JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . David from Durban, South Africa:
Seeing Jeremy Mincey play for Denver in the playoffs reminded me why David Caldwell has steered clear of older players. They are not motivated to play for a team that is not contending and will inevitably simply go through the motions and not buy into the coaching philosophy. Young, enthusiastic talent beats jaded older, not-so-talented in a rebuilding process.
John: I understand the sentiment and this is a logical conclusion to draw simply looking at Mincey's situation by itself. But I don't really buy it as a broad-brush, overriding truth. First, while Mincey has had some production in Denver, the Broncos in general are ahead more often than not, which forces the opponent into passing situations. That, in turn, helps pass rushers. Also, while Mincey has talked about being more motivated in Denver, it's also likely he had something of an awakening after his release from Jacksonville. Being released can cause such awakenings. But really, I just don't believe the theory that older players aren't motivated to play for a team not contending. Players are generally motivated by money and by staying in the league. And specifically, there were many "older" players on the Jaguars this season and veteran players such as Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis hardly could have bought into Gus Bradley's approach more.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
So with the "regime change" in Detroit do you see the Lions getting rid of Suh, Johnson, Bush and Stafford?
John: No. Those players are Pro Bowl-level players who generally speaking are regarded as some of the best players in the NFL at their respective positions. With the exception of perhaps Bush, they are also pretty much in the prime of their careers. If players fit all of those descriptions, and if they have remained healthy and consistent, you try to retain them.
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
As I understand, players can use facilities in the offseason. Is there any plan given for workouts or are they prohibited from talking to the trainers (conditioning). Who can, for example Denard Robinson, work with and where to help with his fumbling issues? Thank you for your reply in advance.
John: Players can use the facilities to work out in the offseason, and they can get limited guidance from the strength-and-conditioning staff to ensure they are using correct techniques while doing so. This is in the interest of injury prevention. In terms of working on any football-related techniques, players are prohibited from having contact with coaches on football-related matters until April 21.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Denver banned ticket sales outside of their region too. I guess they have no class, either.
John: Either that or they'd like fans in their region to be able to buy tickets.
Kirk from Section 244:
Thankfully, we have some continuity this year with our coaching staff. Out of the two new hires in the division, Whisenhunt and O'Brien, which one do you see as a better fit?
John: I think both were pretty logical fits from the teams' perspectives. Bill O'Brien has a good reputation in NFL circles, and there always was a thought that he'd be a head coach in the league. Ken Whisehunt was considered a good get by the Titans in league circles, although it was a surprise to some that he selected Tennessee over Detroit. How good a fit will depend on how they address quarterback. If O'Brien gets that fixed I expect he'll be a darned good fit very quickly because there's a pretty good core in place. If Whisenhunt can get quality play from the position – and history suggests he can – that franchise can probably win fairly quickly, too.
Giakat from Jacksonville:
I just want to enjoy the last playoff games. I don't want conversations about drafts, fake trade calls, or free agency. Can we focus on Super Bowl commercials?
John: One fer watchin!
Hunter from Jacksonville:
A corner who occasionally shuts down his receiver and occasionally gets burned. That's not a description of a rookie corner. That's a description of every corner.
John: You're right, and when discussing and analyzing Dwayne Gratz– as we were doing in the question to which you refer – that's an important concept to remember. Gratz wasn't perfect this past season, and there were times he gave up some key plays. But he had more good games than bad, and for a rookie that's significant. If he improves from where he was this season – and there's no reason to believe he won't – he will be a very good player and a very good selection in the third round.
Bob from Quinby:
Other than the fear of getting hurt, why would a quarterback prospect such as A.J. McCarron choose to NOT participate in the Senior Bowl? I wonder if Kenny Guiton (Backup QB from Ohio State) would also have turned down that same opportunity if offered?
John: I can't answer for Guiton, but it indeed is a curious decision for McCarron not to participate. One argument for him not participating is that Alabama played a high level of competition throughout his career, so it's not as if scouts or general managers should question whether or not he can play against the best college players. He also has played enough college games that an argument can be made that he has shown all he can show at that level. At the same time, not participating in the Senior Bowl inevitably starts the chatter about "why he didn't participate in the Senior Bowl?" Overall, I doubt that chatter will linger very long and it probably won't hurt his status much.
Whiskers from Chicago, IL:
If you could be the leading journalist in your field or have mad cow disease, which would you choose?
John: Give me a second.
Juan Pablo from Jackson … I mean, Uruguay:
Hey Johnny, I love the column, how about a whole week of J.P. Shadrick questions in the Ozone … keep up the good work.
John: Give me a couple of seconds.
Jefferson from Phoenix, AZ:
Every year there seems to be one issue the Jaguars haven't solved: the pass rush. Every offseason it's a concern the Jaguars WILL be addressing. I can't remember the last time Jaguars weren't worried about improving the pass rush. I know a big part is the division we're in and the quarterbacks we face, but can you remember/reference the last time we had a solid reliable pass rush?
John: I can't remember, exactly, though I do know that when I covered the Colts they had a great deal of respect for the Jaguars' front from about 2004-2007. The Jaguars' ability to pressure Peyton Manning with a four-man front often made life difficult for the Colts' offense. As for the constant need to address the pass rush, it's really not that uncommon. There are a few teams with a ferocious pass rush. Often those teams have reliable offenses that enable them to play with leads. A lot of teams look for a long time for a pass rush. The Jaguars are one of those teams right now.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Bobby Douglass is an interesting pick. His read-option was okay, but he is just too big-name of a player for Caldwell to sign. Also, unlike the proven Tebow, Douglass hasn't won a game in about 40 seasons.
John: Not every player is a perfect fit. And you're right that the "time thing" could hurt Douglass' chances.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
Tell us … in your gut feeling who would you draft right now with the No. 3 pick if you were playing as Dave Caldwell?
John: Right now, assuming Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney are off the board, I'd take Johnny Manziel. Bear in mind that it's January 14 with the NFL Scouting Combine more than a month away. And bear in mind I also assume that the real David Caldwell is nowhere close to a decision on this matter.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
I knew a true visionary once. He would order a sausage-and-cheese biscuit as well as a hash brown from McDonald's. He would rip the hash brown in two, and place one half in the middle with the sausage and cheese. He would spread grape jelly inside the biscuit as well. It doesn't get much better than that.
180 from Jacksonville:
The goal is to draft a stud defensive end, then tank 2014 (going either 0-16 or 1-15), so they can draft Winston in 2015, and WINS a TON.
John: I unfortunately expect we'll see this theory bandied about more than once. I fortunately expect that this won't be the Jaguars' building strategy.
Gator from Gainesville, FL:
John I agree with Josiah from Tebowtown. I sent you a draft analysis too. I spent all season watching SEC football, not just Gators comprising that list. I worked hard sending it to you. I send you gems! Still I get no respect. Everyone in the trailer park is disappointed on how hard we worked to steal the WIFI password from the pawn shop and for what? Disrespect? By a guy to dumm to no the Savior of the franchise was under there nose the hole time?!
John: One fer "free" wi-fi!
O-Zone: Free wi-fi here
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . David from Durban, South Africa: