JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Ken from Jacksonville:
First off, I loved your interview with Blaine. It read as if he had a good bit of fire; maybe even a chip on his shoulder. If so, that could pair well with his physical abilities. What was your take, O-man?
John: I don't know if I'd call it a chip, because in his time with the Jaguars, Blaine Gabbert never has been resentful or overly "chippy" when it comes to responding to what has been said or written about him. I sat with Gabbert for about 20 minutes Wednesday, and I came away believing he has the proper mindset and approach to the upcoming offseason. He correctly believes it's an important time in his career, and he's aware there will be no room for excuses this season and that he must earn his starting position. He clearly didn't like the comment from the former assistant and the whole "Blame Gabbert" story, and I thought he annunciated his feelings on that pretty clearly. Overall, I came away thinking Gabbert's pretty aware of his situation, and that he's probably as mentally ready as he can be for the task at hand. That's all that can be expected as of late March. There's not much Gabbert can say about his situation and he knows it. He has to perform on the field.
Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Regarding college free agency, do teams contact players who weren't drafted immediately after the draft? And do players actually get to choose which team they go to?
John: Yes. Yes.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
You've been telling us everything's okay and the sky isn't falling. Well, now Greg Jones plays for the Texans. How are you gonna spin this as good? Greg Jones is a star in Jacksonville. The sky is now officially falling and don't you blow smoke trying to hide it. This sucks for all Jaguars fans.
John: I'm not sure I've ever said everything's OK and the sky isn't falling. I've never written anything in those terms. The Jaguars are turning over the roster, starting a new direction and getting younger. By definition, that means parting ways with some familiar names – in this case, yes, a lot of familiar names. Yes, Jones was a popular player – with reason – and yes, I'd agree that it "sucks" for Jaguars fans. At the same time, the team was 2-14 last season. That means the sky is already down. There's a new head coach and a new general manager, and they're trying to build a foundation. To give a veteran fullback enough money to entice his return evidently just didn't work into that structure, and I'm not sure many reasonable football people would be surprised that that's the case.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436:
To Ryan from Boynton Beach, "You said fiancé. There's still hope. Run for the hills. Get back off the ledge. Easy now."
John: Marriage is a sacred institution.
Pete from Jacksonville:
If you think people are upset with letting Greg Jones go, wait until they release MJD in the coming months. There's no way the Jags are going to pay him millions at his age and coming off a major injury at the start of a massive organizational rebuild.
John: I don't see Jones-Drew getting released this offseason, mainly because of this: Jones-Drew is under contract, and except for last season he has been a remarkably durable, productive player. He also is still of the age where it's reasonable to expect him to be productive next season. None of the other players that have left the Jaguars have fit those criteria. Barring something unforeseen, Jones-Drew is going to be part of the Jaguars in 2013. What happens after that remains to be seen.
Taylor from Tallahassee, FL:
Do you think that the departure of Greg Jones is going to affect the mentality and work ethic of Maurice Jones-Drew? He's been running behind Greg for years now and that's a huge chemistry.
John: No. I think Jones-Drew will play hard and work hard. Nothing he has done in his Jaguars career suggests otherwise.
Eric from San Mateo, CA:
Regarding not taking a left tackle because you already have one, I think Vic used to say it best: "The Jaguars didn't draft Jonathan Ogden because they already had Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy. Who doesn't need Jonathan Ogden?" I think you can always find room for a great tackle, especially if he's easily the best player available to you at a given time. That's not to compare Joeckel to Ogden, which is obviously unfair right now, but I think the point is generally correct.
John: Yes, yes. I'm sure Vic did say it best . . . And yes, the point is generally correct. Again, in hindsight, it's easy to know that Ogden – like Boselli – was a player who would come to be regarded as not only one of the best at his position of a generation, but of all time. If a general manager believes this to his core about Luke Joeckel/Eric Fisher, then by all means, take him at No. 2. Usually, you don't know this. Usually, you're dealing with grayer areas, and that's where you have to balance need and pure talent when making draft decisions.
John from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I understand the Jags' offer was comparable to Houston, but even if the Jags offered more, consider this: Jones is going on 32 years old and just signed with a playoff-caliber team versus a rebuilding team . . . duh. He wants a shot at the "title." Not the Jags' fault. Wish him well.
Alex from Oran, MO:
So I'm starting to have some faith back in Jacksonville. I really like the addition of Forsett, and that we brought back Shipley. Would it not make sense in the draft to take Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan to improve our pass rush, and in the second round bring in the best available quarterback? That's what I would do with our selections.
John: I think it would make a lot of sense to draft a pass rusher at No. 2 and to take a quarterback in the second round. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Jaguars did just that, and my guess is that's one of the scenarios they're considering. There probably are many other scenarios they're running through, because that's what good general managers do – map out scenarios that make sense and have contingencies. While there are a million – maybe more – mock drafts every year, the real draft is a breathing beast that changes fast and you better have a lot of game plans and an organized, well-thought out way to execute each one. David Caldwell's experience in draft rooms suggest that that won't be a problem for the Jaguars in the last week of April. In terms of having faith in the Jaguars, it seems that faith could be well-founded. Caldwell and Bradley seem to have the right philosophy and the right approach. That doesn't guarantee success, but it's a start.
Jason from Hagerstown, MD:
Is Eben Britton healthy, and will he be put back to right tackle where he belongs?
John: Britton is an unrestricted free agent and no longer on the roster.
Rick from Tampa Bay, FL:
In Wednesday's news, you posted a Q&A with Gabbert. How do you take the answer he provided on how he is viewed? He stated fans are not in his position or with the team. I guess we can't tell Joe Montana, Steve Young, and oh, a handful of quarterbacks playing are any good. I just think that is very telling of the maturity and how this clown will never be a good quarterback thinking he is above the fans.
John: Honestly, I didn't take it that way. Gabbert has been under criticism throughout his career, and in some cases, rightly so, but from his perspective, he can't go around internalizing that point of view. He must come from a place of self-confidence, and must believe in himself. He also does have a very different perspective than fans or outsiders, because he knows the circumstances around his performance, both on a per-game and overall basis. He knows what plays were called, and who was playing and doing things correctly or incorrectly around him. Fans and people outside the team don't know those things. So, while Gabbert has indeed struggled in his first two seasons and indeed must improve, I didn't take that answer as being telling of his maturity. I really just took it as the answer I'd expect from anyone in his position.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
Please explain to me how building through the draft can be successful if you don't resign the quality players after their initial rookie contract?
John: It can't. If in four years David Caldwell isn't signing players he drafted to second contracts, he'd probably be the first to tell you that what he's doing isn't going according to plan.
Curt from Jacksonville:
Oehser, why do you sometimes feel the need to edit someone's question/comment before posting? In doing so, you often flub exactly what someone said. I.e., I bet what that French guy said wasn't exactly the same as what you posted.
John: I edit for clarity, and often for length. Sometimes, I edit for grammer or splling.
O-Zone: Grammar and spelling
JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Ken from Jacksonville: