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O-Zone: All together now

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it... Jeff from Jacksonville:
The issue most fans have with the Jaguars' approach this offseason is two-fold. One, saying they're not being players in free agency is being interpreted as saying they're not going to sign ANYONE in free agency. Two, most fans believe the new general manager is more excited about getting undrafted rookies on our roster than trying to trade the second pick in the draft for more players, etc. I'm not saying this is the message the Jaguars are actually sending nor do I personally believe it is true, but please understand it's easy to interpret all of the recent comments by the Jags as "WE ARE PURPOSELY GOING TO SUCK NEXT YEAR!!!"
John: I get that. I really do. And I get that fans are interpreting the offseason actions in the way you say. But there is perception and there's reality, and in this case, there's a pretty wide gap between the two. First, the Jaguars likely will sign a few veterans in free agency; they just won't be the high-profile headline-grabbers that draw high "grades" from observers. Second, I think David Caldwell would love to trade back, but he can't plan for the draft assuming that will happen. As far as your last point, for some reason, this seems to be the hardest concept to get across: the Jaguars aren't making the vast majority of these moves for any other reason than getting better. Derek Cox has shown potential at corner, just not consistently enough to warrant "core-player money." Daryl Smith has been a good linebacker for a long time, but he is entering his 10th season. Both are free agents, and with free agents you must decide how much you deem a player is worth and the player must determine how much the market will bear. You cannot pay every player whatever they think they're worth – not if you want to be able to structure your roster for long-term success. That sums up Cox and Smith, and the team is open to bringing back Greg Jones, Brad Meester and even Terrance Knighton at the correct price. Beyond that, the moves and decisions largely have been about parting ways with players who had underperformed, and the belief is strong they will get better from those moves – and their eventual replacements – not worse.
Tom from Jacksonville:
We will probably stink worse next year. Mularkey's staff did everything they could but players stunk. They even successfully made Whimper a tight end. Why would anyone think replacing mature players with undeveloped college players would make us better in year one or two? Who are we going to fire next year? Hang on. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
John: I get emails like this sometimes.
David from Jacksonville:
I don't understand why everyone is unhappy with these moves. Are you sure you're not only answering the negative emails? I'm quite pleased with what has taken place.
John: Fortunately, I get emails like this, too.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
Instead of just releasing players why can't we trade them for draft picks?
John: The difficult thing about trading is finding someone who wants what you're trading enough to give you something for it.
Sandro from El Paso, TX:
Building through the draft and signing undrafted free agents is fine with me. But how can we do that if we're cutting or not re-signing our picks when their contract is up?
John: You can't. And when the time is right – when the player has played well enough and been healthy enough to be a core player after his first contract – the Jaguars will indeed re-sign their picks.
Bryce from Algona, IA:
You've said that the best college football team couldn't beat the worst NFL team, and you are probably right, but if the 2013 Alabama team could face the 2013 Jags team, I'd bet it'd be close...
John: I wouldn't.
Christopher from Richmond, VA:
With the secondary being picked apart even in the offseason, how do you feel about a cornerback in the second round of the draft? If Trufant is there, do you think Jags take him?
John: I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Jaguars went corner in the second round. If Trufant is there, that selection wouldn't shock me. Not a bit.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
You said unless you strike gold by finding a franchise quarterback the only chance to improve is day-by-day, slowly. What do teams do that DON'T have that franchise quarterback?
John: You keep drafting, developing, coaching, searching – keep doing anything you can until you find one or make one or get one somehow.
Joe from Aurora, IL:
Monday, you told my man Holger that Seattle's strategy of bringing in UDFAs to create competition has been successful. How do you feel about their strategy of trading at least one first-round pick for a player many Jags fans have shown an interest in acquiring? Does this change your stance that Seattle is doing it right?
John: I'm not completely certain how much one has to do with the other. Yes, I think an argument can be made that the approach of all-out competition that Seattle used in 2010 was successful . The belief among those who were there is that situation helped create the franchise's current identity. Now, as to whether trading for Percy Harvin was the right move, there is a huge difference between a franchise that has established its roster adding a player by trade and a franchise that is building giving away draft choices for veterans early in the process. Either way, I think the price was too high for a player of Harvin's consistency, but we shall see.
Greg from Section 436 :
I too being of superior intellect am amused by the crowd standing on the ledge. However, I can understand to a certain extent - it feels like we've been rebuilding for a freaking decade.
John: Yes, I'm sure it does. That makes this situation far less pleasant than it would be otherwise – not that it would be pleasant under any circumstance. But Gus Bradley and David Caldwell have a job to do and they can't worry about what came before, only about what comes next.
Joe from Jacksonville:
With the Jaguars finishing with the third-worst defense in terms of both points and yards given up did people really expect to have the same players on defense next season?
John: Apparently they did, yes.
Debs from Section 150:
I really don't understand all the "outrage" over the releases. What did the fans think was going to happen? The players would skip, hold hands and sing Kumbaya into the next season?
John: Apparently they did, yes.
David from Maplewood, NJ:
You'd be amazed if we have the first pick next year? Really? I have no issue with what the new regime is doing, at all. But I wouldn't be amazed or even surprised by a team that last year went 2-14, still doesn't have a quarterback and is getting younger and less experienced getting next year's first pick. Just curious what would amaze you so much about that? How high a pick in next year's draft with that situation before your amazement runs out? Fourth? Eighth? Just curious.
John: I actually said that I'd be surprised if the Jaguars had the No. 1 overall selection, and I would be. That's because from what I've seen, I don't believe the Jaguars will be the worst team in the NFL. A lot of things have to wrong to have the worst record in the NFL, and a lot of those things did go wrong for the Jaguars last season. In addition, you have to have some bad breaks, and the Jaguars had those bad breaks – losing three overtime games, for instance. I look at the direction the franchise is going and believe that by the end of next season, you'll start seeing Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell's vision coming together and by extension, you'll see the team improving. I don't know that that will mean a playoff appearance, but I do think it will keep them at a pretty safe distance from the No. 1 overall selection. The obvious response to this is, 'Well, you thought they'd be competitive last year, too." Yes, I did. That means I was wrong last year. This is not news, nor is it cause for chaotic rioting. I'm a website writer. Not a fortune-teller.
Josh from Jacksonville:
I say we sign big time free agents and give away draft picks for them. Then have our backup big name free agent quarterback proclaim were the "Dream Team." Have all the national media attention on us. On Sunday the other teams will fear us because of all the twitter followers and network time our players receive. Then during playoff time we can watch all the other teams compete with the developing youthful players they have on their roster.
John: Alas, I fear you are not alone.

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