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O-Zone: Passing it along

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Kyle from DC:
Sigh. Being a Jaguars fan hasn't been easy and Blackmon's suspension doesn't help the rebuilding cause. I'd love for some things to go our way for a change.
John: It hasn't been easy being a Jaguars fan, but let's not lose perspective. Blackmon's suspension is disturbing and sure doesn't help in the first four games. And as Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said it, it is important Blackmon realizes he's "at a crossroads" in his career and life. But the suspension absolutely does not negate everything that has gone on here in the last few months. Blackmon needs to get things right, and get moving in the right direction, but whether he does or not won't change what Bradley and Caldwell are doing.
Lee from Jacksonville:
heavy sigh...
John: yep.
William from Savannah, GA:
O-Man, O-Man, O-Man: Did David Caldwell go to Georgetown? He had to because "Hoya Saxa" describes his approach to the draft. What stones, indeed! It can't be easy to go against the tide that want you to pick a quarterback even when you know none of the quarterbacks in the draft were better than what you currently have on your roster. What conviction! What stones! Gotta' be from Georgetown
John: David Caldwell went to John Carroll and while I don't quite grasp your Georgetown reference, it seems to make you happy, so I'll let you savor it. Regarding Caldwell's "guts" on draft day, I guess he did show a certain amount of fortitude. At the same time, I think he'd tell you that more than fortitude, his actions stemmed from a strong sense of his own beliefs. If he looked at the quarterbacks and didn't see one better than Gabbert, then his own beliefs in how to build a roster take over. That's conviction, yes, but it's also experience and knowledge of how best to field a competitive team in the long run.
James from Orange Park, FL:
I don't mean to be all doom and gloom, but what if all our draft picks turns out to be busts?!
John: Then the draft wasn't nearly as good as people thought.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
What are the chances of Chad Henne getting cut and the Jaguars deciding to let three young quarterbacks battle it out to be the starter?
John: There's a chance for anything, but I doubt that would happen before training camp. Right now, the team has four quarterbacks and while most fans have an opinion formed on the two veterans, the Jaguars' decision-makers have only worked with them on the field for a few weeks. It makes sense to let competition happen in training camp, then figure out what's next after that.
James from Orange Park, FL:
I don't mean to be all sunshine and roses, but what if all our draft picks this year turn into All Pros?!
John: Then the draft was better than people thought.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
What's to say someone that's played left tackle their entire college career can be just as effective at right tackle? From what I've read, it's like a baseball player batting right or left handed, which most are unable to do.
John: It's not quite that extreme, but it's an adjustment. Perhaps Joeckel can be just as effective on the right side as the left; perhaps he can't. The Jaguars believe Joeckel has the skill set to be effective on the right side. They believe he has the athleticism and the talent that even if it's not his perfect position immediately he will be very good there. We shall see.
John from Section 105:
Will there be any competition at punter this offseason?
John: I doubt it.
Cliff from Las Vegas, NV:
Does Gabbert look significantly better than Henne in practice and drills? I'm just curious why everybody speculates that Gabbert is the presumed starter. I am excited to see how the offense looks with some actual time to read a defense and make a good throw.
John: I'll preface this by saying this is the same thing many people wrote and said last year, but yes, Gabbert does often look better than Henne in practice. This doesn't necessarily mean he is the better quarterback. I have said before I believe Gabbert will start, not necessarily based on how he has "looked" in practice, but rather on him having been a Top 10 draft selection and on him showing enough flashes at times last season that he merits one more extended look from a staff of new decision-makers. And yes, Gabbert probably will be in a better situation should he win the job. We'll see what all of that means – providing, of course, it happens.
Andrew from Tampa, FL:
Where does Mike Harris fit in with the cornerback competition? Does he fit the mold of a cornerback that can press, play off at times, and play Cover 2?
John: He probably at first glance fits more as a nickel corner, and that probably would be his ideal role. He may not have been exactly what this regime would have been drafted, but he certainly adds to the level of competition and athleticism Gus Bradley wants in the secondary.
Kelvin from Atlanta, GA:
I heard Gil Brandt speak very highly of the UFA DE Hazel last night. Why did you not mention his name in your expert opinion? You're a writer, please stay in your lane.
John: And you as well.
Tim from Plantation, FL:
What is wrong with Dave Caldwell? I thought he was supposed to get the community behind him and all he has is alienate the fans even more over the Tebow thing? Honestly what do they have to lose here?
John: No, David Caldwell's job is not to "get the community behind him." Do people really think that? His job is to win. After that, the rest takes care of itself. If he doesn't do that, nothing else matters.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Now that the Jets have released Tebow after failing to trade him, where do you think he will be playing in the fall?
John: I do know where he won't be playing.
Spence from Utah:
I noticed you weren't excited about the draft picks. Is that just part of your job to be level-headed and see the big picture, or did you really just not like picks No. 4-8?
John: I don't know that I "liked' or "disliked" the picks. Honestly, I wasn't well-versed enough in the second-day selections to know whether I liked them or not, but you did hit on something very true – that part of my job is not to get "excited" about much one way or the other. In an event such as the draft, there is a huge amount of information to sift through as it plays out, and the event plays out quickly. If we as a staff were to take time to "man-hug it out" and high five after every pick there would scarcely be time to get the more important things done – i.e., make fun of Gene Frenette, surf eBay and keep the chocolate-chip cookies away from Vito Stellino. Seriously, I liked the Jaguars' draft. I thought David Caldwell followed a plan, and it seemed as if Gus Bradley and Caldwell had very sound reasons for the direction they went. That's the only way I know how to assess a draft. There are too many unknowns to waste too much time man-hugging.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
What We Learned – Excellent piece John. Informative, concise, and insightful. A great wrap up, puts everything in one place and in perspective. Looks like you have some right brain to go along with that journalistic flair. Thanks.
John: You're welcome. I must have used my blinker.
Logan from Dickinson, ND:
I was talking to a Denver Broncos fan about the draft. I told him I was a Jaguars fan and he brought up the playoff game we won in Denver during the '96 season. He said he won't ever forget that last drive, Brunell to Smith. I was only 6 years old during that time. Can you put in your words how much of an upset that was or compare it to other sports upsets?
John: First, take out upsets that occurred in championship games – such as Villanova over Georgetown or Jets over Colts. Those always will be remembered more than most others. But other than that, in terms of upsets in professional sports, I'd say there never has been one bigger. The Jaguars were perceived as lucky to be in the postseason. The Broncos were the top seed in the AFC. It's also an upset that has gotten bigger with time because the Broncos won the next two Super Bowls, so the loss to the Jaguars perhaps cost them a three-peat. It was big. Really, really big.
JT from Augusta, GA:
David Caldwell is an idiot! Tell the owner that if he doesn't sign Tebow, I will never, ever pull for the Jaguars again.
John: On it.

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