JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Justin from Jacksonville:
A question regarding Greg Roman. All of this talk about how well he was able to utilize the running game in San Francisco. Although we could definitely use the help to get this running game started, isn't it more important to find someone who has the right tools to develop Blake Bortles? I mean, Colin Kaepernick didn't exactly get better in his time there.
John: There's a little bit of a perception the Jaguars' offensive coordinator must be a Quarterback Whisperer – i.e., a coach with a reputation for developing young quarterbacks. That needn't be the case, and I don't know that it necessarily will be the case. A coordinator's job is to call plays and establish an offensive approach and philosophy that utilizes the team's strengths. It's really not to spend day and night focusing on a quarterback's fundamentals; that's the role of the quarterbacks coach far more than the coordinator. Now, it's true the coordinator and quarterback spend a great deal of time together and are dependent on one another, but the quarterbacks coach also can and should have a great deal of influence over the development of a young player. That doesn't mean the new coordinator will ignore Bortles' development, but it's certainly far from his only concern. And it's not the top priority in the hire.
Dan from Jacksonville:
So what do you think will happen to Chad Henne next season?
John: I think there's a very good chance Henne will be the backup quarterback in Jacksonville next season.
Sonny from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Who is the fastest player on the Jaguars' current roster? I'm thinking Marqise Lee. Thanks and Happy New Year, O!
John: This is always something that's hotly debated among NFL players, with a slew of players always believing they're the fastest player on the team. But if I were sitting around the Jaguars' locker room when the debate was going on, I'd have a tough time disagreeing with Denard Robinson.
Sandra from Murfreesboro, TN:
John, you talk a lot about players getting better with experience. Can you elaborate and give some examples of players who've seemed less than "good," but then in Year Two or Three got really good?
John: This is tough because perceptions of players vary widely among observers. For instance, many Jaguars fans this season considered Johnathan Cyprien less than "good" when in fact coaches and other observers say while he wasn't great he certainly was not bad. The same is true of Luke Joeckel, who although he struggled at times also played well at other times and really was not bad. But there are plenty of examples of players who needed time to develop. Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis contributed very little as rookies and went on to have what I would call really good careers with the Colts. Eli Manning wasn't great as a rookie with the New York Giants, and neither was Troy Aikman in Dallas. There are many others, and remember: circumstance means a lot and this is a team sport. No one on the Jaguars' offense was great or even all that good this season. It stands to reason they're not all bad players. As time goes on, there's every reason to think these players can mature and grow together.
David from Six Mile Run, PA:
Man O, our left tackle hasn't made the Pro Bowl yet in Year Two and our first-round quarterback didn't lead us to playoffs. I think we should both call them busts and move on. Ya know what, that kid we are about to draft this year hasn't given us a Pro Bowl, either! I think he must be a bust, too! And how about that high school quarterback we have been scouting. He's no Manning right now, so let's give up on him immediately. What say you?
John: I say you have a pretty good finger on the pulse of the 'ol in-box, David.
Duran from Rapid City, SD:
Player development and improvement is discussed frequently, but I would like to hear what you think, specifically, what Bradley could improve on as a coach next year.
John: I think overall Bradley could improve some of his in-game decision-making, and I'd guess he'd tell you the same thing. There have been things in his first two seasons I think he'd do differently, particularly in the area of when to go for first downs on fourth downs. He has been a little more high-risk there than might be ideal; at the same time, I also get the idea some decisions have been made based on having a young team with a struggling offense and wanting to give the team a boost. I get the idea Bradley could become a bit more conventional in those areas as the team improves.
Christian from Titusville, FL:
Hi John, with our sack numbers this year, why does everyone seem intent on getting a defensive end? I would love to see Brandon Scherff in a Jaguars uniform. Do you think he won't be there at No. 3? Thanks.
John: Scherff almost certainly will be there at No. 3; the question is, "Do you take him that high?" Early draft analysis is he probably shouldn't go that early. As far as why the Jaguars might take a pass rusher, I'll defer to my oft-repeated theme here: you draft with an eye on the future rather than the present and you draft to build your foundation. A big-time dominant pass-rushing defensive end or a dominant player anywhere on the front seven would significantly help the foundation.
David from Durban, South Africa:
Even Phil Simms thinks the Jags will be a team that comes out of nowhere in 2015. Get your big boy pants on, O'Man!
John: Hold on … OK.
Trae from Jacksonville:
Does the NFL make officials available to the media at any point? Marshawn Lynch has been fined $100k for not being at media sessions. I don't understand why he should have to sit and answer questions regarding games and his performances while NFL officials get to leave without explaining themselves and their calls to the public. After all they are just as much a part of the game as the players are, if not more as evidenced this past weekend in Dallas.
John: Officials are made available to a predesignated pool reporter upon request following games. They are not made available in large-scale press-conference situations or at podiums.
Caleb from Jacksonville:
I have a question about Gratz. I think we've seen him have the potential to be great, he's looked good in both preseasons and the 2013 season before he got hurt. However, in 2014 it seemed he might have taken a step back, but what's strange is it seemed he was always around the ball; just never in the right or best position. It didn't seem like a speed issue, he can make tackles, but he never seemed to play the ball. Any idea what's going on with that?
John: It's a good question, and one worth exploring. The Jaguars like Gratz – perhaps as a nickel with Aaron Colvin and Demetrius McCray starting. If that's the case, that's not a horrible thing; it would give the Jaguars three good young corners with all three playing a lot. The odd thing about Gratz – as you indicate – is he had a real knack as a rookie for making plays on the ball. He didn't show that as much in his second season last season. He struggled early in 2014 but for the most part played better in the second half of the season. Year Three will be big for him. We'll see how it plays out.
Jim from St. Augustine, FL:
John, if "you can usually find ways to use good players," I am not sure why we can't keep Cecil Shorts III. He is a worthy No. 4 wide receiver and an insurance policy for an injury to one of the young guys.
John: I'd like to see that. I doubt it's going to happen and I think Shorts can probably go somewhere and have a larger role than No. 4 receiver.
Logan from San Antonio, TX:
I read where the Jags may be a strong player for Ndamukong Suh. While I think he is a great player I just can't see the Jags paying the going rate of 100 million for this guy. What is your take on the situation?
John: We'll see. The Jaguars will have money to spend and certainly have enough to make Suh interested. The Jaguars are also developing a strong locker-room culture, which should help them have the confidence to pursue Suh whatever his peripheral issues. Putting the well-publicized issues aside, Suh is an attractive free-agent target not only because his other-worldly talent, but he also is an ideal free-agency age (28) and has been remarkably durable never having missed a game in five NFL seasons.
Jason from Falling Waters, VA:
Is Luke Bowanko really set at the center position? I hope the entire line gets addressed and finds some depth. By far biggest area of concern.
John: Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said the team likes Bowanko at center, which is a pretty good indication that the team is thinking of Bowanko as a starter going forward. The line will get addressed and depth will be added, although depth wasn't a mammoth problem this season. Only right tackle Austin Pasztor missed extended time among the starters, and while Sam Young struggled in his place he was far from the only issue in pass protection.
Catherine from Jacksonville:
Thanks for your reply to Jordan today. I learned something.
John: Every once in a while I like to throw the readers a bone.
O-Zone: Teaching tool
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Justin from Jacksonville: