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O-Zone: Caffeinated bliss

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Nicholas from Fort Lee, VA:
Are there people who really think we need to draft a quarterback every year until we get a franchise quarterback? How can you evaluate them when only one plays at a time? Either you base it on practice or preseason games (Blaine was good at both), or you rotate during a regular-season game, which seems disastrous. How many franchise quarterbacks can reach that level in their rookie year?
John: Sure, there are people who think that. There are probably people somewhere who think you can fly across town with cardboard wings, too. People think a lot of things, but while you have to keep trying to get a franchise quarterback until you find one, you can't completely ignore the rest of the roster while doing so. You need to keep searching for a franchise guy at the position, but as you said, there are times you must give the players you have there a chance to develop. That's the trick, challenge and art of roster management and team building. It's why NFL decision-makers make a lot of money, and it's why they're high-pressure, high-risk jobs. Decisions aren't made in theory. They involve people and speculation, and the correct decisions and timing of those decisions is rarely obvious.
Jody from Fort Pierce, FL:
What's with all the worry about who we will pick at No. 2? I'm thinking we will see the Jaguars' first pick be closer to, say, No. 12. What do you think about that and who would you take in that slot?
John: I'm not sure I share your confidence in the Jaguars' ability to trade down, but if they can get to No. 12 and pick up multiple later-round selections, I think they'd love it. As for who they would take there, I'd still say pass rusher – maybe a Barkevious Mingo of Louisiana State if available. That'd be a great scenario for the Jaguars. This is a draft where there should be a good player at No. 12. There are so many good players being projected in the Top 10 that someone very good is going to slide to 12-15.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
When studying film, how easy/difficult is it to take what you see from a bird's eye view and translate it to what you see first person on the field? Is this something that some players struggle with?
John: I'd liken it to applying any learned information to real action. Some people have a very easy time taking concepts and applying them in action, and others struggle with it. Some people need to walk through it and others can read a book and know immediately what to do. Same with video. Some players can look at video and know immediately what they're seeing and how to apply it while others need to learn how to watch it. But it is very much a learned skill. It's an area where experienced veterans can have a significant impact on a rookie, provided that the rookie is willing to listen and learn.
Aaron from Phoenix, AZ:
I see a lot of Jaguars fans calling not to draft a quarterback high this year because next year's class is better, but wasn't this crop of quarterbacks highly-coveted, say, a year ago and most of them had "subpar" seasons making this class seem weaker than it could've been? What's stopping next year's class from being any different if those quarterbacks don't play up to the hype either?
John: You don't need a class of quarterbacks to be strong. You need to find a guy who's right for your franchise. Forget the hype. Just scout and find a guy.
Lawrence from Omaha, NE:
Isn't there risk by throwing smoke about Geno Smith that perhaps people would rather trade with Kansas City to get ahead of Jacksonville to make sure they get him? In the same regard, if one of the Top 10 teams covets a left tackle, which is more likely than a quarterback for most, doesn't that also perhaps make them feel like the Jags are safely picking someone they aren't interested in?
John: Let's take a breath on the whole "Geno Smith smoke screen" issue. The Jaguars scouted Geno Smith. They scouted a lot of other quarterbacks, too. They have scouted enough players and have been vague enough that no one knows who they're taking. Mission accomplished, smoke screen or not.
Mike from Jagsonville:
So if Dave could draft now, has the meeting between him and Gus already occurred? Or will he just hand Gus the roster?
John: You're framing the situation incorrectly. This isn't a situation in which David Caldwell is sitting in his office on one side of the building and Gus Bradley is on another side and they never speak. There have been constant discussions since Bradley's hiring. They have been on the road at Pro Days. They have been at the Senior Bowl, the Scouting Combine and the NFL Annual Meeting (Owners Meetings). There is constant dialogue between the two, and I'm sure that will continue until the draft and beyond.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
Here's one thing I don't quite understand about the Aaron Ross situation. Even if he 100 percent meant that his time here was a vacation, what's the big deal? As you are well aware, sometimes people get lazy. Sometimes people get lazy for an extended period of time. It happens everywhere and in every line of work. I don't get why fans would get so upset that a player the Jaguars let go, largely because he wasn't playing up to his potential, said that this happened to him.
John: Ross was a little too flippant about his time in Jacksonville, and fans were right to be upset. Ross was quick to apologize, and it appears he regretted how he said it. In the long run, I think fans will generally dismiss it as a poor choice of words. Had Ross come out and said he took the season off – which I don't think he actually meant – then fans and the organization would have every right to be upset. If that were the case, then Ross should be ashamed of himself. But, I don't think that was the case.
Scott from Jacksonville:
So I just read the Sports section in Monday's Florida Times-Union, and for the first time that I can remember, there is not a single article or blurb on the Jaguars. Should I cancel my subscription?
John: So, what . . . does Ryan O'Halloran not get a day off? It's a Monday in early April. He's written the heck of the draft and offseason so far, and I imagine he will keep doing so until the draft and beyond. So, no, don't cancel the subscription. The newspaper industry has enough problems already.
Bobby from Jacksonville:
I'm thinking that the people who are unhappy with our lack of "splash" signings in free agency have forgotten the ripples that the splash signings of Hugh Douglas, Jerry Porter, Clint Session, Aaron Ross, Bryce Paup, Drayton Florence....etc. Quite frankly, I was getting a little seasick.
John: You and a lot of other people.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Your response to Dick from Jacksonville regarding the Oklahoma drill: "I can't imagine a scenario where that would take place" . . . does that mean "even if it is released?"
John: I'm not trying to establish a catchphrase or have this thing go viral. I understand that the Oklahoma Drill was a special thing around here for a long time. I'm just saying I don't see it being part of things going forward.
Matthew from Newport News, VA:
What if we trade down and get a later first-round pick like 15 or 20 and pick up another second-round pick to fill some more holes that we have?
John: I think you'd want a bit more than that to move down that far, but yes. Trade down. Get more picks. Keep trading and get more. Absolutely.
Bobby from Hastings, FL:
A general manager's fate seems to be tied to the quarterback he brings in, especially an early first-rounder. Unless, of course the general manager has a strong history of success, he can't really afford to miss as it usually sets the team back a few years. So, why would Caldwell want to accelerate his own timeline by drafting a quarterback so soon? He kind of has a pass this season – if not the next – with the roster still being filled mostly with Gene's players. If you go QB now, you are somewhat pressured into playing him immediately or else the pick seems wasted and your own career clock starts ticking a year or two before it has to. Thoughts?
John: My thoughts are David Caldwell doesn't want a pass. He wants to win, and the best way to do that is to find a franchise quarterback. If that's Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne, I'm sure Caldwell would love it. If that's a player he drafts early this year, I'm sure he'd love that, too. That's a lot more important to him than a timeline, or self-preservation.
Lance from Section 412:
K-cups, John, K-cups.
John: . . . huh? What? Sorry, I was drifting into a wonderful pace of convenient, caffeinated bliss, because some people around here STILL don't know how to make coffee.

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