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O-Zone: Questionable judgment

Let's get to it . . . Clay from Raleigh, NC:
I know it's early and the staff has yet to embark upon roster evaluations. But given the losing culture that has entrenched itself the last few seasons, do you have a 'gut feeling' that flipping this roster ASAP will be a priority for the new staff?
John: Not really, and certainly not for the reason you cite. Your question seems to infer that the staff will try to get rid of as many players as possible because the ones here are somehow stained with the culture of losing. I doubt the new decision-makers – headed by new General Manager David Caldwell and new Head Coach Gus Bradley – will see things quite that way. I imagine they'll sign and release players based on football reasons, with the knowledge that just because the Jaguars went 2-14 doesn't mean there are no decent players on this roster. More than a few players who have come under criticism in recent seasons undoubtedly will be retained and more than people expect may be part of the core for the next two or three years. You can't turn an entire roster over in one year, or even two. The mass turnover people are expecting will happen organically, but not because Caldwell or Bradley are categorically looking to rid themselves of all things past.
Jonathan from Lawrence, KS:
I got bored, so I did some digging on Tim Tebow's numbers as a starter. In his 11 regular-season games as a starter in Denver, Tebow averaged 15.81 points a game (taking out defensive and overtime points). In nine games last year, Gabbert averaged 14.11, and Henne averaged 18.285. Combined, the Jaguars averaged 15.93 offensive points last year. Have the Tebow supporters tell me again how Tebow is going to win us games if he is going to average about the same points per game that led us to a 2-14 season.
John: Wow. You were bored.
Joanie from Middleburg, FL:
Can we get Alex Smith? I just read the 49ers are releasing him for free agent.
John: Actually, you may not have read accurately. There was a report Monday from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Smith will seek his outright release from the 49ers before free agency begins March 12. Because Smith is owed $8.5 million next season, it's practically a certainty that Smith won't be with the 49ers next season, but it's just as certain that the 49ers will at least try to trade him to another team to get something for him. Those efforts probably will take place before March 12. Now, as for the Jaguars pursuing him, whether or not he's a free agent, the question remains essentially the same: Do the Jaguars' decision-makers consider Smith a player around whom they want to build? There's no guarantee that that answer is, "Yes." If Smith is available at a reasonable price to come to Jacksonville and compete with, say, Blaine Gabbert and a mid-round rookie, then that makes sense. If Smith commands franchise-quarterback money on the open market, maybe pursuing him makes less sense. I think we'll get a better feel for how the decision-makers feel on this issue as we get closer to the combine in late February. Right now, they're trying to assess the roster and see where each player stands. At that point, they'll start piecing together free agency and draft strategy.
Robert from Dells, WI:
are you guys going to take a qb or defense end in the 2013 draft
John: maybe maybe not
Edward from Jacksonville:
I'm really sick of the Pro Bowl criticism. Let the guys have fun. Let J.J. Watt line up as a receiver. Let the players trot around and "tackle" however they see fit. They deserve it. They've earned it.
John: The Pro Bowl criticism always has fascinated me. The last I checked there was no law that said anyone had to watch it. The bottom line on the Pro Bowl is it annually gets strong enough ratings to play it again the next season, and to make a lot of money for the league and the network airing it. Until that's not true, I don't know that it's going anywhere or that major changes are necessary.
Jim from Gainesville, FL:
It is curious that the Jaguars have had needs at certain position for almost a decade now. Historically, the Jaguars have needed a franchise quarterback, an impact defensive end, and playmakers at the wide receiver position. Gene Smith most likely fixed the wide receiver position. Dave Caldwell's success hinges solely on his ability to find a franchise type quarterback, and one or two impact defensive ends.
John: Getting one or two impact defensive ends would be terrific. Getting a franchise quarterback would make everything else supplementary.
LaChance from Orlando, FL:
O-man, I'm thinking about becoming a sports writer myself, but wary because the joy and happiness you bring to us fans seems totally void in your life. Any suggestions?
John: Follow your dreams. The voids in my life have nothing to do with me being a sports writer.
Patrick from Cincinnati, OH:
I know you wouldn't know exact timing on transactions, but when would you expect to see roster signings/releases made after the staff evaluates the roster? I guess what I am curious to know, is if the Jaguars do something like the Colts did, and purge their roster, when do you think these roster moves would be made?
John: I don't know that the situations will be all that similar. The Colts last offseason had a slew of aging players with big contracts who were still under contract, players such as tight end Dallas Clark, running back Joseph Addai and linebacker Gary Brackett, for example. The Jaguars' roster, by and large, is younger than the Colts' was without as many big-name, big contract players. Also, some of the players who could move on – say, cornerback Rashean Mathis – are free agents, so the Jaguars wouldn't necessarily make an announcement on such a move. But if moves such as the ones you asked about are made, it likely would be late February or early March, with March 12 being the first day of the new league year. That's when most decisions on contracts must be made to allow teams to move forward.
Lance from Jacksonville:
I've read lots of scenarios for the upcoming draft. How about this one: Jags make a trade with the Chiefs and draft Geno Smith in the first round. Would that surprise you?
John: Oh, Lance . . . If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised.
Rob from Section 224:
I can't reach Mr. Goodell, so I'll come to you instead. The Pro Bowl should definitely stay. First, move it back to after the Super Bowl. I don't like going from the biggest game of the year to nothing. I understand that players don't want to give 100 percent or get hurt. The game shouldn't be expected to be like a regular-season game, it should just be a celebration of the season and players. And another thing: fans should count for maybe only a fourth of the votes. That way the best players, not the popular players, are there. Thanks John! Hopefully you can forward this to Roger.
John: I tried forwarding to Roger. I found my email blocked. He also has blocked me on twitter, facebook, instagram, text and is no longer taking my calls. Maybe it's because I kept calling his office and telling his assistant, "The Commissioner's Special Friend is calling; can he talk?" Either way, it's getting frustrating.
Chris from Orlando, FL/San Antonio, TX:
John, you were talking about the success of Tim Tebow. I just want to remind you that Tim would love to play in Jacksonville and us fans would love for Tim to play here. It's a perfect match. Way better than any of the other expensive quarterback like Byron and everyone else that we have invested in that have let us down. Also given his current position, I believe we can get him at a great price. Pay the man.
John: Thanks for that, Chris.
Scot from Jacksonville:
Regarding your position list for being worthy of a Top 10 pick, I disagree on the cornerback. The game is such it doesn't matter if you have Deion Sanders, if you can't rush the quarterback, the wide receiver will eventually get open. Plus, you can get truly excellent corners much later in Round 1 and easily into Round 2, just as you can with some other positions like right tackle, linebacker and running back.
John: You're not disagreeing with me. I actually put less of a value on the corner position than the other positions I mentioned, but most people around the NFL would say cornerback generally merits consideration in the Top 10.
Mike from Middleburg, FL:
Mr. O, I have started the O-zonian fan club but I am the only member. Does that make me the president?
John: Sure. It also makes you a lonely man with questionable judgment.

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