JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . .
Noah from Jacksonville:
Ace Sanders was more of an offensive weapon than Denard Robinson this season. Do you think Denard should have been given a better chance or did Ace Sanders deserve the OW spot?
John: Noah, I think you're more title-focused than necessary. Whatever you called him – offensive weapon, wide receiver, dynamo – Sanders was a productive player who showed very real signs of being very explosive and very productive player moving forward. I doubt he was worried about whether he was called an offensive weapon or not. Robinson, for his part, got plenty of chances. I don't know that anyone who was watching the Jaguars closely could say much different.
Princefigs from Jacksonville:
I bet the owners hate the Pro Bowl.
John: The Pro Bowl typically outdraws World Series games, as well as big-time bowl games and a lot of other big-time sporting events. That means advertising dollars. I bet owners don't mind the Pro Bowl.
Carnell from Jacksonville:
I gotta idea – you'll love it. The player that scores the touchdown is responsible for kicking the PAT. Tell me that wouldn't create some interesting drama.
John: One fer chaos.
John from St. Johns, FL:
I was wondering why A.J. McCarron is not mentioned more as a Top 10 pick. I like Johnny Football, but to me it seems like A.J.'s accomplishments at the collegiate level would be worth something. Nobody is even mentioning him. Can you help explain where they have him "mocked" and why he's not in more conversations as an early first-rounder. Thanks in advance.
John: While McCarron was a winning quarterback at Alabama, many scouts believe he doesn't quite have the pure physical tools of a Top 10 selection. A red flag also was raised in Alabama's loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Things didn't go perfectly early for Alabama in that game and McCarron was under pressure late. McCarron didn't handle either situation all that great. That's not to say he won't be a very good NFL quarterback, but it won't help his draft stock.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
Gabbert was intended to sit behind a veteran quarterback for a year before he had to be "The Guy." He kinda, sorta did that last half of last season. I have this wild fantasy that he accidentally ends up in a game next year, is absolutely fabulous, and ends up the savior of the franchise. Are we past the point where this could possibly occur?
John: I've heard stranger fantasies I suppose.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville, FL:
I don't get Goodell and his obsession with changing the game. I get growing the game but stop trying to change rules, formats, and the very nature of the game. Do away with extra points? Seriously? And the doing away with kickoffs is just stupid. The game is fine the way it is. As one previous writer said, let men be men. These guys get paid lots of money to play a game. If there is no risk in the game, how fun will it really be to watch? We already have a sport like that. It's called golf.
John: I understand this sentiment, and I'm not nuts about the idea of eliminating kickoffs. But there is a pretty strong case to be made for their elimination. As much as it may be easy to say, "Let men be men," the kickoff is a play on which said men often are in brutally violent career-ending collisions. There is a risk of that on any play, but particularly kickoffs, and it wouldn't be surprising if at some point it was eliminated. Goodell as the league's leader is trying to figure a way to make the game safer without ruining it. There are no easy answers, but remember there are many, many criticizing former leaders of the NFL for closing their eyes to concussions. The leadership now is keeping its eyes open. The decisions and changes may not always be perfect, but they'll continue to happen until a better balance between safety and violence is found.
Dakota from Dupree, SC:
So if the ball is on the 20 and you get a holding penalty is it half the distance to the goal or the regular penalty? ;)
John: Wait. What?
Brian from Mandarin, FL:
A hated scenario question: Let's say Bridgewater and Clowney are off the board and the Jags draft has an offensive tackle as best available player. Taking an offensive tackle, can Cameron Bradfield and Austin Pasztor move to guard with the idea of competing with Rackley and Nwaneri for starting and backup positions? Of course we'd still need a center.
John: Sure, Bradfield and Pasztor can move to guard – Pasztor, in particular. But I honestly don't expect that to happen. The Jaguars liked what they saw of Pasztor this season and like his potential. His development was precisely the sort of thing you need when building a roster. You can't draft everything in the first or second round. You have to have longer-shot players develop. He showed signs of development – certainly enough signs that I don't expect the Jaguars to take offensive tackle at No. 3.
Nelly from Section 132:
From watching the Senior Bowl, the players have positively gravitated toward Coach Gus. You can tell he is a great guy to learn from.
John: I'll offer the caveat that I was not at the Senior Bowl, but watching from afar it was indeed striking how the players on the South team gravitated to Bradley. People who have been around Bradley in Jacksonville and previous coaching stops understand his approach and aren't surprised, but others may not quite grasp the extent of his ability to motivate and reach players. After last week in Mobile, a few more do.
Mike from East Moline, IL:
How good do Caldwell and Bradley feel about Andre Branch? He made significant improvement as a pass rusher in the second half of the season. Do you think it is a foregone conclusion that Caldwell will take a pass rusher in the first three rounds?
John: The Jaguars like Branch, and they like how he focused and progressed this season. He did improve in the second half of the season, but at the same time, when defensive line coach Todd Wash met with Branch following the season the emphasis was that there was much improvement to be made. But whatever strides Branch does or doesn't make – or however the Jaguars feel about him – pass rusher is still a need. The Jaguars' pass rush as a whole improved late last season, but it didn't remotely improve to the point that it's a finished product and finding a "premier" pass rusher remains a priority. I expect one to be drafted in the first round either this year or next year because typically the elite ones are hard to find outside the first round. Remember, there are no foregone conclusions in the draft. That's true every year and it's true of the Jaguars this year.
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
I watched a lot of the Senior Bowl coverage on NFL Network this week. They harped on the long defensive backs available this year and the trend of teams wanting players of that type. Seeing as how Caldwell focused so much on the secondary last year do you see him standing pat with what he has and filling needs in other areas, or could you see him going defensive back in Rounds 3 and later to get one more young press corner to put with Gratz and Cyp in the young secondary?
John: Remembering that someone once said there are no foregone conclusions in the draft, the Jaguars likely won't draft a corner. Now, if one falls to them that they absolutely love in the later rounds, anything is possible, but it's not an urgent situation. Alan Ball and Dwayne Gratz played well enough last season that it's not an immediate need, and don't forget Demetrius McCray. The Jaguars like him and think he has a chance to develop in Year Two.
Lyle from Kingsland, GA:
Hey John, what is the timeline on the new scoreboards and pools?
John: Work has begun and the pace will increase. They are expected to be finished by the next season.
Brett from Ridgeland, MS:
Which free agent from the Jags do you think is most likely to be re-signed? Which is the most important one to re-sign? I think most likely is Henne followed closely by Will Blackmon. Most important is probably the same with Jones-Drew slightly behind Blackmon.
John: I think the Jaguars would like very much to re-sign Henne, and I think that's probably the most important target because of the importance of the position. I'd consider Blackmon likely, too, and I'm not ready to call Jones-Drew unlikely yet. Maybe that's just me.
Larry from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
All of us at some time in our lives have experienced the need (requirement) to respond to an extremely difficult question that made us sweat out our on-the-record answer. In your JAX O-Zone tenure what was that specific question and your response?
John: This one. "This one."
O-Zone: Off the record
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . .
Noah from Jacksonville: