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O-Zone: Foolish pleasure

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Colin from Orlando, FL:
A lot of quarterbacks in recent years have been rushed into a starting role their first year. If the Jags draft a quarterback, is there any chance they also sign a veteran to start for a year or two? Look no further than Blaine Gabbert to see that starting immediately is not always the best decision.
John: The answer likely depends on where Jaguars draft a quarterback in May – if they indeed draft a quarterback at all. If they select one in the first round, it's unlikely he would sit for even a year, much less two. That's just not something teams do these days. There's too much expectation early-drafted quarterbacks be ready to play immediately. Also, if the Jaguars did sign a free agent capable of starting and playing at a high level, then drafted a quarterback early, you could have a pretty unhappy free-agent quarterback on your hands. He would have signed here with the idea of being a starter, and then suddenly be faced with the prospect of people clamoring for the young quarterback after every interception. If the Jaguars sign or trade for a high-caliber veteran quarterback, then they likely wouldn't draft a quarterback until the later rounds. In that case, though, it wouldn't be a player necessarily being groomed to be "The Guy."
John from Jacksonville:
The Jaguars keep cutting good players and making the rest of the teams better; Denver, Detroit, Dallas, Raiders, etc. Shouldn't the general manager try to keep the good players and supplement the team with draftees and free agents to add depth to the various positions and locker-room leadership?
John: Go Jaguars.
Mike from White Plains, GA and Section 232:
I'm a believer in Caldwell and Bradley, but it still stings a little to see FOUR ex-Jags make the list of Barnwell's All-Bargain Team. (D. Smith, T. Knighton, R. Jennings, and G. Selvie) Oh well, we at least get comp picks for Jennings and Knighton right?
John: Ah, I see a few of us have been reading the web the last few days, huh? I understand the sting, but let's remember the reality. While I long have said Daryl Smith would have made sense to re-sign, this is a team in a building process and Smith was entering his 10th season coming off a season in which he played two games because of injuries. Historically, that's an injury issue waiting to occur again. As for Knighton, he had been by any measure very inconsistent in his recent two seasons. I like Knighton very much, but would have been hard-pressed to make a strong argument at the time for re-signing him. I don't know of anyone who loved what they saw from Jennings last season, and while he had a strong stretch with the Raiders this season it remains to be seen if he will do that on anything close to a long-term basis. Selvie has been good for Dallas, but really, does anyone think that the record would be significantly different with the four aforementioned players? The team is building. The past is the past. It's time to move on.
Jonathan from Crawfordville:
What is your favorite tradition with the family?
John: When we retreat to our respective corners of the house for the time-honored Oehser tradition of Holiday Time To Ourselves.
Brad from New Braunfels, TX:
First, congratulations to Brad Meester for a terrific career. It's always nice to see a player leave the league under his own terms. Aside from Brad have there been any other Jaguars players who were drafted by the organization and retired with Jacksonville?
John: No. The other top-level players in franchise history either started or finished somewhere else. Fred Taylor. Tony Boselli. Mark Brunell. Keenan McCardell. Tony Brackens played his entire career here, but didn't actually retire in a ceremonial sense. So in that sense, Meester is the only one. It's rare.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
As a 14-year season-ticket holder, I was there for Meester's first game and I will be there for his last. I would like to wish him a fond farewell and thanks for all the memories. You will be missed but never forgotten. Does this put getting a center in draft at a higher importance now?
John: I think the Jaguars will sign a center in free agency. If they don't, then, I'd guess they would look to the draft.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
So is the formula for being inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars "Starter Majority of Career with Jaguars"? At what point do we need to start showing more discretion? Not to discount these players and their contributions, but there needs to be another level above just spending a career with the team. Does being good for a long time equate to greatness? Is greatness what the Pride of the Jaguars is meant to represent?
John: Wow. This is quite a topic, and I guess the question is why does it bother people so much to honor former players? There are no plans to honor average players who accomplished very little. I assume you are discussing Meester here. I don't feel as strong about Meester as I do, say, Jimmy Smith or Tony Boselli or Fred Taylor, but yeah, I think he should be in. He played 14 seasons for this team, was drafted by this team and retired from this team. That may never happen again, and if it does, it may be a long, long time. Will he get in? I don't think anyone knows yet, but if "Pride of the Jaguars" means the name of a player the team could be proud to have on its stadium wall then, yeah, I'd be in favor of Meester.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
I've always thought the best solution to the 'fumble out of the end zone' is to move the ball to the 20-yard line, as is currently done, but give the ball to the offense going towards the end zone again. So they are penalized 20 yards, yet maintain possession. The exception to this rule would be if it was fourth-and-goal, which in that situation the current rule would take effect.
John: I don't see it happening, but it's not a bad idea.
Marcy from St. Paul, MN:
You're weird, sir!
John: I believe you're trying to reach J.P. Shadrick. Please hold.
Chris from Mandarin:
As much as Tom Coughlin was a terrific coach, where does it stop with the Pride of the Jaguars? Names I've heard as possibilities include Coughlin, Maurice Jones-Drew and Brad Meester based on longevity (though I don't really think he's worthy). If we put in too many names from the first 20 years of a team that did not win a Super Bowl, what does the team do when it finally starts to win really big games again? It's a great problem to have, but I would think smaller-name plaques would help for one thing … or a much stricter selection process for another. Yes, Coughlin may get into the Hall of Fame and he is worth the Pride, but where does it end?
John: When does it end? When is it over? I'll tell you when it's over …
Bryan from Jacksonville:
May need to go to a smaller font to make sure there's enough room for all the folks we are wanting to induct into the Pride and put their names on the wall.
John: Not really. Readers are talking about the possibility of putting Coughlin, Meester, Jones-Drew and Jimmy Smith in at some point. If that happens over the course of the next, say, five or six years, that would be eight players/coaches from the first 25 years of a franchise. I don't know that that's all that ridiculous. If you look at teams around the league, there are far lesser names honored on the walls of stadiums.
Thomas from Madison, WI:
Todd McShay thinks the Jags grab Johnny Football in the draft. From everything I've seen about Gus and Dave that seems like a very uneducated pick from McShay. Is that crazy for me to think?
John: We shall see. I don't know that we know enough about the drafting history of Caldwell with Bradley to say any pick is crazy, particularly not a player as dynamic as Manziel. I'm very, very intrigued by Manziel. Whether or not Caldwell will be as intrigued in May I doubt even he knows for sure yet.
Greg from Jacksonville:
It's nice to see that Coach Bradley is not nailing down his team to a keep-it-close, win-with-defense kind of mentality. I like that Coach Bradley is allowing coach Fisch to run an exciting, up tempo offense, and can't wait to see what fun we'll have with a few more offensive playmakers.
John: There's really nothing in Bradley's background or personality to suggest he would do anything of the kind. His approach to coaching this franchise thus far has been about being bold, a word he actually says quite a bit.
Michael from Reynoldsburg:
You know from covering the NFL pride and arrogance is not only dangerous but could be a team's downfall. What is your take on what some of the Seahawks did in New York last week against the Giants? Some of these guys had the audacity to "pick out" lockers for when they "come back" for the Super Bowl.
John: I like it. Be bold, baby. Be bold.
Dude from Jacksonville:
Aren't you tired of this foolish nonsense?
John: You have no idea.

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