MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Let's get to it … Jon from Jacksonville:
Given where the Jaguars are as a team today, would you consider a blockbuster trade in the first round (say, with the Browns for the fourth overall pick) to draft a quarterback like Josh Rosen? Assuming that it requires three first-round picks or perhaps two firsts and two seconds, would you be willing to mortgage the team's future and put the pressure on the front office and coaches to find talent in lower rounds and in undrafted free agency?
John: No. This team appears at long last to be structured for long-term, sustainable success. The best way to make that appearance become reality is to draft and develop well, supplementing solid drafts with intelligent free agency. Giving up three first-round selections in a one- or two-year period – or even two first-rounders and two second-rounders – causes a major hole in your young, front-line talent base. Think about some of the players who made the Jaguars formidable this past season and who give them hope for the foreseeable future – players such as linebacker Myles Jack, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, left tackle Cam Robinson and running back Leonard Fournette. Do you want to give up four of those players to move up for a quarterback? The answer may be yes, and I'm not saying that would be an awful decision. It in fact might be the right decision if you find the next great quarterback – but he better be really, really great.
Eric from St. Augustine, FL:
Bring in a quarterback in free agency.
John: OK. Who ya got?
Mike from Corltand, NY:
Hey O, I'm intrigued to see what the NFL comes up with to make the catch rule less subjective and more black and white. What do you think of this idea? If the ball touches the ground it is incomplete whether it moves or not. Sure, this would negate some catches, but if the players know this is the rule the best will adapt, whether by turning their body or hand positioning going to the ground. Adds a new important skillset to the position. Replay would be clear on most occasions. If it's not, the play stands.
John: I see the logic in your rule, and it might actually be a direction the league goes. I hope not, though. What you're suggesting would take the rule further from the idea of, "What looks like a catch should be a catch" and would cause a lot of plays that feel like they should be completions to be reversed. Anything that makes the game feel "less right" is bad. That's not to say a lot of things that happen or get officiated away under the current rules don't feel wrong. I would just hate to see a rule that made that happen more often.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
I don't really want to be the fly in the ointment John, but I don't think Allen Robinson is going to fix all of the Jaguars' offensive skill problems. He had a great year in 2015, true. However, he also really underperformed in 2016. There were at least three interceptions that were directly his fault, he could not beat press coverage and his catch-to-target percentage was one of the worst in the league for teams' No. 1 wide receivers. I think he can still come back and make an impact, but I don't know if I really see him as the frontline player on the level of T.Y. Hilton or DeAndre Hopkins (Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are in their own class). What type of impact would you expect from Allen Robinson coming off of a torn ACL?
John: I don't think Robinson will fix all of the Jaguars' offensive skill issues – and I agree that Robinson has yet to show he's in the class of the elite No. 1 receivers. But if he's not there, he is really close – and I do believe there's a chance he gets there. As for the impact I would expect from Robinson next season, I believe it would be significant. I don't believe the ACL will hinder him much because he didn't depend on quick-twitch quickness and acceleration to succeed. He depended more on route running, body positioning and high-pointing the ball. He's also a guy who can go make a play on the ball in the red-zone and in third-and-manageable situations. The Jaguars lacked that a lot this past season.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
Have you ever read Tom Coughlin's Wikipedia page? Played halfback for Syracuse with Larry Csonka and set the receiving record. Who knew Lane Kiffin and Bobby Petrino to name a couple are in Colonel Coughlin's Coaching tree? Lots of good stuff that will most likely lead you to Doug Marrone's page for reasons you'll understand seeing TC's page.
John: I can't say that I have read Coughlin's Wikipedia page. You know what I have read? The multitude of stories I wrote on Coughlin for the Florida Times-Union and the book CBS Sports' Pete Prisco and I wrote on the Jaguars in the 1990s about the Jaguars/Coughlin. As for who knew Kiffin and Petrino were in Coughlin's Coaching Tree … I did – as did other people who covered the Jaguars when they coached here.
John from Cocoa, FL:
Okay, we got some bad breaks in the championship game. Okay, Barry Church hit Rob Gronkowski and was penalized. Okay, A.J. Bouye interfered with Danny Amendola in that big pass. Okay, BB5 didn't snap the ball in time, negating a first down. Okay, we got bad breaks. BUT what about that strip-fumble recovery by Myles Jack? I re-watched that play over and over. NO ONE TOUCHED HIM. HE WAS NOT OUT OF BOUNDS. THE BALL WAS STILL LIVE. NOT EVEN A FOOT OR LEG OF A PAT TOUCHED HIM. Some other sports commentators also calling it a "premature whistle." Can the officials or the league at least admit they blew that call? It was the game-changer as it was a sure touchdown for Jack. It won't take the Pats out if the Super Bowl, but are the officials going to be trained to not blow the whistles so quickly from now on? I know the games are not fixed, but I think the refs should be held accountable for big mistakes like that one. Not fined of course, but some kind of acknowledgement that they messed up. Especially in game-changing calls. I'm sorry. I am having a tough time swallowing that pill.
John: We're about at the point where it's time to start looking forward – yes, even from a loss as painful and vivid as the AFC Championship Game – but I'm still getting enough emails about the Jack play that it's worth revisiting. I've said often that I believed it was a missed call – and it certainly changed the game. I also believed that the Jaguars are still partially to blame for their own demise because they didn't take advantage of the fact that they took possession after the Jack fumble recovery. As for why the league hasn't admitted it was a blown call … the league doesn't really say that about premature whistles or plays whistled dead. The standard explanation in those cases is that once a play is whistled dead, then it's dead – and from a league's perspective, there's little more to explain. In this case, it was not an easy call. It was very much a bang-bang play with Jack stripping the ball and gaining possession in one swoop. Once the official whistled the play dead, the change-of-possession part of the play was reviewable while Jack's ability to advance the ball was stopped by the whistle. There's nothing more for the league to "admit" or "explain." That doesn't make it less painful for Jaguars fans, but that's why there's little more to discuss from a league perspective.
Gamble from Brasilia, Brasil:
In thinking about the Jaguars' quarterback situation, let's say the San Francisco 49ers use the exclusive franchise tag on Jimmy Garoppolo. What would it take for another team to sign him? And what would that do for the market for Kirk Cousins?
John: There are two types of franchise tags – exclusive and non-exclusive. A player who receives the exclusive franchise tag may not negotiate with other teams; a player receiving the non-exclusive tag can negotiate with other teams. In the case of the non-exclusive tag, the player's old team can match the approaching team's offer; if the old team opts not to match the offer, the old team receives two first-round selections from the offering team. The chances of Garoppolo being available are exceedingly slim, though if he were, it would theoretically reduce by one the teams pursuing Cousins. That probably wouldn't hurt his market value much.
Joy from 206:
The NFL better start caring about the pathetic calls, missed calls and collusion between the refs for their fave. My 23-year old and his friends stopped watching for ONE reason: poor penalties. These fans are the future and unlike us they are not forgiving about it.
Howard from Homestead, FL:
If offensive line is at the top of our draft wish list, if seems we picked a good year to be picking late in the first round. What say you, John?
John: I say when you peruse information regarding the 2018 NFL Draft – and there are those close to me who call me The Great Peruser – it does appear there will be quality offensive linemen available at the end of the first round.
O-Zone: The Great Peruser
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Let's get to it … Jon from Jacksonville: