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O-Zone: An educational thing

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Alex from Birmingham, AL:
I'm not one to take rumors as fact, but I'm seeing sources say we're letting MJD walk while bringing back Gabbert as our second-string QB. The Colts game notwithstanding, I saw a ton of improvement at the end of the year and it doesn't make sense to get rid of (arguably) our best player while letting one of our worst hang around. Is this the same plan that let Daryl Smith and Pot Roast get away, or am I missing something that makes these particular moves better?
John: I have no idea where you're seeing "sources," but here are the facts: Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell on Tuesday said the Jaguars will let Maurice Jones-Drew test free agency while the team would like to have Gabbert return. This doesn't mean Jones-Drew is automatically gone. It means he will get a chance to see his market value and it means the team could try to match an offer should he receive one. As for Gabbert, he is under contract and Caldwell said "at worst" he is a capable backup. That doesn't mean there is a plan for Gabbert to be the starter. It means there's little reason to release a commodity that you're still paying next year. It makes perfect sense in another way, too: Jones-Drew is a free agent and Gabbert is still under contract. That makes their situations dramatically different. As far as Daryl Smith and Terrance Knighton, we've gone over those moves ad nauseam. I'm sure we will again, but honestly … I just don't feel like doing it this morning.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Is the league keeping Blackmon from the Jaguar facilities? It sounded like Gus and Dave had no contact with him at all …have you heard anything?
John: Justin Blackmon has not been allowed around the Jaguars' facility during his current indefinite suspension. Teams contact with players during such a suspension is extremely limited. That's about all people around the Jaguars have heard.
Owen from Waycross, GA:
Are the players allowed to use the team training facility during the offseason?
John: Yes.
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevables:
I know that Gabbert is the greatest scout-team quarterback in Jaguar history, but do you think Caldwell is bluffing about keeping Blaine in order to secure one of the coveted seven-round draft picks? I'm worried he's not bluffing and that scares me. New year … same ol' "competition" theme.
John: I don't know why this scares people so much. No, I don't think Caldwell was bluffing when he discussed keeping Gabbert. It's January. There's nothing to be gained from closing off options. If I had to guess, the Jaguars will open next season with a rookie starting at quarterback, Chad Henne backing him up and Matt Scott as the third quarterback. But that's a guess on January 2. Say, for instance, the Jaguars are unable to sign Henne. In that scenario would it be ridiculous to have Gabbert as a backup to a rookie?
Brian from San Diego, CA:
Happy New Year! Assuming he comes out, I'll take Manziel. Love the fire, seems like a Gus Bradley kinda guy. Also I know there is a five-year ban on uniform change, but could the Jags tweak the helmets if they wanted? Thank you.
John: Manziel is absolutely fascinating. He may be the real deal. Or he may just be too small and scramble too much. I have no idea, but it will be intriguing to find out.
Chris from Jacksonville:
John, you have to try the egg nog from The Farm Store. It's the best ever. The only problem is the closest one is about 300 miles away in Melbourne Beach. I've got a connection. I'll keep you in mind next Christmas.
John: I'll count the days.
George from Savannah, GA:
Noted the re-signing of Matt Scott. Can you give us an update of his progress this year and how do the coaches look at his prospects for next year?
John: He progressed as might be expected of a rookie on the practice squad. He got better and earned a chance to come back next offseason. That's why the Jaguars signed him to a futures contract this week. The Jaguars would like to keep three quarterbacks, and Scott would appear to have a chance to be that third quarterback next season.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
With MJD getting older and possibly not returning, is there a current player who takes over as the face of the franchise? Does the team even need a face of the franchise moving forward?
John: A "face of the franchise" happens organically. Give it time, Tommy. Give it time.
Peter from Charlotte, NC:
How much do you think this offseason will help MJD to become his former self? He should have his first full offseason in a while because of his foot surgery, holdout, and knee surgery occurred in previous years so he couldn't have a full offseason. In this offseason, do you think that MJD can get faster and come back next year better than ever?
John: I think that is what Jones-Drew is counting on. I don't know how much the holdout held him back in 2012, because he was relatively healthy that offseason, but certainly it's his belief that the foot surgery and knee surgery following the 2012 and 2010 seasons, respectively, kept him from training enough to get his speed where he wanted it to be entering 2013 and 2011. I believe Jones-Drew can get a bit faster by training without rehabilitating this offseason. As for coming back better than ever, that's difficult for a nine-year veteran. Very difficult.
John from Jacksonville:
Gotta Pay The Men. Did you really utter those words? I've been saying that for years. Did you also say the "F" word; Free-Agency? I've been saying that one for quite a while also. How about another "F" word: Focus. How about another consonant:"W" for Win! We've seen very few of these this year. $3.8 Billion Dollars, "pinky on upper bicuspid tooth…" With that amount the GM should have beefed up the offense, so Blackmon would have been just another asset. MJD would have had more support, and they could have picked up about three more Marcedes Lewis size TEs.
John: New year, same John.
Steve from Jacksonville:
So, I'm not normally one who wants to see us get a free-agent quarterback. With that said, do you think the situation in Chicago is one that the Jags front office will keep their eyes on?
John: They'll keep an eye on it. I doubt they'll do much more than that. We'll see.
Shane from Lusby, MD:
I was looking at the jerseys on and saw that Gabbert's jersey is the only new jersey on sale. Is this an indication his time with the Jags is up?
John: One has nothing to do with the other.
Ryan from Detroit, MI:
I'm glad that our staff will get to coach the Senior Bowl in terms of depth of knowledge for later-round picks, but I feel like the best, most talented guys usually go out after their junior year. Do you think there is a single player in the Senior Bowl the Jaguars might pick with the No. 3 overall pick?
John: I doubt it. Usually a player in the Top Three would steer away from the Senior Bowl because of the risk of injury.
Kent from Jacksonville:
I just want to say to MJD if the number in your head you think you're worth is more than you made this year, then don't let the door hit you on the way out. Go to Oakland, the land of overpaid past their prime has beens go to finish their careers.
John: I don't know that that this sort of vehemence toward Jones-Drew is merited. All he did was play hard for eight years and give the franchise some big-time reliability and production. We don't know what the number is for Maurice Jones-Drew. It appears he'll test free agency and if he gets that number, he'll probably sign somewhere else. There's a long way to go on this story. Let's see how it plays out.
John from Jacksonville:
OK, John. I don't want to embarrass you or make you have bad feelings against your employer. Do you remember when you negotiated coming back as a senior writer for the Jaguars, and they said they wanted you to write 1,000 O-Zone articles in a row without missing a day? Well...they were "kidding". Sorry to break the news but someone had to tell you the truth. Seriously, wishing you and your family a very Happy (and safe) New Year and you are very much appreciated for what you do to keep the fans entertained and engaged all year long. Cheers!
John: Happy New Year.
Royce from Jacksonville:
The Jags have a history of overpaying the wrong players. Poz is set to make $7 million. Will the team try to renegotiate with him?
John: I doubt it. It appears that Posluszny will play next year for the Jaguars on his current contract.
Trey from Jacksonville:
You do realize fans are different people right? Just because Tim wants them to lose, in no way does that mean Bob doesn't want them to win. Come on man, you're educated. Aren't you?
John: Wut?

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