JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Dan from Las Vegas, NV
Hi, John. Put yourself in my shoes, which is an average Jags fan who has followed this team from the beginning. Do you honestly believe this management is making the right decisions? I know this is a very hard question for you to answer. I wouldn't grill my bosses, either. Given our recent draft choices, I'm extremely concerned they will screw up again.
When a team goes 5-11, and when much of its recent history consist of seasons worse than that, distrust is understandable. And the answer to your question – are the Jaguars making the right decisions? – is indeed tricky, but not because of not wanting to “grill the bosses.” Rather, it’s because the only way to make the “right decision” is to win. The decisions the Jaguars made before the 2017 season were right because they won the AFC South title and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. The decisions made before the 2018 season were wrong because they went 5-11 and had a disastrous final 12 games. The Jaguars do seem to be making smart, necessary decisions this offseason. If they are indeed signing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, that makes sense because they will be upgrading quarterback. As far as their draft decisions, the track record in recent seasons has been spotty in the first round and decent in many spots after that. There’s a lot of luck and circumstances involved. Will they make the “right decisions” in this year’s draft? I have no idea what decisions they will make, and only time will tell.
Bill from Jacksonville
John, statistics – and you – tell us the Jaguars had a Top 10 offense last year before the injuries set in. So, why is there a need to overhaul the offense (and I’m not talking just Blake Bortles), which it appears the team is about to do? Thanks! Go Jags!
I don’t sense there’s going to be an offensive overhaul. I expect the Jaguars to address tight end and offensive line in the first two rounds of the draft, and there obviously will be a change at quarterback. I don’t expect major change at receiver, starting running back or the right side of the offensive line. That’s quarterback, tight end and maybe a couple of linemen. That’s hardly an overhaul except in the sense that a quarterback change in the NFL always is enough to give the sense of major change.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL
Assuming the Jaguars sign Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, I was disillusioned that you think he will never make it to the Pride wall. Sorta tells me you don't see him as a long-term producer just a temporary band-aid to the offense?
The Pride is an exclusive group. Quarterback Mark Brunell is there because he made three Pro Bowls, quarterbacked four playoff teams and started seven seasons. I suppose Foles could have that kind of a career with the Jaguars. I don’t suppose it’s fair to expect it.
Steve from Orange Park, FL
Will the Eagles receive a 2020 compensatory draft pick for losing Foles?
Teams don’t automatically receive compensatory selections for players lost. Teams receive compensatory selections based on a formula of free agency gains and losses from the previous offseason. The NFL doesn’t make the compensatory formula public, but its essence is teams that lose more than they gain in a free-agency period gain compensatory selection(s) related to those gains and losses the following offseason. The Jaguars lost wide receiver Allen Robinson and cornerback Aaron Colvin in free agency last offseason but received no compensatory selections this offseason because they signed guard Andrew Norwell, wide receiver Donte Moncrief and cornerback D.J. Hayden. So, while Foles as an unrestricted free agent will count in the compensatory calculations, what the Eagles do or don’t do otherwise in free agency will determine their eligibility for a compensatory selection.
Andy from St. Augustine, FL
John - you said that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray didn't have to read NFL-level defenses in college and didn't face players with NFL speed, but isn't that true of every college quarterback? I'm no scout, but Murray appears to be the most accurate passer of the top college quarterbacks as well as being extremely mobile. The only potential downside is his (lack of) size. The games and highlights I've seen, he appears to be more of a pocket passer who uses his athleticism and speed when the pocket breaks down - and after all - don't you want your quarterback to be athletic and fast when J.J. Watt or Jadeveon Clowney are chasing him? His style won't expose him to any more punishment than any other quarterbacks, the question is - can he withstand the same punishment that a 6-feet-2, 230-pound quarterback can …
Murray’s style absolutely will expose him to more punishment than other quarterbacks. That’s because at 5-feet-10 seeing over the line absolutely will be a problem. That almost certainly will mean plans designed to get him outside the pocket, which will expose him to more punishment. And yes … his speed will enable him to get away from pressure sometimes. But he also will have far less time to make plays once outside the pocket and will take far more hits than he did in college. The difference in speed between college and the NFL is that real. It’s all well and good to casually say “the only downside is his (lack of) size” as if it’s a small deal. It’s not.
Erich from Treasure Valley
The Jaguars should trade down so they can get both a quarterback and an offensive lineman in the first round. Agreed? How far down would they have to trade for that to happen?
No, I don’t necessarily agree. Are you trading down for “a” quarterback and “an” offensive lineman or are you trading back for a quarterback and offensive lineman you really like? There’s a difference.
Dave from Dallas, TX
Hey Mr. O: Who is the subject of this draft review? “Smart signal caller with a terrific understanding of the game. Patient, effectively sells ball fakes and stands in the pocket. Goes through progressions and scans the field looking for the open wideout. Displays outstanding awareness and command of the offense. Senses the rush, sidesteps defenders and will double pump or hold the ball until receivers come free. Relatively accurate and does not make receivers work to come away with receptions.” Maybe Kyler Murray? Nope. Alex McGough, a recent addition to the Jags’ quarterback line up. And if “mirroring” is playing any role in our recruitment policies, then I figure we’re aiming for Murray. Thoughts?
I don’t think the Jaguars are aiming to draft Murray. I don’t think they’re trying to trade up for him, and I don’t think they want to take him in what now appears the unlikely scenario he is there at No. 7.
Chris from Roseville, CA
If Arizona drafts Murray, what do you think it would take (any team) to trade for quarterback Josh Rosen?
I’ve heard third-round selection thrown around as compensation to acquire Rosen. That seems inexpensive and I would probably spend it to get Rosen.
Joel from Jacksonville
We drafted Blaine Gabbert and managed to trade him when it was obvious the Jaguars were moving on. Would they be able to trade Blake Bortles? I suspect not because of his salary (second contract), and his body of work (he appears to have reached his potential and Gabbert at that point still had hope). Am I missing anything?
Not really. Gabbert when traded was entering the final year of his rookie contract and was therefore comparatively affordable. Bortles is entering the second year of his second contract and therefore is far less affordable.
Edward from Los Angeles, CA
There was a lot of hype and excitement when the Jaguars drafted Bortles. At what point did you have serious doubts that he could be a franchise QB?
Year 2. That was the 2015 season when Bortles threw for 35 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, and it as the when a lot of Jaguars fans and observers believed he was on his way to being a franchise quarterback. There were people at that point who continued to point out that Bortles’ numbers were being compiled in “garbage time,” but that didn’t bother me. What concerned me at the time was he seemed to struggle on third down and in important situations, and it also concerned me that some of the mechanical issues seemed to come and go. I thought and continued to think that Bortles could be serviceable in the right situation, but I had a hard time seeing him as elite.
Tony from Jacksonville
I’m a Jags fan and Dave Caldwell and management do not owe me anything. Just their best effort, which I believe they deliver every day. Now, on the other hand ... Zone, about that cash you owe me ...