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O-Zone: Truth about bridges

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Todd from St. Augustine, FL:
I think depth is a big piece to the puzzle. We've improved the front-seven depth tremendously in free agency. Offensive line and skilled positions will come in the draft. Great teams have quality behind their starters and the Jags are on their way.
John: Depth absolutely is key in the NFL, particularly along the defensive front. As much as any other area on the Jaguars' roster, that was a focus entering the 2014 offseason. The Jaguars knew last season that players such as Sen'Derrick Marks, Roy Miller, Jason Babin and Tyson Alualu were playing too many snaps. Marks, Alualu and Babin played significantly more snaps than their counterparts in Seattle, which runs a very similar defensive style and philosophy to the Jaguars. Miller would have played nearly as many snaps as the other three had he not missed the final two games of the season. The Jaguars signed defensive ends Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Ziggy Hood and re-signed Babin in large part to address that issue. The Jaguars aren't a great team yet, but they're much more solid up front defensively and that was a step that needed to be taken this offseason.
Jacob from Auburn, AL:
So are we done in free agency until after the draft?
John: The Jaguars may not be absolutely done, but in terms of signing guys who can be front-line players and/or starters, they're probably pretty close.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
With the release of Cain, they now need a center and long snapper. Do they go free agency or draft for their replacements?
John: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Aaron from Fairfax, VA:
Considering our defense-heavy draft last year and the considerable improvements picked up in free agency, do you think the team is targeting offense in the draft? What theme will the offense take on? The defense is more obvious, at least to me.
John: Yes, I think the Jaguars will go heavy on offense in the 2014 NFL Draft. Look for the Jaguars to continue offensively in the direction they went this past season. They'll be creative and use a ton of different personnel packages in an effort to keep defenses off-balance. They'll strive for balance, but they're not going to be boring and they're not going to be three yards and a cloud of dust.
Justin from Jacksonville:
I had an idea a while ago about a way to expand the NFL without adding games and to make it better at the same time. What if you were to have teams play every other week? Players would be better-rested, coaches would have more time to game plan, and teams would get more exposure to people outside of their viewing area. Of course, there would be a lot of details to work out but I think it would be an awesome way to double the regular-season span. Your thoughts?
John: Unfortunately, you're talking about essentially expanding the season and postseason to about 40 weeks, which would essentially mean stuffing the entire offseason, training camp and preseason into 12 weeks. Even beyond that being completely unworkable, the regular season would be quite boring. Fans of individual teams like the week-to-week pace, and weekly anticipation of the next week's games. Waiting two weeks between every game would make the season feel very lost and disjointed. As much as fans might theoretically like the concept of year-round football, this is obviously a non-starter.
Josh from Kokomo, IN:
If Mark Sanchez is cut do you think Caldwell could be interested in signing him to compete for the quarterback position? And if so do you think he could be a fit?
John: I doubt the Jaguars would be interested in signing Mark Sanchez, even if he's released.
Chad from Section 149:
I was just listening to Jaguars Live from last week and I am a little bothered by one of your comments. You stated that MoJo should be in the Pride of the Jaguars. While I agree he was a very good player for us, I'm not sure he should be in the Pride. To be honest, I'm not completely sold on Brunell being there, either. I just worry we are trying to manufacture a history rather than just letting it happen. As a fan since the beginning, all of these guys have a place in my heart, but I don't believe they have a place in the Pride. Maybe that puts me in the minority, but I just worry we are getting ahead of ourselves.
John: I'm sorry you're bothered. Being bothered is, well … bothersome. I agree that Brunell was less of a sure thing than Fred Taylor and Tony Boselli, but I have no reservations about Jones-Drew. The guy led the NFL in rushing and was a three-time Pro Bowl player. He also played with incredible heart and drive each week. I don't think he is a Hall-of-Fame player and I wouldn't put him with Boselli and Taylor among Jaguars all-time greats, but should he be remembered permanently with a place on the side of the stadium? Absolutely.
Greg Section 122 and Jacksonville:
With all the upgrades we are doing to Everbank Field, do you see Jacksonville making a case to host the Super Bowl in the near future? I mean the weather is great, the video boards will be sweet, and we will have swimming pools in the stadium. What more could the NFL want?
John: I don't see Super Bowls in the near future if by near future you mean the next seven or eight years. Now, there have been prototypes floated around for more sweeping stadium upgrades in the last few months. If those were to go through then my thoughts on that future might change.
Camron from Orlando, FL:
Who on the roster has a starting job locked in (barring injury)? I'd think Shorts, Beadles, Cyprien, Marks, and Poz. Anyone else?
John: Technically no one has anything locked up, and because of Head Coach Gus Bradley's emphasis on competition, that's probably more true on the Jaguars' roster than most. But I'd be very, very surprised if the following players aren't starting on offense: Toby Gerhart at running back, Luke Joeckel and Austin Pasztor at tackles, Zane Beadles at guard, Marcedes Lewis at tight end and Cecil Shorts III at wide receiver. Defensively, I'd be surprised if Chris Clemons and Red Bryant aren't starting at defensive end, Sen'Derrick Marks and Roy Miller at tackle, Paul Posluszny and Dekoda Watson at linebacker, Dwayne Gratz at cornerback and Johnathan Cyprien at safety aren't starting. There are other players who likely will be starting, too, but those players almost certainly will start if healthy.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
I did a search for "Blaine Gabbert Pro Day 2011." His performance was spectacular. The day afterward every draftnik was picking him at minimum Top 5. Some picked Gabbert No. 1 overall. The Panthers' coach shook his hand and congratulated him afterwards. The only difference is Gabbert did not throw at the combine, so there's that, which is nice for Bortles.
John: You have outlined the danger in overemphasizing Pro Days. Gabbert is one example, of course, and there no doubt are many. That doesn't mean Blake Bortles will follow a similar path and it doesn't mean he won't. It means every quarterback – good Pro Day or not and however he is graded before the draft – follows a different path. That path is usually about development and surroundings once he gets into the NFL.
Josiah from Jacksonville:
Am I alone in not understanding the offseason Love Fest for Henne? He went 4-4 in the second half of the schedule? Well, three of those wins were against teams drafting before the Jaguars, and it's not like the Jaguars are deep in the order. Here's a stat to remember: against teams with a .500-or-better winning percentage Henne threw almost three interceptions for every touchdown he threw.
John: I haven't seen the Henne Love Fest, but I get enough emails about it that perhaps it's out there. I'm not sure I want to visualize it, but that's just me. The Jaguars re-signed Henne not out of love, but because they wanted to ensure they had a veteran quarterback who can function in the offense. This is because the quarterback they draft – in whatever round that might occur – quite possibly and even quite probably will not be ready to start Week 1 or even anytime early in the season. As far as your statistics regarding Henne, yes, they're true: but remember that the Jaguars' belief is that if they improve around Henne that his performance can improve, too.
Stephen from Neptune Beach, FL:
I just hope no one jumps off a bridge when they take an offensive tackle or something like that with the No. 3 overall selection .We as fans assume that we know what's best for the team. Heck, it's fun to talk about, but I know enough about football to know I don't know enough about football.
John: I hope no one jumps off a bridge, period. I knew a guy who accidentally fell off a bridge once and it wasn't real, real high, but as he said in the hospital while recovering, "Most bridges are high enough." I don't think the Jaguars will be taking a tackle, though. I'd bet on quarterback, pass rusher or wide receiver – not, of course, that I'm a betting man.

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