JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Sam from Orlando, FL:
What are the differences in your trained(?) eye that would separate Garoppolo from being another Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett or even another Matt Cassell? I don't think the Jags should make this trade, BUT I think he will break the mold from those three. Thoughts?
John: I think first of all you're correct to put the (?) next to "trained," because when it comes to my eye, the train left its station long ago. You're also right to question if there's any significant reason to believe Jimmy Garoppolo will truly fare that much better than the three aforementioned former Patriots quarterbacks. Cassell, like Garoppolo, had turned in some impressive performances before being acquired by the Kansas City Chiefs. And Mallett, like Garoppolo, had been selected early enough in the draft to give him some cache with pursuing teams. The dilemma with Garoppolo is obvious: is he truly an ascending former second-round draft choice with a high ceiling or has he – like others – benefitted from the Patriots' success? Garoppolo seems to me to have the ability to be an NFL starter. The Patriots weren't the only team that liked him relatively early in the draft and he did show this past season he has NFL starting-quarterback tools. There's no way to know how he'll fare in the role of a team's starting quarterback, but there's no way to know how anyone will fare in that role before they assume it. Acquiring a starting quarterback always is a risk. Garoppolo looks like he has a chance to be worth it. Still, while Garoppolo is fine enough subject of mid-February talk, I don't have a vibe of that being the Jaguars' planned direction. I see Blake Bortles competing with Brandon Allen and a less expensive veteran than Garoppolo. I expect Bortles to win the job, and I expect it to essentially be a make-or-break year for Bortles on that front. If he proves he's the guy, then he's the guy. If not …
Marc from Jacksonville:
What's your best guess at Myles Jack's primary role in the Jags' 2017 defense: A, split reps at SAM; B, play all or most of the reps at SAM; C, take over at MLB; D, some sort of hybrid-SS role; E, play only nickel downs at MLB?
John: I'd project "B" or "C," but I'm not sure beyond that.
Joel from Jacksonville:
Regarding Julius Thomas, I have read through numerous outside sources that the Jaguars have committed to him because of a bonus due him last Friday. I have heard on a couple of Jaguars sites that the payment is due at or near the end of the league year. Which is really, and why is there a difference between outside and internal reporting?
John: Thomas has $3 million in guarantees kick in on March 9, the start of the new league year. That's when the Jaguars must decide whether or not to commit to him. He remains on the roster, and I don't yet know whether that will be the case after March 9. As far as "Jaguars sites," there's only one – and that's this one. The others are by definition outside reporting. There's nothing wrong with those sites, and they're often right, but they're not "Jaguars sites." I don't work for other sites, so I don't know why they do what they do. I can only speak for this site. We don't typically report on player transactions unless until a player officially signs, re-signs or is released, but I attempt to shed as much light on Jaguars goings on as possible here in the O-Zone.
Richard from Lincoln, RI:
So many Patriots fans remind me how bad the Jaguars are, but they seem to forget that the Patriots sucked for a long time and did not win a Super Bowl until their 42nd season in the league. Oh, wait a minute … they didn't forget. They just didn't know they existed until 2001!!! Jags have a way to go before 42 years. AGREE?
John: Yep, fans gonna fan – even Patriots fans.
Chris from Houston, TX:
I'd like to see the Jaguars sign Brian Hoyer. He would be a substantial upgrade over Chad Henne. He is capable of starting and playing sufficiently well for a team to make the playoffs. If we roll with Bortles for six games, and he plays poorly, Hoyer could give this team a fighting chance the rest of the way. Do you see him as a realistic target for this team?
John: I wouldn't rule it out. Hoyer wouldn't be the sort of franchise quarterback that excites the fan base, and he's probably not a long-term answer, but he has shown the ability to play long stretches without catastrophic errors, and that can be a good target when seeking short-term quarterback competition.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
John, I keep hearing everyone praise Jimmy Garoppolo, but do they forget what's happened recently? Matt Cassel played a whole season for New England, and went 11-5. And he ended up being a career back up. Rob Johnson also looked great in limited playing time and he turned into the No. 9 pick in the draft (Fred Taylor). Just because Garoppolo looked great in a few games, on probably the best team in football, doesn't mean he's the Jaguars' savior. It doesn't even mean he'd be better than Blake on this team.
John: That indeed is the dilemma.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
I am still standing firm on the "trade-back-in-the-draft" stance. This No. 4 pick is not a good pick for us. We need a later pick and picks for the future because a running back behind this line is a waste, a wash at defensive end is not safe and we have a good secondary already so we don't need a rookie safety. Trade back and get a safer pick.
John: Kudos to you for standing firm. A man must stand his ground on all matters of great import. I have no problem with trading back, and this in a sense seems like a good year to do it because there may not be a guaranteed franchise player at No. 4. The rule of thumb in the top five should be to draft a player who you see being a core of your franchise for a decade. If there's not one then that fourth selection probably isn't worth using. Of course, if that's the case then a lot of other teams may feel that way, too. Hence, the difficulty sometimes of trading in … you know, real life.
Robert from Lexington, KY:
I can appreciate you inserting some hyphens into my question from the other day, but editing out the Oxford comma? Unforgivable.
John: I neither seek, desire nor need forgiveness on this issue. I'm a newspaper man at heart. As such, while I appreciate and even enjoy an Oxford comma while reading the works of Somerset Maugham, it has no place here in the O-Zone.
Paul from Jacksonville:
So, in theory, the Jags could attempt to trade back in the first round acquiring that team's later first-round pick and whatever else they can collect. I would imagine a second-round pick plus others would be in order. Use the traded-back pick for Jimmy Garoppolo from the Pats, use their second-round picks on Desmond King and their highest-rated offensive lineman ... Boom, one pick turns into a franchise quarterback, the best young secondary in the NFL, and competition for the O-line. .. Jags win again in April!
David from Broward County, FL:
O-Man, all the Hall of Fame talk about Boselli – and he absolutely belongs in the HOF – got me thinking. Since Terrell Davis got into the HOF, what about Fred Taylor? Fred Taylor was a better running back than Davis in every way you can evaluate a running back. Fred was one of the best running backs of the last 20 years. Jim Brown said that Fred was one of the best running backs he has ever seen. What do you think? How about some love for Fred?
John: I consider Taylor among the best running backs I ever have seen, and I believe he was better than any back of the last 20 years with the exception of perhaps LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson. To me, that puts him in elite status and puts him in Hall conversation. I said throughout the recent Hall discussion around Boselli I didn't believe that Boselli was being overlooked any longer – or that he is any longer the victim any injustice. I said that because Boselli is now among the finalists and is being discussed, and I believe from talking to Hall voters he is getting his due. Remember, just because you don't win a vote doesn't mean you're being treated unfairly; it may simply mean someone thought someone at that moment was more deserving. While this is true of Boselli, it's not true of Taylor. I say that because Taylor was not among the players this year considered for Hall recognition. For Boselli to not to make the Hall is disappointing, but it is a function of there being a limited number of spots per year. For Taylor not even to be considered? That's ridiculous.
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Sam from Orlando, FL: