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O-Zone: Likability

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Gary from St. Augustine, FL:
The Miami Dolphins placed the franchise tag on Jarvis Landry Tuesday. Please tell me for sure the Jaguars will franchise Allen Robinson if they don't re-sign him. We can't lose A-Rob.
John: You're asking me to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Robinson will be with the Jaguars next season. I haven't done that yet this offseason and I sure won't do it now because I don't have the impression Robinson being on this team in 2018 is anything close to a done deal. What you have had a lot this offseason is people assuming Robinson will be back, but that notion seems to exist because many observers – including myself for a while – see the Jaguars' clear need at wide receiver and see franchising or re-signing Robinson as a logical enough solution that one of the two is guaranteed to happen. Here's the problem: that assumption has ignored the possibility that not only could Robinson and the Jaguars be far apart on a long-term deal, but that the Jaguars could decide the $16 million franchise tag for wide receivers is too costly to use on Robinson. I'm not ignoring that possibility anymore. We'll see if I'm wrong.
Joshua from Atlanta, GA:
No question here, just one for A.J. Bouye. His deep interception he ripped away from the Los Angeles Chargers receiver late in the game was one of my favorite plays in the season. A.J. is a beast. I like him.
John: Bouye not only turned in the game-changing play in that November victory over the Chargers, he turned in a memorable season in his first season after signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent; that's more remarkable than you might initially think. Free agency typically is far more known for players who disappoint than for players who become relevant for their new teams. The Jaguars' last two unrestricted free-agency classes are notable because of the number of players who not only have become relevant, but who became close to core players. Defensive end Calais Campbell. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson. Safety Tashaun Gipson. Bouye. Safety Barry Church. Bouye looks like he could end up being the most relevant of all. Considering Campbell was the runner-up for the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year this past season, that's no small task.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, I love me some Marcedes Lewis. I'm so happy he will continue on as a Jaguar. What, if anything, do you think the effect of his re-signing will have on trying to sign or draft a dynamic pass catching tight end?
John: None. I think re-signing Lewis means the Jaguars love what he brings to the running game. I think they would have pursued a pass-catching tight end whatever Lewis' future.
Nick from Phoenix, AZ:
Analytics are fun. We know your inbox gets … ridiculous … sometimes. Would you say that you get more questions after a win or a loss? Do you prefer one over the other?
John: No analytics needed here: I get far more emails following a Jaguars loss than a victory. And for whatever reason, I seem to get attacked a bit less and with a little less vigor after victories. So, if getting less vigor is more preferable, then I suppose winning is better.
Nathan Since '01 from Provo, UT:
John – and with this, the quarterback questions should end: Blake Bortles is our starter next season. In what round of this upcoming draft do you foresee the Jags pulling the trigger on a quarterback? And what likely available quarterback do you suppose that will be? Thanks.
John: Guess what, Nathan? Just because you deem the quarterback conversation over probably doesn't make it so. But I imagine you knew as much already. As for quarterbacks and the Jaguars' 2018 NFL Draft, I'll preface my answer by reminding you that we're more than two months from the event. As such, this answer hardly could be more speculative. My guess is if the Jaguars indeed stick with Bortles as the starting quarterback next season – which I believe they will do – then they will select a quarterback in the first three rounds of the draft. I'll go with Mason Rudolph or Lamar Jackson in that scenario not so much because I love either player, but because there appears a chance they will be available when the Jaguars select.
Paul from Jacksonville:
John: It's Bortles. Nathan says so.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
The sample size for the Jaguars throwing from their own goal line was so small as to be sort of irrelevant for using as a basis for not doing it. They had trouble against the Jets in that situation. Otherwise, I'm not sure they were in that situation much. Also, the Jags threw an eight-yard slant from the three-yard line, so none of that has much basis in reality anyway. It's not that they wouldn't do it. It's just that they didn't execute the plays. Sucks, right? Yep, still sucks.
John: I suppose we can nitpick and argue this all offseason, which seems very possible at this rate. Here's what does have basis in reality: the Jaguars need to get better on the offensive line and at receiver this offseason, and they need to run more reliably. They also need more consistency at the quarterback position. Those elements will make for a more reliable offense. If those things happen, I imagine you will see the Jaguars' offensive approach get correspondingly more aggressive.
Esko from Finland:
Was your Tuesday's Motörhead reference intentional? If it was, people might be underestimating you awfully lot.
John: If there is one thing I have learned about myself over the years it's to not underestimate my ability to be underestimated.
Chris from Harris:
I'm with you on the Gold helmets. I think it would look great. I never understood why so many were put off by the "Color Rush Mustard" version of gold. I look at Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and other college teams that have "Gold" – NOT MUSTARD. Though I know it won't happen, I'd like to see a mixture of gold and teal as the majors and see black and white deemphasized. Feel free to share this with Shad and Tom!
John: I'll pass it along when I see them. My influence with them in these and all matters is one of the more underestimated aspects of this organization.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, why does the NFL continue to use an "old-school" approach to drafting? If Baker Mayfield was 6-feet-3 instead of 6-feet-0, is there any doubt he would be the clear-cut favorite as the No. 1 overall pick in April? Why would an NFL front office let three inches drive their evaluation of a player? Remember when NFL evaluators questioned Aaron Donald's height? He's now by far the best interior lineman in the game. Or when they said Telvin Smith should be a safety because he's 15 pounds too light? Telvin's now a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro. If NFL teams continue to think the way they always have, they're going to continue to miss on great players that don't fit their mold. Football is changing, and the NFL needs to change with it. Thanks! Go Jags!
John: Teams use old-school approaches to drafting for multiple reasons. One no doubt is that NFL types – as most people in life – embrace change slowly. Another is the principles to which most NFL types adhere have been tested over time and historically tend to work. While there may be cases such as Donald and Smith in which players have broken the mold and become standouts, there are also a lot of longstanding measurables – height, weight, 40-yard dash times, etc. – that have proven good gauges of whether a player can make it in the NFL more often than not. But fear not, Bill: if enough short quarterbacks and slight linebackers break with conventional wisdom, the NFL will change its mold. People making these decisions based on a desire to win not a desire to prove themselves right. (I kid you not).
Paul from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Aren't the hits on Lamar Jackson the same hits that BB took and still takes? Just wondering??
John: Not necessarily, no – either in number or effect. The more a quarterback depends on running, the more hits he will take – and the more wear and tear his body will take over time. If Jackson or any other quarterback is overly dependent on running in the NFL, he exposes himself to more hits and shortens his career. Also, Bortles is 6-feet-5, 231 pounds compared to Jackson's 6-3, 212. Jackson might well become the better NFL player, but Bortles certainly physically appears to be more able to stand up to the pounding of professional football. Those aren't necessarily reasons to pass on Jackson, but they're some factors that play into decisions when selecting quarterbacks.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
John, I like you. Maybe it's because I have never met you.
John: That's correct, yes.

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