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O-Zone: Fun with the stapler

JACKSONVILLE – Back in town after a late-night flight from Phoenix. We'll wrap up the owners meetings today best we can and try to stay topical by focusing on that area. We'll see how that goes.

Let's get to it... Awesome Bill from Dawsonville:
What is your take on the Jags scheduling Dion Jordan and EJ Manuel to a private workout and not Geno Smith? Is it part of a double smoke screen designed to make us look NOT interested in him?
John: Ah, smoke screens and intrigue – the pleasant byproducts of holding a Top 3 selection in the NFL Draft. We can go on and on in this vein, and I suppose we will. Remember this, though, as we speculate about the he-said, she-said nature of just what teams "mean" by what they do in March: sometimes teams work out players for the sneaky, underhanded reason of . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . wanting to see them work out and speak to them to gather as much information as possible. Do teams smokescreen during the draft process? Sure, but usually at the same time they're trying to get to know as much as possible and increase their comfort level with a very important selection. The Jaguars attended the workout of Smith pretty heavily. It wouldn't be a surprise if they had gathered what they needed to know in Morgantown, WV that day and were now just trying to do the same with Manuel and Jordan.
Josh from Zephyrhills, FL:
As it sits right now, by losing the players we have so far, could the lack of re-signing be Caldwell trying to build compensatory picks for next year?
John: I don't think that's a primary reason for the approach. I'd think of it as more of a pleasant side effect. The compensatory selections are from the third round on down, which means it's probably not the way you're going to build the core of your roster, although in a building process every selection helps.
Jason from Jacksonville:
John, sometimes after I read what you say to some of these "fans," I really wish the O-Zone had a like button for each response. Some are very funny. You are worth your weight in gold my friend!
John: It's the possibility of a dislike button that worries me. If my wife found out one existed, she'd strain a digit.
Blake from Carbondale, IL:
"The decision-makers did not want those players on the roster." What is it about these players (Robinson, Landry) that the decision makers didn't like? I could understand releasing them in August if they are beaten in competition, but why now? (By the way, I love the direction of the new brass; I just want to understand these decisions a little bit more).
John: They didn't think they were good enough. That's not being cute. It's why they were released.
Michael from Wiesbaden, Germany:
I noticed that Jordan Shipley has been re-signed (at least according to ESPN). I like this signing. He seems to be a good option for the third wide receiver. First, Meester; now, Shipley. I like it. Your thoughts, O-Man.
John: The move makes a lot of sense. Shipley's production has been inconsistent in the NFL, but much of that may be attributed to injury. He played well enough late last season to merit a chance to be compete for that third receiver spot next season. Is he the answer long-term? That remains to be seen. Ideally, the spot may need to be upgraded next offseason, but Shipley played well enough last season to make you think he could make that unnecessary.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
If "no one is worth the second overall pick," why would someone trade up for it?
John: I have no idea.
Christian from Orlando, FL:
How do you see Mincey fitting into Bradley's system? Honestly, I thought he would be cut by now because of the big contract and he seems to be an ill-fit for the scheme. What are your thoughts?
John: That remains to be seen. The new regime hasn't said much about Mincey publicly, and it stands to reason he's one of the players who must play better next season to stick around long-term. He may even be a guy who needs to perform in training camp, something that can be said for the great majority of players on the roster. But cutting him now actually doesn't make much sense. He is scheduled to make $1.53 million in 2013 with a cap hit of $3.5 million. He probably didn't play to that level, but if he is released, he would be $6 million in dead money next season. Ideally, you would have Mincey as part of a defensive end rotation, a role in which he has played well before, but financially it makes sense to keep him.
Gavin from Jacksonville:
I love how everyone is blaming the owners and Goodell for these safety rules. This is a direct result of the player lawsuits. It won't stop until the suing does.
John: Well, yeah, there is that.
Ryan from Vidalia, GA:
The O-Zone should seriously consider sending a reply email to notify when one of our questions or statements have been answer and posted on the O-Zone by you. This is the one feature I've always felt this needed.
John: Or you can do what everyone else does, which is to log on to this free website, read and find out for yourself.
Peter from Section 242, Row C:
I've finally read "I can do a better job that these guys" one too many times. If these armchair idiots think they know more than the professional scouts, coaches and GMs, maybe it's time for them to put their money where their mouths are. Maybe the Jaguars can sponsor a contest to find a "fan-GM and develop a reality show around the winner." Then we'll all see how "easy" it is for a loudmouth know-it-all to run a professional football team. What do you think, John?
John: I think you are very upset. Breathe deep, Peter. Breathe deep.
Willis from Jacksonville:
Why is the tackle box used as a qualifier in NFL rules?
John: When making rules, the league often differentiates between plays that happen between the tackles and outside the tackles because there is a feeling that players have more time to make decisions on their actions on plays outside the box. In the case of the "crown-of-the-helmet" rule passed Wednesday, it might not be fair to expect a running back to not lead with the crown of the helmet in short yardage at the line of scrimmage. However, once he is outside the tackle box and approaching a running, high-impact collision, the idea is that the player has time to not lead with the crown.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
My vision for the Jags would be to NEVER sign any free agent no matter how big or small the contract. If the Jags didn't draft you, you don't play for the team. This will create an ever-flowing river of compensatory picks. Sign your proven players to contracts and let the rest walk. Forever. No more worries about free agency; only the time leading up to it determining who gets to stay and who gets proverbially kicked off the island. If we are the only team that did it, give me a hat with torn pieces of paper as my general manager and I guarantee a Super Bowl within 10 years.
John: People will read that as extreme, but that's the ideal blueprint for any general manager. It may not be realistic to think that all of your draft picks will hit to the extent that you can entirely eschew – "English Word Alert!" – free agency, but if you could do it, your franchise would be in far better stead.
Greg from Section 436 and Jacksonville:
Why do I want to trade back and take Tavon Austin so bad in the draft? It's completely illogical - like eating candy before dinner. Chances are, we'll draft a tackle - and we probably should. But man, wouldn't it be nice to watch this guy break it for 80 a couple of time in a season? We haven't had anyone that opponents really feared since MJD in his prime.
John: You want to do that because it would be great for the Jaguars to trade back and because Austin is a really good, really fun player to watch. As you say, it almost certainly won't happen. The Jaguars likely won't be able to trade back that far, and they probably wouldn't go wide receiver if they could, but sure: fantasize away. That's what the pre-draft period is about.
Bob from Virginia Beach, VA:
Was there any talk of how the quarterback is protected as far as getting hit on the helmet? Obviously, there should be more room for judgment by the referee. Maybe the quarterback should come out for a play to be evaluated if it was deemed to be so harsh a hit to deserve a 15-yard penalty.
John: There wasn't much talk about that, and I don't expect this area to change much soon. If you're waiting for the league to give officials room for judgment when it comes to defensive players hitting quarterbacks in the helmet, I wouldn't hold your breath. The rule is in place with the very idea of taking judgment out of the equation. That's how the league prefers its rules – with as much of the human element out as possible. I doubt you'll see the league mandate players coming out of games, either. That's a slippery slope.
Mary from J'ville:
I used to enjoy reading the O-Zone but recent e-mailers are clearly underrated, qualified general managers that have yet to be discovered. How can the NFL not see the talent in our pools? And one more thing: when a certain New York team decides to reduce the number of quarterbacks on their roster, please tell me you will ban mention of the local in our O-Zone. Thanks, John. Your inbox must be ugly to deal with day in and day out!
John: Even if he is released.
Milton from Los Angeles, CA:
Did you take my stapler?
John: Yes, I'm busy nailing my head into my carpet.

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