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O-Zone: Loving my work

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it... Paul from Cedar Rapids, IA:
I am confused by the message being delivered from the Jags management and yourself. If I understand correctly, the Jags needed to raise some ticket prices on a fan base that hasn't exactly experienced success in quite a few years, but at the same time, isn't going to be active in early free agency, and is asking fans to now be even more patient with a rebuilding of a bad rebuilding process that is focused more on long-term goals rather than short-term success? I have often heard this is a-what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business. Is it wrong to want short-term results to go along with long term viability? Just win, baby!
John: I'm sorry you are confused, but that's OK. I'm here to explain. The Jaguars indeed raised the prices of a small percentage of tickets this offseason, and almost certainly will continue to raise prices of some tickets at times for the short- and long-term future. The reality of the NFL and all professional sports is revenue must be raised locally for a franchise to be financially viable. Jaguars President Mark Lamping explained this concept pretty well in the recent State of the Jaguars press conference, the video for which can be found here. As far rebuilding and being patient, I'll say what I've always said about patience and that's that fans won't be patient, nor should they be. Fans should want to win now, and it should hurt when their team doesn't. The people who must be patient to some degree are those responsible for building the roster. Dave Caldwell is in charge of that process now, and he must be patient in the sense that you can't sign a slew of high-priced, high-profile veteran free agents every year and expect that to translate into either short-term results or long-term viability. There's simply no evidence in the last 20 years – since the implementation of free agency and the salary cap – that building that way will lead to success.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
I don't get the uproar over the secondary turnover. How the secondary plays in his system is much different than how we used to play, and they are an extremely important part of his defense. He needs to have guys who he feels can be effective in his system. It makes sense to want to bring in guys that fit his style of defense. I don't see it as being that big of a deal.
John: Because it's not.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
O-Man, Caldwell's plan is very clear. He's taking a page out of the Colts playbook with their "Suck for Luck" move in 2011. Caldwell knows that next to quarterback, an elite pass-rushing defensive end is probably the second-most important position on an NFL starting lineup, and with Jadaveon Clowney being draft -eligible in 2014, Mr. Caldwell is planning for the future...and making sure the Jags are well positioned to draft Clowney.
John: Well, thank you for your input, and for the time you put into your email. But no, that's not what Caldwell's doing.
Ron from Phillipsburg, NJ:
A lot of mock drafts have us drafting as if we are use Seattle's defense with tall, lanky cornerbacks. Do you believe we will copy that?
John: To some degree, yes I do.
Kyle from Oakleaf:
Has Gus Bradley discussed what coverages he intends to run in the secondary? If not, what type of coverages did he run in Seattle?
John: Bradley has mostly talked about playing a lot of press coverage. He believes that's the best way to be more aggressive defensively, and to help the defensive line have more time to rush the passer.
Moshe from Mexico City:
You wrote: "They're attempting to re-sign center Brad Meester and fullback Greg Jones to short-term deals, which makes sense and could happen." Why does it make sense to re-sign a bad center?
John: It doesn't.
Ryan from Vidalia, GA:
I noticed towards the end of your long response to Jason from VA you mentioned all of the players we still had. One person not mentioned would be MJD. Am I missing something here? How's his injury? What does the new regime think of him? Some say we should have traded him last year during his holdout to retain some value. What is the deal here, John?
John: Not mentioning Jones-Drew as a player returning was very much an oversight, and one that shouldn't have been made. The new regime considers Jones-Drew an important part of the plan for next season. He is expected to be ready before the start of training camp, possibly sometime late in organized team activities. I don't see him being traded this offseason.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
What happens if one or two starters at cornerback and safety get injured? It's not so much that we are losing talent but rather, depth. At the rate of injuries Jacksonville has annually, we'll be putting CS3 and Blackmon in at corner before long.
John: If starters are injured, you play the backups. The Jaguars will have those, too.
Andrew from Jacksonville:
Do you think Marcus Trufant as a free agent sounds pretty probable at this point? He could serve a year or two into a system he knows very well, and not break the bank.
John: Two answers. One: Yes, I do. Two. Yes, you're right.
Steve from Denver, CO:
The Jaguars need to draft a pass rusher and a brute to plug in at right tackle with the two top picks.
John: I'd expect a pass rusher somewhere in the first two days. I'd be more surprised if they take a right tackle with one of the top two selections, though taking a left tackle that high and figuring out what to do with the drafted player and Eugene Monroe makes a bit more sense.
Daniel from Section 146:
Last year at this time I was excited. This year, I'm terribly depressed. Who are all these UDFA's gonna compete with, all the other UDFA's??? That will be really exciting. Just because I never heard of North Dakota State or Caldwell doesn't mean they aren't capable, but it's PLAYERS NOT PLAYS! There are 80 spots on the preseason roster, and not enough room for Landry to compete? It's time to start looking for the next general manager now.
John: Thanks, Daniel. Now, I'm depressed, too.
Jared from Jacksonville:
John, what is a "stop-gap" free agent? I have heard a lot of talk about "stop-gaps" but can't find out what the definition or what it is at all.
John: A stop-gap free agent is a player expected to play a year or two before ideally being replaced in the lineup by a younger – likely drafted – player. The Jaguars likely will sign a few stop-gap free agents in the coming weeks, and there's nothing wrong with that. When things start to go bad is when such players are signed to big cap-eating contracts. That's what I don't think you'll see from the Jaguars this offseason.
Shane from Virginia:
I am not putting words in your mouth and I understand your logic completely. However, another 4-12 or 2-14 season will not mean a sign of progression. That being said, I don't think anybody should care what we fans will accept because they don't get paid by us.
John: The team does care what fans will accept, but it's up to the leaders of the team – Shad Khan, David Caldwell and Gus Bradley – to see what's good for the long-term. Sometimes that means making moves that many fans don't understand for the short-term. As for what will be a sign of progression, that's simple – a team that his playing better at season's end than beginning.
Leigh from Jacksonville Beach and Section 205:
I find it so funny that people are upset over the release of Derek Cox. I can still remember the uproar when he was selected. What is wrong with people? Are fans ever happy?
John: As a collective? No.
Eric from Boise, ID:
If Khan is gonna be stingy in Free Agency, he might as well send me Big $. As well as all the poor Jags fans...
John: All right: I see it's time for the annual run of Stingy Owner emails. The Jaguars have said they're not going to spend big in free agency, but while that's true, it has nothing to do with stinginess and everything to do with building the roster the right way. If someone can name the last team to spend huge in free agency, dramatically improve and use that as a catapult for long-term success, you probably would see teams rushing to copy the blueprint. Until then, I guess you'll get fans misrepresenting owners as being stingy when they're really just doing what's necessary to win.
Lee from Duval:
Letting Derek Cox go is nuts. I've seen this guy more than hold his own against the best in the league. If the decision is based on injuries, should MJD pack his bags as well?
John: Not this offseason, he shouldn't.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
I love how you criticize fans for believing that their input on the draft process is so wrong and would make the Jaguars worse. Hate to break it to you, but the organization's last two overpaid GM's have really left the team with a solid roster. They could have taken Kiper's best available and not paid anyone on that staff and the team would be strides ahead of where they are at. Even us fans can see that Alualu was a reach, a punter in the third was a joke and Pierre-Paul should be a Jaguar. There's enough data and professionals handling the draft that teams don't even need a general manager or scouting department. Take the best player that everyone has already done the homework on... When everyone agrees on a top guy's talent, they are probably correct!
John: Thanks for loving my work. I do what I can.

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