previous team help a team with no proven outside rushers? And, how does adding a free safety that had his worst season last year help? I'm at a loss, John, please tell me how those moves will help us win more games?
John: My, my, my – so how do you really feel? Look, I agree that the offensive line is far more important than the running back in the running game; I've said as much many times. What I wouldn't assume is that the offseason – or even free agency – ended on Thursday. As for how Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson help the Jaguars' defense … well, they appear to be better than all or a good percentage of the players currently at their positions on the roster, which is sometimes how you improve.
Tom from Virginia Beach, VA:
I just read an article about how the Jags did not do enough on the first day of free agency! What some people forget is the player has to want to be part of your team. Money is very important, but not everything to some of these players and team chemistry is important. With two new defensive starters , two players returning from injury and possibly at least one new draft starter that's 45 percent new/improvement on defense. The defense may be as good as the offense! Go Jags
John: People also sometimes forget free agency does not end after one day. #DTWD
Robert from Ventura:
Why do people think we have no faith in T.J. Yeldon because we picked up another quality running back? Since when does a back play every down of every game or make it a whole season without injury? Two-to-three quality backs makes a quality backfield. I want a fantasy starter, too, but I'd rather have a running game that will last all season. Your thoughts?
John: I don't get the idea at all that the signing of Chris Ivory was an indication the Jaguars don't like Yeldon. I do think it's an indication they believe Yeldon may not be a workhorse, 16-game, every-down running back. That puts Yeldon in a category with pretty much every NFL running back not named Adrian Peterson. The Jaguars very much wanted a complementary back to Yeldon. They wanted a player who could be effective enough that the running game wouldn't take a dive if the starter was injured. They wanted someone who could be effective in short yardage. They wanted a quality, productive player. Ivory appears to have filled that need. I still believe the offensive line has to improve its run-blocking, particularly on the interior; if it does, Ivory could help the running game be more consistent and reliable.
Jim from Middleburg, FL:
If the new players pan out as a group, most teams needs have been addressed. Are we getting closer to best player available in the draft as opposed to drafting needs?
John: Teams never realistically get to a place where they strictly draft Best Available Player, but they Jaguars are closer to that wonderful, warm nirvana. Absolutely.
Naiz from Orlando, FL:
Do you think Malik Jackson signing takes us out of the running of drafting a defensive tackle/defensive end in the first three rounds? Those are positions Roy Miller, Jared Odrick, Abry Jones, Tyson Alualu, Malik Jackson and Ryan Davis can help play in various capacities. But with how deep the defensive-tackle class seems this year, it sure would be nice to snag a young impact player on the cheap in Rounds 2 or 3.
John: I'd be surprised if the Jaguars draft defensive tackle in the first three rounds this season.
Matt from Bradford, England:
Not Ramsey or Bust anymore. That's what free agency is all about. HAPPY FAN.
John: That was a huge part of the importance of signing Gipson. There is no way to know if Jalen Ramsey of Florida State will fall to No. 5 in the late April draft, and the Jaguars couldn't enter next season without having addressed free safety in significant fashion. It's addressed now and that indeed gives Caldwell more draft-day freedom.
Dave from Los Angeles, CA:
Thanks for pushing that through for me! Keep up the good work.
John: No worries.