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O-Zone: Keeping the faith

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jay from Jacksonville:
Why has this team been so resistant to drafting a quarterback every year? I think a strong case can be made for keeping a pipeline of quarterbacks in your system even when you think you might have "the guy" at that position.
John: A pipeline of drafted quarterbacks is a nice theory, but it's not realistic for NFL teams to draft a quarterback every year. If you drafted one every year you wouldn't have time or repetitions needed to develop them all, so you would end up with a lot of waste. That's why teams don't do this even with pundits and analysts often suggesting that they do so. As for the Jaguars being resistant to drafting quarterbacks, recent history suggests that isn't the case. The Jaguars used first-round, Top 10 selections on the position in 2011 (Blaine Gabbert) and 2014 (Blake Bortles) and it seems very possible they could use another first-round selection on the position in 2018. That would be three in eight years and another later-round selection in 2016 on Brandon Allen. That averages to the Jaguars selecting a quarterback every two years. That's a pretty strong commitment, whatever the results of the actions.
Dave from Duval:
In the scenario that the Jaguars lose while having Chad Henne and Bortles starting multiple games, do you think that the Jaguars just try Brad Allen?
John: The Legend of Brad Allen grows and grows. #playthekid
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Why did Dave Caldwell not draft Patrick Mahomes III? It was my understanding that quarterback is the most important position in all of professional sports and – at my last count – the Jaguars' roster does not have a player at that position capable of winning games. Seems to me a general manager in that situation would do everything possible to find a player capable of filling that critical deficiency. Can you shed some light on Mr. Caldwell's bewildering and perhaps career altering decision?
John: Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin has had final say over football decisions since January. The Jaguars selected running back Leonard Fournette No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, and did not have another first-round selection before the Kansas City Chiefs selected Mahomes No. 10 overall. The idea behind selecting Fournette was that he could give the running game an explosiveness/consistency it otherwise lacked – and that playing a run-oriented style was the best way for this team to begin winning immediately.
Marc from Oceanway:
I seem to be in the minority amongst Jag fans who believe that Chad Henne can and will play better than he did in the past. John, can you think of any examples of quarterbacks whose careers went similarly to Henne's in that they struggled early, became a backup for years, and then when given the chance later showed they did improve despite not starting for several years?
John: Not particularly – and make no mistake: history does not suggest that Henne will become an elite quarterback. But Marrone and the Jaguars can't be concerned about that right now. What Marrone must worry about is choosing the best option for the Jaguars as of September. That appeared last week to be Henne, and the situation is murkier after Thursday. Murky quarterback situations aren't ideal ever, particularly in late August, but hey … here we are.
Jason from Honolulu, HI:
I have no confidence in the offensive line. Is that the best we can expect from them? None of our quarterbacks are good enough to overcome this kind of offensive line play. Is there any chance that Josh Wells is a good enough left tackle that Cam Robinson can be tried at left guard?
John: Though I wouldn't rule that out as a possibility, I doubt it will happen. The Jaguars see Robinson as a left tackle. I thought throughout the offseason Branden Albert would start at left tackle with Robinson at guard. With Albert retired or whatever, I'll be surprised if the Jaguars move Robinson. It's something I would try because the Jaguars need to figure out guard, but I doubt it will happen.
Tim from Winston-Salem, NC:
The answer to the quarterback issue is SO obvious. Trade Bortles to Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers. Can you pass this along to Mr. Caldwell?
John: #TradeforTom
John from St. Augustine, FL:
Do you know the reason that there is only one roster cut this year?
John: The league changed the rule in the offseason so that there is one cut from 90 to 53 rather than having one cut to 75 and another to 53 as it has been in the past. It benefits players because it is another week for players trying to make a roster to play and show their abilities; it benefits teams because it gives them 15 more players for a preseason finale in which most starters and front-line players no longer participate.
Michael from Jackson de Ville, FL:
John, don't you think it's a bit ridiculous that we've gone almost three years without even selecting a late-round quarterback? The fact that Bortles unseated Henne, and now Henne three years later is doing the same to Bortles, is mind boggling.
John: The Jaguars selected Brandon Allen in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Jeff from Orange Park, FL:
Hypothetically, if the 2017 Jaguars come in somewhere around 7-9 with quarterback clearly being the limiting factor, do you see the team sacrificing most of its 2018 and maybe even some 2019 picks to go all in on a top-rated quarterback in the 2018 draft?
John: I think the Jaguars will do a lot to obtain a potential franchise quarterback next offseason, either through free agency through the draft. Could that mean trading multiple selections in 2018 and perhaps one in the future? Sure. I wouldn't remotely rule that out.
Mike from Jacksonville:
YO, O: If you had to rate J-VILLE'S defense vs. Houston's. HOW do we stack up on paper?
John: The Texans and the Jaguars are both good defenses. I would give the Jaguars the edge at corner, and therefore in the secondary. I would give the edge in pass rush to the Texans, which is why I would give the edge overall to the Texans. Pass rush gets the edge because unless something dramatically changes the landscape of the NFL, pass rush forces takeaways throughout a game and pass rush closes games late.
Nathan from Fort Belvoir, VA:
What do the quarterbacks coaches of the Packers, Patriots, Saints and Giants teach their respective starting quarterbacks?
John: Evidently the same thing that the quarterbacks coach of the Colts taught for so long, and that the quarterbacks coach for the Broncos taught for a couple of years after that. Coaches have that power, with their mere words often transforming average or below-average players into something approaching the gods. Because it's always about coaching in the NFL. Always.
Josh from Pensacola, FL:
While I agree that sometimes fans gonna fan, I also think diehard fans know a little more than people think. This offseason fans had mixed emotions: excitement about the addition of Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, Barry Church and Leonard Fournette. The majority of true Jags fans were concerned with the signing of Branden Albert after he showed his true colors and were confused by the commitment to Bortles. Well, Albert is gone and Chad Henne started tonight. Why is it that these problems are so obvious to fans but overlooked and downplayed by the organization?
John: Fans are right a lot, especially hardcore fans. I've ever said different. But fans aren't the ones making the decisions because having fans make decisions is impossible. Would there be a poll? Which fan's opinion would get the nod? The loudest? The ones willing to sleep by the Jaguars out front and meet Coughlin on the way into the building before dawn? There are those times when fans also aren't always right, though it's hard to remember those cases. #Freemattscott #cutMarqiselee
Concerned fan from Loughborough:
Should we be concerned by the amount of first-team players that are injured?
John: No. The majority of the injured first-team or front-line players – running back Leonard Fournette, cornerback A.J. Bouye, wide receiver Marqise Lee, defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., cornerback Aaron Colvin, etc. – are expected to play September 10.
Dave from Duval:
So where does the blame fall O man if this season turns out exactly how the evidence is projecting and we finish 5-11 or worse? God forbid somebody step up and take responsibility for anything in this organization.
John: I imagine "blame" will "fall" where it always falls when NFL teams lose: with the people making decisions, the people coaching and the players. That's usually how it works. Now, will the fans Thirst for Action and someone be fired? I have no idea. It's August 26, after all, and no real games have been played. Maybe we wait for a few regular-season games to be played before we gather at the gates.
Adam from the Not so Mean Streets of East Arlington:
I still say 9-7.
John: #DTWD

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