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O-Zone: My happy place

PHOENIX – Let's get to it... Cameron from Concord, NH:
With the new salary cap, do you see it being an issue with the elite teams staying elite?
John: No, the good teams figure out how to stay good whatever the rules and the bad teams figure out ways to not get good. And whatever the system, a couple of things remain true – that the best way to build is through the draft, and an even better way is to draft an elite quarterback.
Jared from Pensacola, FL:
If a franchise quarterback really can change a team sooner than later would it be crazy to think if Blaine really does improve with better line, running back, and receiver play we could compete for the playoffs?
John: Well, no, if all of those things happen that wouldn't be crazy at all.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
John, do you think the Ravens will be able to contend for a championship next year, or has their window snapped shut? It seems to me that while Flacco proved himself worthy of big money, he's eating up such a significant portion of the cap that the Ravens will have to go back to draft and develop. They plugged a lot of holes with free agents, but they won't be able to do that now with all the money Flacco's taking up.
John: If Flacco's worth the contract he received, the window will stay open so long as he is healthy and in his prime. We shall see if he's indeed elite.
Tucker from Nashville, TN:
Didn't we get an extra pick this year from the Mike Thomas trade?
John: No. The Jaguars received a fourth-round selection in the 2014 draft for Thomas.
Michael from Jackson de Ville, FL:
So if we can re-sign an aging, albeit serviceable, center such as Meester, then why are we taking zero looks at anyone outside of a certain age/pay parameter? I support the rebuild and believe Caldwell is approaching a rebuild the right way. However, asking me to support the Jags and spend $1,500 on my season tickets for a bunch of players we have no idea of how they will perform is something different.
John: This is honestly not meant to be a cute answer, but when you sign high-priced, veteran free agents history suggests you have no idea how they will perform, either.
Paul from St. Johns, FL:
John, I'm not sure how much you know or don't know about football, but I can respect a man who uses "eschewing" in his answer and uses it properly!
John: I didn't forget everything I learned in high school – just everything except that.
Genesis from Jacksonville:
Take a day off, John. You seem to be annoyed. It is tough to keep plugging away the same point over and over. Love the work you do, thank you. It gets me through the day.
John: I've spent the last three days at the Arizona Biltmore, a resort so lavish and posh as to be obscene, and I got to talk football with a lot of people I respect and have known for years, then I got to write about it. It's not a vacation, exactly, but I'm not obtuse enough to be whining about the work schedule.
Kyle from Washington, DC:
How frustrating is it to try to explain to people that the first few days of free agency don't define your team's success in September?
John: It's awesome. Why do you ask?
Matt from South Carolina:
Looking at the draft, I don't feel anyone is worth a No. 2 overall pick. If I were the Jaguars, I would try to trade down to get more picks. What's your opinion on that?
John: I get accused a lot of answering the same questions over and over. One reason for that is I get a lot of the same questions over and over. This is one of them, so we'll say again that if there is a team wanting to trade with the Jaguars at No. 2 I have little doubt that David Caldwell would seriously consider it – and very probably do it. The problem is finding a trading partner, because if the Jaguars don't want to use the No. 2 selection chances are other teams feel the same way.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
I hear the decision-makers no longer want you on the roster as well.
John: Why should they be different than everyone else?
Chris from Jacksonville:
Robert Kraft's recent outburst regarding Wes Welker stunned me. Why would an esteemed owner personalize this? And why would Welker take less money to play in Denver?
John: I listened in on Kraft Monday when he spoke to the media about Welker, and it was nothing close to an outburst. Kraft simply outlined the Patriots' version of what happened, and he made a pretty compelling case that he very much liked Welker and very much wanted him to return. It meant enough to him to say so publicly. As far as why Welker did what he did, I don't know enough about the intricacies of the situation to say.
Ron from Jacksonville:
Forgot to mention that I have been waiting 16 years for the Jaguars to start building a team through the draft. It seems to work for the Steelers and Packers year after year.
John: Yes, it does. That doesn't mean it's easy, and it doesn't mean it's popular, but it is the right way.
Dane from Jacksonville:
I've been reading about upgrades planned for Everbank Field. What specifically is involved in keeping a stadium "up to date" as far as an NFL caliber venue? I know the scoreboards are on the radar, but how about general improvements? Are we talking seating? Security? Electrical improvements? Help me understand this better, John.
John: The primary focus for now is the video board project. The team also made improvement to the sound system last year, and there is continued work planned in that area to get it perfected. The team also is currently in the process of remodeling the weight room and other parts of the facility.
Andrew from Washington, DC:
I notice the whole Seahawks secondary is made up of late-round picks and undrafted players. It seems to me though that teams may change how they evaluate corners based on the Seahawks' success. Do you think it's still possible to get the type of cornerbacks Gus likes in the late rounds?
John: Yes.
Franklin from St. Augustine, FL:
Your response to Chris from Nebraska is indicative of my frustration with your opinion. Granted he spoke of Cox being "released" and that was incorrect BUT Cox would have signed here for the same contract. He compared Ball and Cox (both "UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS") and you ignored his comparison. His opinion was logical as it alludes to Caldwell's ability to evaluate talent. Is the Jaguars lack of "big name" signings really the reason many fans are upset? I think instead they have noticed that an already dreadful roster, so far, has gotten even worse. Why continue to minimize these fans opinions? Name one position that has improved, just one??
John: Franklin, I'm sorry you're frustrated, and I assure you it's not my intent to minimalize the fans' opinions. Fans are entitled to their opinion. They have every right to their opinions and also every right to be upset. I have been pretty clear for more than two years that fans have every right to whatever they feel and their opinions matter very much. Now, here's the rub: a team cannot and must not make its decisions based on the opinions of fans. This is upsetting to many people, but it's the truth. Even if a team wanted to make decisions based on the opinions of fans, how would you do it? Straw vote? Online poll? If you did it that way, by definition, fans who voted another way than the winning way would be upset. As for the difference in Ball and Cox, it is simple: Ball signed for a minimal signing bonus; Cox did not. Perhaps Cox would have signed for the same in Jacksonville or perhaps he wouldn't have, but it should be pretty evident by now that the Jaguars this offseason are not signing free agents that involved any substantial signing bonus. That is my point to making the distinction between free agents and released players. Were Cox already under contract he likely would still be here. Because he was not, the Jaguars viewed him as they are currently viewing any free agent – that is, they're not signing them this offseason if doing so means committing any significant long-term signing bonus.
Alex from Oran, MO:
Personally I think I could manage this team better than the people that have been in here. Why has Jacksonville never tried to just go grab talent in already developed players? They tend to stick to the average players from other systems that come here and bust. They should be reaching out to multiple talents, spending money, and making their team attractive to free agents in the future.
John: Thank goodness the Biltmore has a bar.

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