JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it ….
Bill from Hammock, FL
Zone, I was thinking we should appreciate Dave Caldwell for the condition he left the franchise in. It was time for a change, and he failed to acquire a franchise quarterback. However, he made so many decisions acquiring more draft picks and cap space knowing it would not necessarily help his future. The Jaguars, by all accounts, are in an enviable position and he deserves a lot of credit for it.
Nothing said or written will change the past, and nothing said or written will change how Jaguars fans/observers feel about former General Manager David Caldwell. Whatever say he had in decisions and when he had that say – and how much he was or wasn't to blame for the team's record during his tenure – was discussed ad nauseum in this space while he was here, and there seems little reason to reexplore the past during an offseason that is so focused on the future. But yes … Caldwell last offseason absolutely made moves to clear salary-cap space and acquire draft capital – not only in the 2020 offseason but for 2021 and beyond. It's not fair to "credit" Caldwell or Head Coach Doug Marrone for the team having the No. 1 overall selection next month because that was not their aim; their aim was to win. But however the franchise arrived here, it is now in a rare and enviable situation of having the No. 1 overall selection in a quarterback-rich draft year. The Jaguars also have a new head coach and new leadership, along with the most cap space in the NFL and 11 draft selections. It's about as clean a slate as is imaginable, with as much hope as is imaginable. Credit Caldwell for that if you like. Or don't. He without question would have rather succeeded and therefore still be with the Jaguars, but you're right that many of his decisions – and actions – contributed to where the Jaguars are today.
Tom from Jax
Hey O, I'm on the Alex Smith for Jags backup quarterback wagon. Except my approach would be different. Sign Smith as the starter. Explain to both him and Trevor Lawrence they will both be competing for the starting job. The competition would be good for both players as well as the Jags. From what I have seen of Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer's quotes about Smith, Ervin holds him in high regard as diligent, smart and hard-working in the film room – actually said one of the smartest, hardest working. If the Jags use this approach, Smith will not have to concede to a backup role right away. Then when Trevor finally does start, Alex could extend his career as a backup/mentor/coach for Lawrence. He is going to be 37 at the start of the season. I bring all this up as you said you didn't think you could talk Peyton into a mentorship role for Trevor. Alex Smith might be the next best thing. So, in short, I'm for Smith as starter till Lawrence can beat him out in practice and on the field.
This is fine in theory, but perhaps more difficult to execute in practice. That's because if Smith indeed is looking to play – really play – for another full season or two, he's going to know that realistically won't happen in Jacksonville. So, while I agree that everything about Smith indicates he would be a good signing, I don't expect that to happen. And who the hell is Ervin?
Charles from Midlothian, VA
Think we should avoid the No. 1 pick? I do. First off. Nothing's wrong with Minshew, the rest of the team sucks; he had no offensive line and a coach on his way out. Jaguars quarterbacks to start at least 20 games. No. 1 Gardner Minshew II (sixth round), 93.1 - 23/20th; No. 2 David Garrard (fourth round), 85.8 - 86/76th; No. 3 Mark Brunell (trade with Green Bay, fifth round 1993), 85.4 - 120/117th. Secondly, where has getting the No. 1 quarterback in the draft gotten us? No. 1 Blaine Gabbert (No. 10, first round, 2011), 66.4, 28/27th; No. 2 Chad Henne (free agent, second round, 2008), 75.2, 31/22nd; No. 3 Byron Leftwich (No. 7, first round, 2003), 80.6, 46/44th; No. 4 Blake Bortles (No. 3, first round, 2014), 80.6- 75/73rd.
Terry from Cordele, GA
It seems that the No. 1 Pick is all but set with all the writers agreeing. In your young life, yet incredible ocean of knowledge, and flowing wisdom has a pick (not named Andrew Luck) been more unanimous in the press? And if someone has been close, who was it and how did it work out?
No, I do not recall analysts being in such agreement about the No. 1 selection in a draft since the Indianapolis Colts selected quarterback Andrew Luck No. 1 in the 2012 NFL Draft. Perhaps there was this much of a consensus when the Colts selected John Elway No. 1 overall in 1983. I wasn't covering the league then, and it was also a different time. I suppose the Colts selecting quarterback Peyton Manning No. 1 in 1998 may have somewhat similar to this, but quarterback Ryan Leaf made that at least debatable. If Manning and Elway indeed are the best comparable situations … they worked out OK.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Almost two weeks out from legal tampering and free agency. Do you have any two-week-out bold predictions for a move or two we might make?
I've long said addressing defensive tackle, tight end and safety in free agency make sense for the Jaguars this offseason. Receiver and cornerback could make sense, too.
Patrick from Jacksonville
Why look for a backup when Minshew is still under contract?
It's possible the Jaguars aren't looking for a backup and indeed will go with Minshew in the role. If they are looking for a veteran backup, the idea would be to surround a young quarterback with an older, veteran player who could help set a tone for the quarterback room.
Daniel from Johnston
Am I the only one questioning drafting a running back in the first two rounds when we've already got a Pro Bowl running back on the roster in his prime that was UNDRAFTED? Seems like a waste of a lot of good draft equity from a team that has a ton of needs and perhaps running back is the only need they don't have???
You're probably not the only one questioning it, and the Jaguars haven't stated publicly that they will select a running back in the first two rounds. And considering how well running back James Robinson played as a rookie last season, it's very possible they won't go that direction. But if they do go that way, it would make a lot of sense. Robinson is a very good player. But he's only one good player. Having a second running back with game-breaking speed would make sense in Meyer's scheme, which potentially could place great emphasis on the run – and on having various dynamic options out of the backfield.
Pat from Duval
Everyone has questions about how Meyer's experience as a college coach will affect his experience in the NFL, but I think we might be overlooking the role his most recent job might play in the next couple years. Am I right to think his knowledge of players coming out of the draft should be superior to other NFL head coaches? Obviously, he doesn't have the in-depth perspective of a scout, but I think his foundation of knowledge will allow him to be more hands on when working with General Manager Trent Baalke and the scouting department to assemble a draft chart.
Meyer's experience in college football absolutely should help in this area. Not only did he spend the past two seasons as a college football analyst for FOX, but he was also the head coach at Ohio State when many players in this draft were entering college – and Meyer no doubt was familiar with many former four- and five-star players who are now entering the NFL. He has a working knowledge and a starting point. That doesn't hurt.
Sascha from Cologne, Germany
Hey John, do you think it makes sense to spend heavily in free agency this year despite all the draft picks? It seems this year's free agents are a lot of really good players who can help immediately. What do you think?
Yes, I think it makes sense for the Jaguars to participate in free agency this offseason. As with any year, it doesn't make sense to simply participate in free agency for the sake of participating. But considering there figures to be more capable free agents available this offseason because of a lower salary cap than normal, it absolutely makes sense. Perhaps this year more than many.
David from Oviedo, FL
O - Not everyone can carry the weight of the world.
Empty prayer, empty mouths.