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O-Zone: Upset of the Year

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Howard from Loveland, CO:
If we see a lot of potential draftees praying just before the Jags pick next year, will they be praying not to be drafted by the Jags? For the past 50-plus years the Detroit Lions have had the market captured on "please-don't-pick-me" prayers, but now the Jags seem to be giving them some competition.
John: I get emails sometimes I can't quite figure, and this ranks up there. Is it sarcastic? Is it serious? Is it trying to cleverly make a point? Is it related to Jalen Ramsey's injury? Or the team's record? Perhaps I'm just too dim to understand it, which although is quite possible I doubt is the case in this instance. I guess the best way to address this "question" is that if it's some sort of joke or Jaguars-directed barb, it's probably mistimed at best – or just, plain off-base. Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey were both notably ecstatic about being selected by the Jaguars in last month's draft, and free agents have spoken extensively and often in recent years about wanting to play here. Has the team's record been bad in recent seasons? Yes. Do the Jaguars need to start winning as soon as possible? Yes. But are they a team for which players dread playing? Absolutely, positively no, no, no.
Garrett from Germany:
Who is this K.C. guy and why does he always seem so upset?
John: Hey, life's not all Sunshine …
Kurtis from Jacksonville:
I understand with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and rookie-wage scale there is no concern for a holdout. But if that is the case, what specifically keeps rookies from signing immediately?
John: One reason is there's just no hurry because there literally is no difference between signing a day after the draft or two months after the draft. The bigger reason is while the 2011 CBA and rookie wage scale has taken a lot of the room for negotiation out of the process, it's not absolutely "cookie cutter" down to the last detail. In the case of a third- or fourth-round draft selection there might be a few tens of thousands of dollars to be negotiated. That's not significant in the big picture, but for an agent trying to get the best deal for a client – and trying to impress future potential clients – it's important enough to lead to a minor few delays.
Huh from Jacksonville:
How did Jalen Ramsey get signed before Yannick Ngakoue? First-round picks, aren't they usually the last to sign?
John: Not anymore.
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
With Myles Jack unable to participate due to NFL graduation rules for UCLA – and I am sure other schools – could you see fewer high-end, high-school prospects wanting to go to a college on a quarterly schedule with the fear that they would be missing the start of their rookie year? Seems like at some point it would deter high-end prospects that would want to start with their NFL team right after they got drafted – and make things very difficult for an undrafted player coming out of that school.
John: Probably not. Most players are around 18 or 19 when they get recruited. As the parent of a 19-year-old I can say that it's difficult to get him to think about the next day, much less something that's going to happen in three or years. Most recruits with the NFL on their minds also believe they're going to be a first-round selection – and first-rounders aren't going to get cut for missing OTAs. It's certainly an inconvenience – and you also can question the rule's effectiveness – but it's probably not a big enough deal to significantly hurt a school's recruiting.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
Hi, John: Do you feel Brandon Linder can be a better center than Brad Meester was? Or at least as good?
John: He certainly has that potential.
David from Ada, OK:
Okay … I know you have this history with Seattle and everything, but answer me this: Oklahoma City Thunder … spunky underdog, or a great team that seems to be finding a game plan that fits the team? Or are the Splash Brothers some kind of once-in-a-lifetime, freaky-dynasty good? I just need an objective opinion here.
John: Although the Seattle SuperSonics absolutely were my team from D.J.-Gus to Chambers-Ellis-X to Payton-Kemp, I don't harbor the hate for Oklahoma City I presume many Sonics fans feel. I will say, though, that upon reading your email I did regret that it's not the Sonics who are on this current playoff run. I miss the emotion of passionately following an NBA team in May and June. All of that said, the Thunder are intriguing. The NBA often is about players/teams learning how to earn postseason success and it's often something that's earned/learned over time. Some teams with great players eventually earn it and go on to be remembered as champions. Other teams never get there and get forgotten. The Thunder look like they may be in the process of earning it and reshaping their own franchise's storyline in historical fashion before our eyes. Stay tuned.
Kyle from Ohio:
OK. Someone needs to be fired. I understand injuries will happen, but something is seriously wrong that they are happening to this team in spades in lightweight offseason activity. Dante Fowler Jr. last year, Jalen Ramsey this year and now add Jonathan Woodard. This all happening this early in post-draft activities is unacceptable. Someone needs to go. I don't know if it is the conditioning coach or the guy scheduling practices right now or who, but guys should not be getting hurt during all of this no-contact and light-contact activity.
John: Stop. For your sake. Please.
Rob from the Duu:
John, will we eventually know the duration of Jalen Ramsey's contract? I'd like to know how long he will be here/when he will become a free agent, etc. Will that info be made available eventually? Are all rookie first-rounders kept for same duration by rule? Thanks. Moodachay.
John: All first-round selections sign four-year deals with all money in the deal – signing bonus and salary –guaranteed. All first-round contracts also have an option under which the team can retain the player for a fifth season. The contracts have been structured that way since the 2011 CBA.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Bortles goes down! The Jaguars signed Chad Henne for a reason. Give him time to throw and someone to throw to, he is actually pretty good. I was at the Denver game three years ago and he and Blackmon lit the Broncos up. A good backup is hard to find these days and I will take Chad over most. What say O'man?
John: O'man say Henne is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the NFL. O'man also say if your scenario occurs the Jaguars would be decidedly less excited and hopeful than your tone indicates.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
People are never happy. I recently saw a guy in a trench coat at a sub shop trying to use an outdated Teal Deal coupon to get a sub for $2. The manager was called and finally allowed it, but then the guy counted the meatballs and complained again. Jeesh.
John: Did Sexton get a soda with his sub?
David from Danbury, CT:
Do you think that the Jags would make it to the playoffs?
John: I'd probably put the odds a little under 50 percent, which is definitely a lot better than I would have put them in a very, very long time.
Graham from Dundee, Scotland:
Remember before the draft when us fans were happy with Myles Jack being our pick at No. 5? Essentially we still have our Top 5 pick ready for opening day and the likelihood of another Top 5 being there or thereabouts in Ramsey. Why is everyone over reacting about his injury? Sure, it's disappointing but in my opinion we will still be better and in a decent shape for opening weekend and my hopes and excitement will not be diminished. Now how do I say it? #DUUUUUVAAAAALLL … Did I get that right?
John: Yep.
Jack from London, England:
Is the new "LOTTO" position a fifth pass-rusher on third down? Or just a guy who plays OTTO on first and second downs and then plays LEO on third down?
John: It's the first and also the second because the two are not mutually exclusive. It's what Dan Skuta and Ryan Davis are going to do, and it involves both playing Otto in run situations and being able to rush the passer in passing situations. They'll be on the strong side of the defense when playing the Otto and elsewhere in other situations. Now, I'm just sort of tired.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
Just so I can annoy everyone, I'm asking another whiny question. BTW, I've been a season-ticket holder a long, long time and have worked for the Champions Club. No one loves this team more than me. With that said, can we please stop with the LOTTO, or Plinko or whatever it's called and just play freaking football? Better yet, WINNING football?
John: Alan, I do not say this lightly, but you have a point.

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