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O-Zone: Junior-year English

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Brandon from Jacksonville:
Don't the Jaguars have to draft Geno Smith? If he's the best quarterback in this draft and shows any sign of being a franchise quarterback, it seems like there isn't much else to decide. Let him compete with Blaine Gabbert for the starting job. The Jags haven't had high-level competition at the job for a while and haven't taken many shots at drafting quarterback in the last ten years. I hope Gus Bradley gets the competition he talks about at the quarterback position.
John: I get your point, and there are some who agree that it would be a good idea to draft a quarterback early every year until you find one. That sounds great in theory, but if you're a general manager, you can't take a quarterback at No. 2 just because he's the best quarterback – not if you don't believe he's going to be a quality player for a long time. Taking a player you don't believe in not only is counterintuitive, it's irresponsible because in the end it won't improve your team.
Pierre from Jacksonville:
Pensez-vous r?pondre aux questions dans un langage ?tranger John?
John: Omelet du frumage.
Tim from Kingsland, GA:
What do you think of this possibility, O-man? DE, Andre Branch; DT, Tyson Alualu; DT, Roy Miller; Leo, Jason Babin; Leo, Brian Urlacher (being he is a former Bear and so is Hayes and Babich); OLB, Geno Hayes; MLB, Daryl Smith; OL, Paul Posluszny; CB, Alan Ball; S, Chris Prosinski; CB, Mike Harris.
John: Some of your scenario makes a lot of sense, particularly on the defensive line. I'd be surprised if that's not the starting front entering the season, with the exception to that being if the Jaguars draft a defensive end or tackle at No. 2 overall. I don't see Urlacher happening – it just doesn't fit with what the Jaguars have been doing in free agency – and while it appears with each passing day there's a better chance of Smith returning, he'd play outside linebacker with Posluszny inside. Also, you left out Dwight Lowery. He'll almost certainly be a starter at safety with a key role, and my guess is Prosinski will have to play better than he has in his first two seasons to be a starter.
Omar from Jacksonville:
There is no Andrew Luck or RG3 in this draft. I hear that Geno, who many rate as the top quarterback, isn't as good a prospect as either of them. So how do you think he compares to Tannehill as a prospect when he was drafted?
John: It's always hard to say how a prospect in one draft compares to another, but there are some dramatic differences, with perhaps the biggest being experience. Smith has started three seasons whereas Tannehill had started just a season and a half. That means scouts believe they have a far better handle on how Smith might project than they did Tannehill, who was in a sense viewed as a bit of a project.
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Does Coach Bradley have the same qualities as Tom Coughlin? They're both fiery characters. What do you think?
John: They seem to share some of the same qualities. They're certainly both dynamic, high-energy guys. And I think it's fair to say each holds players to a high standard. Each also seems to inspire respect from his players, and that's key. Not every coach inspires respect in the same way, but they must inspire it somehow. Now, there are obviously differences, too. Bradley is more engaging with the media than Coughlin was when he first arrived in Jacksonville, and whereas Coughlin sometimes ruled with an element of fear, Bradley wants players to be excited about coming to the building. But those are minor differences. They seem to share a lot of the basics that make a successful coach, with the major caveat being that Coughlin has won two Super Bowls and Bradley has yet to be an NFL head coach for one game.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
What will be the penalty for the new helmet hit infraction? Is it a 15-yarder?
John: Yes.
Paul from Jacksonville:
"If no one is worth the second-round pick, why would someone trade up for it?" Only if you're afraid the team with the No. 3 pick is going to take your guy.
John: Your point is valid, though in this case the theory is the same because of the nature of the draft. The general outlook on the draft is that while it's deep through the second-to-middle rounds, there isn't much difference between the top 25 or so players. That reduces the chance that someone would covet a player at the top enough to give away players later on.
Tim from Kingsland, GA:
With Urlacher a FA and Hayes and Babich former Bears, could we see Urlacher on the Jaguars roster this coming season?
John: I doubt it.
Charles from Orange Park, FL:
Turn out the lights the party's over NFL! My wife and I have had tickets for last 12 years but this was straw that broke camel's back. We will not be renewing tickets. Never been much of a flag football fan.
John: Well, if you've decided then you've decided, but don't overreact, Charles. The game is still the game and players will adapt. The NFL is trying to figure out a way to make this game playable while reducing head injuries, and many groups – from former players to current players – signed off on this rule. Let's not panic until we see the tattered ruins of the game, something I doubt you'll actually see.
Eric from Boone, NC:
Please explain to the fans about this new rule, how it hasn't changed the way a running back can run through the trenches. This rule keeps them from using it as a weapon in the open field after they have already lifted their heads.
John: Done.
Bill from Jacksonville:
With the new CBA and salary cap, rookies are not that expensive anymore...even top five picks. If this is truly the case, then there should be no pressure on the GM to be "tied" to the top 10 quarterback (like Gene S. and Blaine); if it does not work out in their rookie year, draft another one. If we draft Geno with No. 2 pick this year and he does not pan out, go and find someone next year. There's no time to waste. The Jaguars are not sniffing a Super Bowl until that quarterback is found.
John: All true. At the same time, it's not always so simple. Sometimes, it's tough to know if a quarterback is a bust after one year. Some players need time to grow and sometimes, coaching is an issue. It's a brutally difficult dilemma, and one that changes franchises and careers.
Aaron from White Hall, AR:
Alright, O-Man people keep complaining about Derek Cox not coming back. So have these fans that wanted him back not realized that Gus Bradley had the best secondary the past couple years so he of all people would be able to judge what a corner's really worth?
John: That's one issue, but the biggest issue with Cox was reliability. As good as he could be at times, he also was often injured and at times didn't play at a high level when playing through injuries. When you're building a roster and deciding where to invest money, it's tough to invest in something so uncertain.
Cliff from Jacksonville:
"Eschew?" "In far better stead?" Somebody's been reading TS Eliot again.
John: Huh?

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