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O-Zone: My own calling

Let's get to it . . . Tommy from Jacksonville:
O-Man, Gus Bradley has that look of the cat that swallowed the canary. Does he know something about this team that we don't see??
John: No. But what he does have is the belief that there is ability on the Jaguars' roster, and that there is a long-range plan for steady improvement. Right now, that's more important to Bradley than the concept of victories and losses. Bradley has talked often since his hiring of using that approach – a philosophy that worked in Seattle the past four years – and he talked Tuesday of feeling good during the hiring process that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan believed in that approach, too. Bradley is an enthusiastic person who very much believes in his process, and in Jacksonville, he seems to have found a place where he is confident that that process will be given time to play itself out.
Cliff from Orange Park, FL:
Just listened to a great interview on 1010XL with Coach Bradley. What energy. I am fired up for the season, but "Stand United" should be changed to "Do Your Job." I can see it now: fourth quarter, opening day, defense needing a stop to seal the deal and the whole stadium chanting, "Do your job." Is the personality in that interview the real coach Bradley?
John: If that's not the real Gus Bradley, he's doing a great job acting it. I haven't seen another version yet.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Did Paul Spicer get fired? I haven't heard and was interested in knowing how he did as a coach last year.
John: Spicer was the assistant defensive line coach the last two seasons. He did fine for both staffs, but that position does not exist on the staff this season and Spicer was not retained.
Patrick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Is Michael Vick a hall of famer? He is one of the best athletes in NFL history.
John: Vick indeed is one of the most athletic quarterbacks in NFL history. I do not believe he will be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Phil from Belleville, NJ:
I just read that the Jaguars have the fourth-highest payroll at $142 million. How can this be? Who are we paying all this money to? I thought we would have one of the lowest payrolls since we have so much cap room. Please explain this to me.
John: The Jaguars' payroll of $142 million is the salaries and bonuses paid during the 2012 league year. That's different than cap room, which is in a sense defined as an accounting/bookkeeping mechanism to account for salaries and various bonuses. So, yes, while the Jaguars indeed had a very high payroll last season they still have cap room with which to maneuver this offseason.
Ivan from Jacksonville:
It has been a week and I still see, "They should focus on winning instead of a new logo." Can we make a public service announcement that the coaches and players were not interrupted in order to come up with
John: the logo or scoreboard proposals? We could, but it wouldn't do much good. People who want to hear logic and reason usually hear it quickly, and those who don't usually don't listen at all no matter how often it's said. Repetition rarely is the path to mass understanding.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
I don't understand letting Knighton walk. He's a pretty solid stopgap DT with some great potential and the ability to dominate at the line when rested. Why allow him to hit the open market? It's just another wasted draft pick and one we'll need to replace with a player who may or may not be as solid.
John: New defensive line coach Todd Wash on Tuesday said he believes Knighton would fit well in the Jaguars' new defensive scheme. Whether or not he fits into the team's concept in terms of salary remains to be seen.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
I agree completely that in free agency you don't want to be there early. Typically, you're wasting money, even if it's on a good player. The one exception is the QB position. If you don't have a man in place and you think there's a guy who has a chance to be well-above average (like someone who was completing over 70 percent of their passes), you pull the trigger. You don't sit on a bust because you don't want to be heavily involved in the early stages of FA.
John: Correct. Now, find the quarterback available in free agency, and pull that trigger.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I think it would be a BIG mistake not to ensure Derek Cox is a Jaguar next season. Obviously, don't break the bank, but he needs to be signed to a long-term deal.
John: That's an easy statement to make – as long as "general manager" isn't in your title. Yes, the Jaguars ideally would have Derek Cox on the roster next season, but you can't analyze his future without considering contract. If you can get Cox for a midrange contract, yes, but his injury history makes it very, very risky to pay him on the level of the NFL's top cornerbacks.
Dane from Jacksonville:
What impact do you think this awareness of concussions will have on player contracts? Will they increase due to the NFLPA pressuring to gain more compensation for such a dangerous game? Or will they go down because teams won't be willing to risk as much money on players whose careers could be cut short?
John: Probably neither. Pressure from the NFLPA doesn't cause compensation to go up or down. It goes up or down based on perceived supply and demand. Owners perceive they need certain players each offseason, and they are willing to pay to get them. That drives salaries. In theory, issues such as injury risk could have an effect, but once free agency begins, owners will spend because of fear of another owner getting what they want and believe they need.
Logan from Big Bear City:
Our wide receiver corps core could be stacked! Johnny Knox was just released. This guy has speed and can catch. And Harvin!?! Here is my idea as to what would be an amazing receiving depth chart. (Release Robinson) 1, Blackmon 2, Shorts 3, Harvin. 4, Knox 5, Shipley. Draft a CB and resign Cox.
John: Yes!! Sign them all!!
Keath from Tampa, FL:
In regards to free agency, I agree we need to take a cautious look at who's available. However, I think Jag fans have a right to be upset. I mean, for the last five years or so, we HAVEN'T really gotten our money in our free agents. As you said, these usually don't pan out. In essence, as an optimist, we HAVE to get some big guys eventually, and one of these days, one will work out. Maybe. Kinda. Sorta. Eventually...Catch my drift?
John: No.
Michael from Kentwood, MI:
Does the decision of Robinson even matter at this point? With what we know about these head injuries, he may only be one hit away from done - shouldn't we plan our future as if he isn't going to be part of it?
John: The Jaguars no doubt have a contingency plan if Robinson doesn't play. It really centers on trying to get better at every position, including wide receiver. Shipley may be an option if Robinson doesn't play, but I also think you'll see the team add a free agent or draft pick there. As Gus Bradley has said on several occasions, he wants competition at every position.
David from Durban, South Africa:
From public statements issued by the Ravens ownership and their GM, it sounds as though they will exercise the franchise tag on Joe Flacco and not the "exclusive" franchise tag. The Jaguars have the cap space and the Ravens are so hard up against the cap that a move could be made (with a poison pill provision) by the Jaguars for Flacco. That would be a wise free-agent investment for a proven quarterback commodity. He would be worth the two first-round picks that it would require to complete the transaction. Please don't answer about building through the draft as there are no elite QBs in this draft or in the 2014 draft.
John: First, please don't ask me questions that include "please don't answer about" this or that. You ask the questions and I'll answer. I think that's only fair. Second, I don't know that public statements from Ravens ownership and General Manager Ozzie Newsome have been to that effect, but Peter King of Sports Illustrated has written that the tag used on Flacco – if one is used at all – indeed might not be the exclusive-rights tag. That would indeed create the possibility of a team signing Flacco, and in that scenario, I believe a team would. It would also be worth the Jaguars exploring the option. Ultimately, I doubt it gets to that point. The Ravens will find some way to secure Flacco. You just don't see teams let healthy franchise quarterbacks leave in the prime of their careers.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
The Pope resigned. My vote is for you to take over.
John: I can't. I'm busy making a jerk out of myself for the noble purpose of providing a daily distraction to a small, twisted audience of people with little else to do. Ah, yes – we all have our callings.

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