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O-Zone: Striving for perfection

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Mike from Jacksonville:
I'm confirmed for one of the pending fan forums. But it seems Mark Lamping isn't interested in fan input, but that the forums are purely to get his message out. Have you been attending and am I correct?
John: I attended the first fan forum and I didn't get that impression at all. The format is pretty simple. Lamping speaks for about a half hour, outlining for fans the direction of the team and its reasons for setting ticket prices at their current rate, for the recent proposal to install new video boards, for playing in London, etc. Fans then have a chance to ask questions. I found Lamping to be quite candid in his answers. That's not to say he rushed back to the office and restructured the organization in response to everything every fan said. That's impossible, but he certainly listened and answered questions, and what fans said will be taken seriously. I won't say the forum is unique in professional sports, but it's not a stretch to say that there aren't many teams in the NFL that reach out to connect with fans in comparable fashion.
Chris from Stratford, CT:
I know Gus wants to build through the draft. With seven picks and potentially a lot of needs, could you see him trading back up into the first round using the 33rd pick coupled with another pick if he loves a guy that will be a player this team will have for a long time at a premium position or just let the pieces fall into place?
John: Like most draft-related questions, this depends on the players involved, but the general answer is that David Caldwell and Gus Bradley likely will prefer to have more picks than less in this draft. If there was, say, a quarterback available around which they believed they could build that could change the equation, but the idea likely will be to move back if possible rather than move up.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Why do the Jaguars have POZ's tackle total on the top ten plays as 231, but has his total as 139. Am I missing something here?
John: Tackles are an unofficial statistic. uses the totals turned in by the statisticians on game day. Teams use the totals as recorded and turned in by coaches after assistants break down the tape the day after the game. As you might expect, the flaw in this system is that the numbers typically vary widely.
Manuel from Jacksonville and Section 215:
You were so high on Daryl Smith all last season long and implied he was the defensive piece needed for the Jaguars to play well defensively, which I don't doubt. Now, the new management won't re-sign him and he will be a free agent. What happened? Were you missing something last season, or the new management is missing something?
John: Neither. Smith indeed was missed last season. When writing about his absence, my point usually was to say that while his absence certainly contributed to the defense not playing as well as it had in 2011, it was only one factor and that the defense as a whole probably wouldn't have been dominant even with Smith. Whatever decision the new decision-makers make on Smith won't speak to what Smith could have meant to the Jaguars last season or even what type of player he might be next season. They're making decisions on how best to build this roster to be a long-term contender, which is likely to mean some familiar veterans not being on the roster.
Bill from Jacksonville:
An article written over the weekend by Michael Silver, a respected member of the media with impeccable sources, says Blaine Gabbert is referred to by others in the locker room as "Blame Gabbert." He goes on to state that people within the team have issues with his leadership, attitude and accountability. This paints an entirely different picture then what you and the rest of Jags employees say about Blaine. It can't be both John. Can it?
John: Sure, it can. Different people, even people within the same building, have different viewpoints, and different opinions. A lot has gone wrong the last two years. When things go wrong within any organization, people involved look for reasons. What those reasons are often depend on your viewpoint. My guess is if you talk to 50 different people associated with the Jaguars in the last two years, you would get nearly that many variations of opinions as to who has been at fault, or the specifics of what has gone wrong. Some may be completely right. Some may be completely wrong. Most are probably right about some things and wrong about others. The bottom line here is as far as the new decision-makers are concerned, what people said before or even what happened before doesn't matter much, Gabbert is going to get a chance to compete. He needs to show he deserves that chance, and probably needs to show it pretty quickly.
Troy from St. Augustine, FL:
I gave you a question about who on the JAGS roster will still be here after Caldwell contract is up. And you want to be funny. IF you don't know, then just say so. Anyway I have a question about pro day. Are the JAGS going to look at people their only interested in. Or are they going to give people who had a bad combine a second chance to empress them?
John: OK. Getting serious now. The Jaguars will attend Pro Days for the same reason they attended the combine, to continue gathering information on potential draft selections. Because the Pro Days – like the combine – are part of a big equation, I don't know how down on a player they will be because of the combine or how empressed they will be based on one Pro Day. As for particularly candidates, I don't know what kind of combine she had, but here's one possibility.
Mike from Jackson de ville, FL:
Can we banish all questions that contain "he's high on my draft board" or "I see him as outside my top 10" or any other reference to a fan's "board?" None of us are professionals, nor should we pretend to be.
John: No banishing on the horizon here. People in general are smart enough to know what NFL mocks have merit, and which ones should be taken seriously – which is to say, few or none at all. Because you know what mock drafts are? They're entertainment. They're fun. They're projections. Just as there's no harm in projecting someone at No. 2 on March 4, there's no harm in a fan placing someone high on his own draft board. The best advice for someone reading about the draft is this: Enjoy it, understand it's all a guessing game and above all, don't worry if someone is wrong, because the odds are pretty good all of them will be wrong on one pick or another.
Geo from Jagsonville, FL:
Okay. So, the Jaguars are not aiming for the Super Bowl. How are they going to be getting better every day? Dumping our free agents and experienced players? Surrounding Gabbert/Henne with the best talent that no one else would draft and/or sign? Are we aiming for the Toilet Bowl?
John: The Jaguars are aiming for the Super Bowl. That's their goal every year. The people making the decisions are also smart enough to know steps must be taken before the team realistically is in a position to contend for the Super Bowl on a yearly basis. To get to that point, the roster must be built and talented difference-makers must be added. It's practically impossible to add enough of those in one offseason to realistically believe the Jaguars will contend next season. Now, over the course of two drafts, you can get closer. David Caldwell wants to get a couple of draft classes in place, and get the building process started with a core of young players before he starts filling out the roster with free agents. It's not going to make for an easy, popular offseason because some fans want their team to be active in free agency no matter the circumstances, but for a team that went 2-14 last season, it's a very prudent plan of construction.
Josh from Dayton, OH:
Still hate it.
John: Thanks.
Tom from Bloxom:
Given the recent release of quality defensive ends by teams like Atlanta and others what is the chance the Jags would entertain the idea of picking one up in free agency? The move would help the team and free up our No. 2 pick for a high quality cornerback to fill a much needed spot also.
John: I don't think the Jaguars will be active in free agency.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Here's my idea of the perfect life. Blaine Gabbert is our guy this year with a great chance to prove himself worthy. Obviously, if he doesn't play well for a third straight year..."With the first pick in the 2014 draft the Jacksonville Jaguars select Johnny (Football) Manziel, Quarterback, Texas A&M. #jaguarlife!!
John: Here's my idea of the perfect lie. I'm out late with my friends, and when I get a cab home at 1:15 on a Thursday morning, my wife asks where the heck I've been. I say, "Working late," and at that moment, I get a text from Jaguars President Mark Lamping saying, "Thanks for going the extra mile tonight, John; here's a big raise." Eyes raised and smiling, I show the wife the text, and she makes nachos. Now, that my friend, is the perfect lie . . . Oh, you said, "Life." #nevermind

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