O-Zone: Dropping truth

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Greg from St. Augustine, FL:
You seem to believe the Jaguars won't draft a quarterback early. For the life of me, I don't understand this.
John: It's indeed true that I don't believe the Jaguars will draft a quarterback early in the 2018 NFL Draft – at least not in the first two rounds. I believe that as fervently as I believed entering 2018 free agency that there was a strong chance the Jaguars would not re-sign wide receiver Allen Robinson – and that they absolutely would not use the NFL's franchise tag on him. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said during the NFL Scouting Combine in February that the team did not sign quarterback Blake Bortles to a contract extension in late February to be a "place-holder" for another quarterback. Nothing has happened since to change that. I realize many observers have a fascination with this topic. I realize many observers have interpreted the team's free-agency moves as "clearing the decks" to select a quarterback to develop behind Bortles and potentially be the organization's future. I didn't believe that was the direction of the organization late in February and I darned sure don't believe it now. Bortles is this team's quarterback for 2018. I believe it's the team's intent for him to be the quarterback for the foreseeable future after that, too – and I don't see the Jaguars clouding that reality by selecting a quarterback in Rounds 1 or 2.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Any chance you could inform fans that continue to use the Buffalo game as an example of poor play by Blake that many very good quarterbacks have crapped the bed in their first playoff experiences without finding a way to win?
John: I could do as you ask, but do you think fans would listen? Or observers? There were a lot of factors in that game – wind being chief among them – that contributed to Bortles' struggling with his accuracy. Bortles figured out a way to maneuver the offense well enough for the Jaguars to win. The Jaguars did win. That's what mattered. As for fans, they're going to … you know … fan.
Ed from Jacksonville:
I'm not sure why people are picking the AFC Wild Card victory against Buffalo as an example of Bortles' accuracy issues. If I recall correctly, there were wind gusts that would've affected anyone's throws. I remember interviews with Dan Marino, Tom Brady and Brett Favre indicating that it is hard to throw when it's very windy.
John: You recall correctly.
Bill from Jacksonville:
In the re-signing of Marqise Lee, we're now praising his blocking ability instead of his route running and ability to catch touchdowns? Did I miss when the NFL transitioned from a passing league led by quarterbacks to a running league led by running backs and blocking wide receivers? Weird.
John: No, what you missed was the fact that in addition to Lee being an explosive, capable receiver he also is tough and has the ability to block in the run game. But don't worry: You're not weird. And don't lose sleep over this. Everybody misses things now and then. Work to improve. There's time.
Steve from Duval:
Hey, O: If you have a position coach that is really good at the position he coached, why promote him to a different position or to a coordinator instead of giving him more money where he is? Case in point: Keenan McCardell. I've seen a report that the Jags may promote him after next season if he excels again from this year. Why not just give him a lot more money to stay where he is? Is it more of a letting him expand his resume for the future? GO JAGS!
John: This can be tricky. Generally speaking, you promote coaches and other people in football for the same reason you promote people in any field – because they desire career advancement and earn it with their performance. The problem: not all good position coaches are good coordinators, and vice versa. And not all good coordinators are good head coaches, and vice versa. So, sometimes good position coaches get promoted beyond their area of strengths – and other times good position coaches turn out to be excellent coordinators. Sort of like in the normal world.
Zac from Gainesville, FL:
While I feel the terrific trio has put us in a good position to draft best player available, I would be surprised if they didn't go offensive line in the first round. They are all in on the ground-and-pound approach offensively and it seems the final piece is a right guard. It also seems like it could be a need-meets-value pick. Am I far off, O-Man?
John: Perhaps not.
Nate from St. Petersburg, FL:
Your mention of the area scouts got me wondering: what makes a general manager's job so difficult? Isn't he essentially only as good as the scouts he hires, considering he's making personnel decisions almost entirely based off of their analysis?
John: What makes a general manager's job difficult is essentially the same thing that makes a head coach's job difficult. Or what makes the job of anyone who heads an organization difficult. Yes, there are many people who contribute to the cause, but the responsibility ultimately falls on the person in charge.
John from Jacksonville:
We are beginning to reach the point of insanity on some of the NFL rules. How can something sooooo easy be made to be sooooo difficult? Seriously, is it that hard to define what a catch is? Who makes these rules? Probably no feedback from actual receivers is my guess. Signing off with a big SIGH.
John: It actually is terrifically and historically difficult to define a catch. The league has yet to do it to perfection because it by definition can't be done to perfection. Here's the reason: even when a receiver has two feet in bounds and makes a "football move," there will be instances where a receiver possesses the ball for a duration that seems to some observers long enough to be a catch and by others to not be long enough. There always will be an element of judgement to this and therefore always an element of controversy. It has been that way since I began watching football in the early 1970s. It will be that way next season – even with the rules approved at the NFL Annual Meeting this week. It's just how it is.
Just a bit outside of Cleveland:
Baseball seems to have solved the catch rule, pretty satisfactorily.
John: I don't care.
Sid from Jacksonville:
This tax thing has me confused. If Jags play in Pittsburgh they pay Pennsylvania tax? What if Pittsburgh plays in New York … do they pay taxes in both states? Uncle Sam seems a tad bit greedy, but you didn't hear that from me.
John: Professional athletes – and certain team employees – pay state taxes in the states where the game is played. It's not an Uncle Sam thing. It's a state thing. It's not a thing I understand, but it's certainly a thing.
Nick from Kingsland, GA:
In your opinion, do common sense and fanning work well in the same sentence? From reading some of these questions my gut is telling me no.
John: Of course not. That's the beauty of it all.
Nick from Kingsland, GA:
John, it seems that the possibility of drafting a running back is high. What do you think about Nick Chubb in Round 3 or 4? He probably could use a development year, but I could see him sharing some traits with MJD as he gains experience.
John: I believe there is a strong chance the Jaguars will select a running back in the first three or four rounds of the draft. From what I've seen, I would be fine with the idea of Chubb. So far, no one has asked my opinion. I'm expecting this to happen any time now.
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Do the Jags get any compensatory picks for the losses of Marcedes Lewis, Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson?
John: The NFL's process for compensatory draft selections is tricky. Here's the process: teams are awarded compensatory selections based on a formula that factors unrestricted free agents lost and unrestricted free agents signed. If the league determines a team has lost more in unrestricted free agents than it has gained, it is awarded a selection – or selections – commensurate with the losses in the following offseason's draft. Any compensatory selections for free-agent losses in the last month wouldn't be awarded until the 2019 draft. Also, remember: because Lewis and Hurns were released, they wouldn't be included in the calculations; only unrestricted free agents are included. The Jaguars signed seven unrestricted free agents, including All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell. They lost four unrestricted free agents: wide receiver Allen Robinson, cornerback Aaron Colvin, quarterback Chad Henne and guard Patrick Omameh. Will those losses be enough to counter the gains? Tune in next offseason.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
Enough football for a minute O-man. I hope whatever is going on gets better.
John: Things never get better. Never forget that.

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