O-Zone: Trap game

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL:
I like the Cody Kessler deal. Low risk with upside potential. I'm curious, though – Chad Henne's role, at least for the first season or two, was as a mentor to Blake Bortles. Now it's Blake's turn. I suspect Blake will thrive in the mentor role (and not be like Brett "not-my-job-to-train-a-backup" Favre). Assuming, of course, that Kessler is willing to listen.
John: You may be overthinking this one a bit. The Jaguars acquired Kessler in a trade with the Cleveland Browns for a conditional seventh-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft this past week. That means the Jaguars gave up very little and possibly nothing for Kessler – and that he quite likely will be competing with a rookie or veteran free agent and/or a late draft selection for the backup quarterback role. Bortles for his part is the Jaguars' starting quarterback. I don't doubt that Kessler can learn from Bortles – and I agree with you that Bortles almost certainly will help Kessler where he can. But I don't expect Bortles mentoring Kessler to be a major storyline moving forward – or for mentoring Kessler to be a major priority for Bortles.
Brian from Round Rock, TX:
I think a catch can simply be defined as a play where the ball never hits the ground and ends with the ball in the possession of the player and not lying on the ground. It's common sense. Why won't this work?
John: Your rule seemingly would create the possibility of a receiver making a catch and then having it taken away if the ball happened to make contact with the ground as he fell. This would eliminate far too many receptions to have it make sense. A receiver can have possession of the ball and have the ball touch the ground. To make every reception in which the ball contacted the ground incomplete would be to dramatically reduce offense – and the league doesn't want that.
Mike from Elberton, GA:
Does Blake know where to find you?
John: Blake doesn't care where to find me.
David from Chuluota, FL:
One of the more intriguing players in this year's NFL Draft is not only missing fingers, he's missing his left hand – linebacker Shaquem Griffin from the University of Central Florida. The dude was super productive for the Knights, fast (4.38 seconds in the 40) and strong (20 bench press reps at 225 pounds). Teaming him up with Myles Jack and Telvin Smith would be so exciting. Where do you think he gets drafted and do you think he'd be a good fit for the Jags?
John: These are the types of questions that are fascinating to ask, I suppose, but impossible to answer. I imagine Griffin will be drafted, but the reality is once you get past the top 10-to-15 spots in the draft, it's next-to-impossible to predict if a player will be selected by a certain team. Teams have many players on their draft boards – and if they're available when a team selects there's a possibility the team will select them. Considering Griffin's athleticism, it is intriguing to think what he would do with the Jaguars. I imagine he will be selected sometime on Day 3 of the draft. Whether or not value crosses with opportunity and the Jaguars bring him to Jacksonville is anyone's guess at this point.
Steven from Duval:
Mr. O: Roster looks pretty set for starters. I think A.J. Cann is the weak spot but we could use an upgrade at wide receiver and linebacker. I know we are almost set up for best available player in the first and second rounds, but what is your gut feeling for the first two picks?
John: I think the Jaguars in the first three rounds will take some combination of offensive line, wide receiver, tight end or running back. I don't know the order.
John from Jacksonville:
Is there something "different" when the Jags' decision-makers express their objective of the team to be physical and tough? I thought that was sort of a foundation for all NFL teams. Is it intended to make the fans feel better and not to fear having a scared wimpy team?
John: All teams want on some level to be tough, but the Jaguars' current commitment to it in words and action certainly is notable.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
Regarding Red's comment: There's a comments section?
John: What?
Bradley from Las Vegas, NV:
If Saquon Barkley is still available at No. 4, do you offer up Leonard Fournette and the No. 29 pick for him?
John: No. I don't think the Jaguars would be wise to give up Fournette and a first-round selection for a running back, even one as good as Barkley. And I wouldn't expect a team to want that deal if the Jaguars offered it.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
How would you feel about Derrius Guice as a possible Jaguars draft selection? He might be pretty good in an offensive backfield with Leonard.
John: Sure.
Brandon from Duval:
John, can you please explain the second-round tender we put on Corey Grant? Do we get a tender for each round of the draft? If you don't want to lose a player, why not put a first-round tender on him? Thanks.
John: The Jaguars placed a second-round tender on running back Corey Grant this offseason because he was a restricted free agent. Tenders with regards to restricted free agents are a bit confusing, mainly because they're used relatively infrequently these days. This is because they involve players with three years of NFL experience whose contracts are running out. Because drafted players now sign four-year contracts, the only players who become restricted free agents are undrafted players such as Grant. An RFA can receive one of three types of tender: first round, second round and original round/low-level tenders. A player receiving a tender offer can sign a contract with another team, with the player's original team having the option to match the deal and retain the player. If the original team opts not to match, the original team receives a draft selection at the level of the tender. So, if a team indeed had signed Grant, the Jaguars could have received a second-round selection had it opted not to match the team's offer. The reason teams don't simply put a first-round tender on all restricted free agents: money. A first-round tender means the player will play one season for $4.149 million, with a second-round tender meaning a $2.914 million contract and a lower tender meaning a $1.907 million contract. A team wouldn't want to pay a lesser player $4 million for a season. In Grant's case, he signed his tender offer recently. That means he will play 2018 for the Jaguars with a contract of $2.914 million and he will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the 2019 NFL League Year.
Bob from Sumter, SC:
Seems to me that a pretty big deal is that the entire coaching staff comes back this year knowing the players and the players knowing the systems and what's expected – therefore building on last year's success with an improved roster from Day One. I can't remember the last time Jags had this kind of continuity heading into a new season. Free agents and rookies not expected to be saviors, just good additions to what's already in place. That's why I think Blake Bortles will be more consistent and play at the level he did in December and January in 2018.
John: Coaching staff continuity indeed is something Head Coach Doug Marrone has discussed this offseason – both at the NFL Scouting Combine in February and the NFL Annual League Meeting in March. Marrone's excited about the situation and with reason. It's relatively rare to have a coaching staff return intact because losing teams often lose coaches who don't get retained and winning teams often lose coaches leaving for better opportunities. And yes … continuity should only help the Jaguars in 2018. The Jaguars' staff has had some level of continuity in recent seasons – say, from Head Coach Gus Bradley's first staff in 2013 to his second in 2014 – but there wasn't any positive momentum at that time. And the Jaguars also drafted Bortles in 2014, so he didn't benefit from continuity. Will Bortles benefit from continuity at offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and head coach next season? It certainly shouldn't hurt. Call it a perk of the team's newfound success.
The Chocolate Papi from St. Augustine, FL:
Where am I!? Who are you!? Go Jaguars?
John: What?
Frank from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Any seller's remorse for getting rid of Brandon Allen too soon? It would have been nice to have a quarterback with some experience in the system.
John: Nope.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
Some people ask questions that aren't really questions.
John: And some people are like my wife, when a question is really a trap designed to push me further into the depths of hell. Wait. That came out wrong.

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