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O-Zone: Fun times

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Combine week.

Let's get to it … Dennis from Port St. Lucie:
I have not heard any comments on how Blake's wrist affected his performance. If he needed surgery right after the season, it would seem logical that he was dealing with an injury on his throwing hand that may have been one reason for his inconsistency. How many times was it aggravated during a game that hindered his performance the next week? Did you know of any issues with the wrist during the season or was it a non-factor?
John: I don't know that we'll ever get a definitive answer on this; on the occasions Blake Bortles has discussed his right-wrist injury, he generally has dismissed its significance. He brushed off most questions about it this past season and said this past weekend it never came close to forcing him to missing a game. How close is that to reality? Who knows? Either way, I can't rightly attribute Bortles' accuracy or inaccuracy to the injury because he has had varying degrees of accuracy issues through much of his career. Still, he did appear on the injury report every game this past season and the situation was serious enough to require surgery, so is it reasonable to believe it bothered him on some level? Sure, that's reasonable.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
It's amazing how less interested I am in the combine and draft than in past years. Not a question, but doesn't winning feel good? Okay ... maybe a rhetorical question.
John: Winning is cool. Fans like it.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I don't understand why fans are down on Cam Robinson. He exceeded my expectations. We all thought he was going to start at guard and eventually move to left tackle. Instead, he was forced to learn on the fly and start immediately as a second-round pick. I don't see why he isn't the left tackle for the next few years at least.
John: I don't have a good gauge over whether or not "fans" are down on Robinson. I suppose some are and some are not. Which is fine. Or not fine. Or whatever. He struggled at times this season, particularly with footwork and some technique stuff, but for the most part played better left tackle than the Jaguars have had in a while. I do believe Robinson will be the Jaguars' left tackle moving forward, and I believe he will continue the necessary process of growing into his potential. Which is substantial.
John from Jacksonville:
I always thought a contract was, well, a contract. For example, the "Big Three" had contracts through the 2019 season. Why is our owner (and the NFL in general) so prone to extend contracts well ahead of when they need to? In this case, there were two more years on their existing contracts. Couldn't he wait at least one more year (which would have still been very early) before extending? To me, it somewhat defeats the objective of what a contract is. Although it's nice to have them longer, what if 2017 was a fluke? What if they have a losing record in 2018? For a man who is supposedly smart in business, just seems a little stupid to not practice a little patience when it's prudent. Help me understand, John.
John: I suppose I might be forgiven for chuckling when someone uses the phrase "a little stupid" referring to Jaguars Owner Shad Khan, particularly when it comes to a business decision. But if you won't forgive my chuckle, remember: when Khan first put together the front office/coaching team of Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone last January, the team was coming off a long run without success. It was understandable to want to see results from what was a relatively unusual front-office structure before committing to a long-term situation. The Jaguars had success this past season – and considering the performance of a lot of young players, it's fair to assume the Jaguars will have a chance to win for the next few seasons. To provide stability with what is now a four-year plan perhaps wasn't necessary, but I'm not sure I see the negative. Wait … is there a negative?
Richard from Orange Park, FL:
Blake's salary-cap number went from $19 million this year to $10 million. This is fair-market value on the side of a bit of hometown discount. It says, "I want to be here. Let's get this done." It says, "Sign me a weapon." It says, "Sign Aaron Colvin or maybe we can make a run at a wide receiver since A-Rob will walk now." It also means Blake is the man and no more talk about anything up but his third-round developmental back up being just that. Right?
John: Pretty close, yes.
Michael from Tupelo, MS:
Is it possible that we signed Blake to trade him? What in your opinion could we get in trade?
John: The Jaguars did not sign Bortles to a contract extension through 2020 to trade him this offseason. I specify "this offseason," because I have no idea what the future holds for Bortles – i.e., how he will play this season, etc. I also have no idea what the team could get in a trade for Bortles, but it wouldn't be enough to make it worthwhile to lose their starting quarterback for next season.
Gamble from Brasilia, Brasil:
Two quick thoughts: first, David Garrard aside, can't we make the argument that Bortles is the first Jaguars quarterback drafted to be a starter who earned a second contract? Second, shouldn't we be grateful that Coughlin watched every professional snap of the available quarterbacks — especially the one in Washington — and made this decision?
John: Yes and yes.
Jon from Apple Valley, CA:
One for the Jags! They are killing it this offseason! All they need now is to sign A-Rob to a long-term deal! I would be ecstatic! If you couldn't tell!!!!
John: Hey, one fer the Jags!!
Steve from Jacksonville:
As most folks know, we pick No. 29. Just did a quick search to refresh my memory and discovered the following: In 2017, Cam Robinson was taken at No. 34 (IMHO a Top 20 talent); in 2016, Myles Jack at No. 36 and Yannick Ngakoue at No. 69 (BTW WOW!); in 2015, T.J. Yeldon at No. 36; in 2014, Marqise Lee at No. 39 and Allen Robinson at No. 61 (almost a Double Wow except for the injury curse). If we can find anywhere near the impact at No. 29 as most of those players it IS possible a mighty-talented player will be available indeed! Am I just a fan fanning, or is there something to this?
John: If you're asking if you can get an impact player at No. 29, the answer is yes. Of course. Your odds of getting one just aren't as good as if you're selecting in the Top 5.
Steve from Vancouver, WA:
I'm under the impression we are losing Allen Robinson. At $14 million, that's a heck of a price for a guy coming off an injury. I hope the man proves me wrong and kills it, but I think it's time to talk about some other free agents that may look good in teal. What about Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson? Red-zone guy and quite the fighter -- $6.3 million approximately and coming from another oddball offense with a rushing quarterback (yes I'm assuming we are keeping BB5). There's also Sammy Watkins of the Los Angeles Rams at $5.9 million approximately: quick after the catch and shows promise. Is there any reason that the head office wouldn't be looking at these options? What are your thoughts? Oh and I nearly forgot, CONGRATS to Caldwell, Marrone, and TC!
John: If the Jaguars don't re-sign Robinson, my guess is the wide receiver corps will look like: Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, an early-drafted rookie and perhaps Marqise Lee. I don't know that you'll see a big-money wide receiver if it's not Robinson. We'll see.
This Guy from Right Here:
I have to agree with Jim from Jacksonville. I've always licked Blake's character, but his willingness to accept this very team-friendly deal so fast makes him stand apart from the rest of the NFL quarterbacks.
John: Bortles actually mentioned to me that there was someone who kept licking his character. He asks that you stop.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
Here's my prediction. Jags sign Trey Burton (tight end), draft Lamar Jackson (second) round, re-sign A-Rob and Aron Coving.
John: While I could see the Jaguars selecting Lamar Jackson in Round 2 if he's there, I doubt he will be there at that point. I do know if the Jaguars don't sign this Aron Covig kid someone's got some 'splainin' to do.
Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL:
O'man: The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Sign every free agent we can! Oh, wait … This isn't the usual Jags offseason. Kind of fun, isn't it?
John: So you say.

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