O-Zone: Stat guy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Patrick from Orlando, FL:
Branden Albert to the Jaguars? Is this real? Will it happen?
John: This question is about a report, and until there's something official, a report is just a report. But the report in this case is an intriguing one, with Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reporting that the Jaguars are interested in trading with the Miami Dolphins to acquire offensive tackle Branden Albert. Salguero speculated in the article that the Dolphins might want Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas in return. The deal on the surface makes a lot of sense because Albert is a two-time Pro Bowl selection – and because the Jaguars this week opted against exercising left tackle Kelvin Beachum's four-year option. That means the Jaguars absolutely must address the position. So, your question: is this real? Will it happen? There are many times when trade "rumors" are just that – rumors. In this case, Salguero is a good reporter and this deal does make sense, so … stay tuned.
Jim from Nocatee, FL:
Yes, Blake Bortles had a horrible year, one that I never saw coming; but it's interesting to hear AFTER the season that not only was his shoulder injured, but also tendinitis of his right wrist. I work in the world of physical therapy; that to me was the reason most of his passes fluttered, or were overthrown and just plain ugly. Here's to an offseason of treatment and rest and a return to old Blake.
John: It's inaccurate to say inaccuracy (see what I did there?) is the only area Bortles must improve. He must grow in many key areas, including and perhaps most notably field vision and decision-making. It's also probably a reach to say all of his inaccuracy was caused by injury because he never has been among the league's most accurate passers. Still, it's also fair to say the injuries Bortles played through were significant, and it's very fair to say the Jaguars would like nothing better than for an offseason of rest to produce an improved Bortles. Is that a realistic hope? We'll see.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
Please explain what will be gained by acquiring Branden Albert while letting Kelvin Beachum leave? Albert can have no more than a couple of years left on his body. His physicality is depleted to where he is no better than average. I believe that his salary would be slightly more than Beachum. Kelvin is younger and has more upside potential. Wouldn't Beachum be a better option even if he only played marginally better than last year? So far, it appears that our new management team has placed a lot of names on a spinning roulette wheel and is throwing darts hoping to hit on the "savior."
John: I got a few of these emails Friday, and truest answer is the obvious answer: if the Jaguars indeed are interested in Albert and letting Beachum go, it's because they believe Albert is a better option. It's too early to tell yet if a trade for Albert will happen, but remember: the Jaguars' offensive line as a whole was improved this past season but not anything close to dominant. It appears the front office is exploring ways to try to make that area better, and it appears the Jaguars are not standing pat. Is that surprising considered the new management of which you speak took over a team that went 3-13 last season?
Ryan from Fremont:
With you being in the building, have you noticed a culture change since all the staff positions have been filled, or is it just business as usual around The 'Bank until things start picking up more?
John: I'm not quite sure how to define "culture change," but there is a different feel. That's always going to be the case when a new head coach brings in a lot of new assistants, and there certainly is a feeling of newness when passing coaches in the hallway. There are also is an obvious change of energy with Tom Coughlin in the building as executive vice president of football operations. That's primarily because there's automatically going to be a different energy with a personality as forceful as Coughlin's in the building. Right now, coaches and personnel officials are largely "bunkered up" preparing for the offseason program, the draft and the 2017 season – and comparatively few players are in the building. Once players return in March, and particularly once coaches can begin interacting with players the following month, the culture change will be much more obvious. It's a calm-before-the-storm feel right now. The storm will burst in a couple of months.
Hugo from Albuquerque, NM:
O-dude, the Vikings and Sam Bradford pretty much showed the caliber of quarterback available outside of drafting and developing. Nobody can argue against Bortles' need for competition and improvement, but mortgaging the future for just a guy? I say nah.
John: Hey, one not fer just a guy!
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
So if you would draft Garoppolo with the No. 4 pick if he was in this year's draft, do you call up the New England Patriots and offer the No. 4 pick in the draft for him? I don't see how they could turn that down.
John: This question references a recent O-Zone answer in which I said I would draft Jimmy Garoppolo No. 4 if he was available – so yeah, when answering that I meant I probably trade the No. 4 overall selection for him. That's my answer based on the limited amount I have seen from him – and it's based on the idea that acquiring a quarterback always is a risk, so why not take that risk on the player many consider the best young quarterback available? Here's the thing to remember: My answer and opinion is comparatively cavalier, and it's easy for me to say I'd spent a premium draft choice on a quarterback. It's not my selection and I didn't scout Garoppolo in college. If I had, perhaps my answer would different.
Brian from Orlando, FL:
After seeing Leonard Fournette highlights I hope the Jags get him so losing will be fun again!
John: I'm actually torn on Fournette. I'm intrigued by his speed and power, but I'm a little concerned about his ability to make people m … oh, I get it. Clever, Brian … very, very clever.
Steven from Charlotte, NC:
If Bortles was immediately cut tomorrow, do you think another team would sign him with the idea that he would immediately be their starting QB? I kinda doubt this, which essentially tells me we have the worst starting quarterback in the NFL.
John: Nah, he's not the worst, and he would get signed. But the problem is he's not in the top 20 or so, and if you're not in the top 20 or so you better get there or you won't be starting long.
Mason from Palm Bay, FL:
Secretly, Jerell has a poster of Bortles hanging above his bed. Welp, I guess it's no longer secret.
John: I've suspected this all along.
Andrea from Magenta, Italy:
Don't you think that the argument against picking a running back in the first round, based on the poor run blocking of the offensive line, is a bit of a weak argument? If you think that the guy is as talented as to be selected No. 4 overall playing a position that is not generally drafted that high, then you are missing on a sensational player just because other players on your team aren't good enough to support him: you're letting your current roster situation dictate your future roster situation. I think that a team should instead reverse the situation: pick the guy and then build around him a line that can allow him to be as successful as he can be. Not picking him is a bit like (over-stretching my argument here, I know) not picking the next Tom Brady because you don't have a line that can keep him upright. Right? Have a nice day, O.
John: The argument against picking a running back No. 4 or in the first round is many-fold, and it mainly centers on the fact that the runner better be a once-in-a-decade-type player because it's too easy to find productivity at the position in the later rounds. If you don't have a quality offensive line there's often little point in drafting the running back because you're not going to get front-line production from him. It then follows that if you need so many good players around a player for that player to be effective then perhaps you shouldn't take him so early. And that continues to be the argument against running backs in the Top 10.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
I've noticed questions I've submitted with a lot of stats don't make the cut nor do I see a lot of stats in other questions. Is that a coincidence or are you not much of a stat guy?
John: I love statistics, but only 64.4 percent of the time. I rank 17th among senior writers in that category.

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